Our Early Years Class is for children between the age of 2 and 5 years. If the children are Nursery aged (2-4 in the academic year) they attend on a part-time basis either a morning session (9.00 am -12.00) or an afternoon session (12.10 – 3.10pm). Reception children attend school from 9.00 – 3.10pm. The maximum number of children in a session is 8. The number of sessions a child is initially offered is dependent on their age and when their birthday falls, and is increased in discussion with parents.
Our statement of aims can be read in conjunction with the Henry Tyndale School Aims Statement in the Early Years Planning Document.
The aims are centred on a safe, secure, stimulating and purposeful environment so that each child experiences vital learning opportunities in a specialised setting. A second and significantly important aim in the Early Years is to establish the specific learning needs of the children so that they can go on to full-time education in a setting best suited for their individual needs.
The Early Years is staffed by a Teacher, a Lead Assistant, two full time Learning Support Assistants (LSA’s) and two part time learning assistants.
We are also supported by a physiotherapist and speech and language therapist.
All the children take part in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, differentiated to meet their individual needs. Once the children have been in school for a term, and they have settled into the class, they will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) with specific priority learning need targets. These are continually monitored and reviewed every six months. There are also termly targets, which relate specifically to focused activities, each term. Parents are given a copy of their children’s IEP and targets and their comments are welcome and highly valued when looking at the individual targets set.
All children in Early Years have access to Foundation Stage Curriculum working towards the Early Learning Goals, providing a secure foundation for learning. The children may well have additional therapeutic and Multisensory input. By the end of the foundation stage (which finishes at the end of the reception year), the children will have had the opportunity to experience and to develop skills, working towards the Early Learning Goals. Some pupils may have the ability to generalise these skills. During their time in the Early Years Class, the children work on developing the skills, knowledge and understanding required to underpin the Early Learning Goals.
The Early years Foundation Stage is organised into seven areas of learning. All areas of learning and development are important and interconnected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the “prime areas” are: -
There are also four “specific areas”, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
All the above areas are part of our early year’s curriculum and explored and developed with the children, according to their individual needs and stage of development.
Each morning and afternoon session consists of a structure involving activities that help the children to become familiar with routines. The sessions start with a range of activities enabling the children to develop play skills, and to develop exploratory skills and independence in learning. This is followed by circle/hello time. The remainder of the session consists of group activities, snack time and play time based on the above areas of learning. The activities focus on encouraging communication skills, turn taking and choice making as well as developing many other skills. Individual work programmes are set by the teacher in discussion with therapists and early years staff where appropriate.
All children have access to a makaton signing and symbol environment in order to support their understanding. Some children have access to objects of reference or individual visual timetables which helps to inform them of what is happening next. Symbols are also used with children, particularly those on the autistic spectrum, to help them develop a means of making their needs and wants know.
All children have the opportunity to use the school hydrotherapy pool to develop water skills. This maybe one or two sessions a week and you will be informed which day your child will swim. Other facilities used include a soft play room with a ball pool and climbing equipment, an outside play area, an interactive sensory room and the sensory garden.
Speech and Language Therapy
We currently have speech and language therapy input for our early years and reception children. The Speech and Language Therapist sets the communication targets with the class teacher for each child and these are implemented in the classroom by the teacher and LSA’s. Targets are assessed and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
All children who are entitled to physiotherapy are seen by the physiotherapist on a regular basis. Programmes are set by the physiotherapist and are then carried out in class on a daily basis. Specialist aids such as seating, standing frames etc are used where appropriate on the advice of the physiotherapist.
Enclosed in this pack are a number of forms to be filled in, including a pupil information sheet. Please can you complete and return to school on our open morning with your child’s birth certificate. The birth certificate needs to be the original and we can then photo copy it in school. You will also be asked to complete an “All about me” book to bring into school on your child’s first day. This covers everything which we need to know about your child to make their transition into school as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Please supply a bag for your child to carry things to and from school in and enough nappies and wet wipes, if appropriate, for each session. If you wish, a pack of nappies can be left in school and we will inform you when they need replacing. Please supply one set of spare clothes that can be kept at school in case a change is needed. On swimming days please send in a named towel, swimming costume and a swim nappy. Again a pack can be sent into school and we will inform you when more are needed. Please ensure that items are labelled with your child’s name – thank you.
Medication and Illness
If a child requires regular medication at school please send it labelled with the child’s name and clear instructions and hand it to class staff either on arrival at school or to the escort on the transport. Please do not send your child to school if he/she is unwell as it is not fair to him/her or to the other children.
Statementing and Annual Reviews
Some children are Statemented before they enter Early Years. Others are Statemented, if appropriate, after being in the Early Years for an adequate period of time for the assessment to be made. Once a child has been Statemented an Annual Review is held to discuss your child’s progress, to ensure that his/her needs are being met and to look at his/her future needs. Parents and all professionals involved with your child are invited to the Annual Review. A six-monthly review of targets is also carried out at which you are also most welcome to contribute your views.
All parents have the choice of transporting their children to and from school or using transport if the authority provides it. Hampshire will provide transport for children whose families wish for this and if the family home is more than two miles from School. Those children living nearer to the School may also qualify for transport in relation to the special needs of the child. If you do require transport please give at least two weeks notice. They will contact you directly about the type of transport required, collection times etc. If your child does not require transport on any specific day please phone the Transport Department direct at Winchester on 01962 846993. Whilst we would always wish to be supportive in the school, parents are reminded that the school has no authority over the transport department and parents are always advised to contact them directly if they have any concerns or queries.
Each child has a home contact book. This is written in after each session telling you what your child has done during the session and any other messages. It is a ‘two way system’ and we do like to hear what your child has been doing at home so we can talk about it with him/her. It does not have to be a long description of events at home just a ‘highlight’ that is meaningful to your child.
Parents are always welcome to contact the school Office to speak to the Head Teacher, Mr Rob Thompson or Early Years staff on 01252 544577 for an appointment if they have any concerns or issues they wish to discuss.
Parent’s evenings are held each term. An informal parents evening is held in the autumn term, when parents can come into school without making an appointment and speak with the Early Years Team. In the Spring Term, ten minute appointments are made for each child. During the summer term the school holds an awards evening and family barbeque, when the whole family is welcomed into school. This gives everyone the opportunity to discuss their child with members of staff, to look at their child’s Record of Achievement and to meet with other parents.
Reception aged children.
There are a few different arrangements for children who are Year R i.e. their 5th birthday falls in the academic year September – July.
Year R children wear school uniform. This will be discussed further at our open morning when you will have the opportunity to order uniform items and to purchase second hand uniform.
Year R children have lunch in school. They have the option of either bringing a packed lunch or having a school hot lunch. Again this will be discussed further at our open morning.
We look forward to welcoming you all into Early Years and making those all-important early years a happy, rewarding and rich experience.
(Early Years Class teacher)