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Our approach to the curriculum 

At Richmond Hill in Early Years children are at the centre of everything that we do. We believe that children learn best when they are interested, curious and deeply engaged, which in Early Years, is best achieved through play. We highly value the importance of play and use this at the heart of our curriculum to ensure the children come first! 

Through our approach to a rich, play based curriculum that responds to the needs and interests of the children, alongside high quality and playful adult interactions, we believe children receive quality, fun filled experiences, which enable them to develop a love of learning! 

Throughout the Early Years we plan based on children interest, ensuring through our planning meetings that we plan for progression and the development of each individual child. Our high quality environment allows our children to become highly engaged in their learning. When interacting with children, adults will observe what the children are doing, assess what they need to do/learn, next and plan their teaching.  Our Nursery 3's and Reception classes follow Read, Write, Inc. Reception also follows White Rose Maths planning, both of which are used throughout the whole school. 

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a statutory framework that provides standards which schools and childcare providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old. Throughout the year the children's progress will be monitored using the non-statutory guidance Birth to 5 matters, which supports our practitioners in working towards the Early Learning Goals stated in The Early Years Foundation Stage. Further information for both can be found on the websites below.

The Early Years Foundation Stage

There are seven areas of learning and development and these are a fundamental part of all the planning and teaching that occurs.
They are split into Prime and Specific Areas:
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first.
These are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development 
  • Personal, social and emotional development

These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas.
These are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

We also give high regard to and plan in the moment for a child's Characteristics of Learning. This describes how a child learns, such as what motivates them and how their play allows them to learn and develop. 

Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning

Playing and exploring – engagement

Finding out and exploring

Playing with what they know

Being willing to ‘have a go’

Active learning – motivation

Being involved and concentrating

Keeping trying

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creating and thinking critically – thinking

Having their own ideas

Making links

Choosing ways to do to thing

Continuous Provision

In Early Years, children learn largely through child initiated activities and play-based experiences. Our staff carefully plan the indoor and outdoor environment to capture each child's imagination and curiosity, promote independent learning, and encourage interactions with peers across a range of contexts. The areas of continuous provision in each classroom progress throughout the Early Years and lead in to Year 1. We believe that children exhibit common play behaviours in each area at either emergent, mid or high level. Our staff  regularly observe children within these areas to ensure each cohort and individual child is able to develop and build upon their skills independently.  Our staff use common play behaviour maps to plan each area; enhancements are also added to areas throughout the year where necesary. 

Whatever the Weather!

Here at Richmond Hill we highly value outdoor learning and believe it enables our children to develop independence, self confidence and risk taking skills as well as being able to cover all of the areas of learning in a different way.

We are continually developing our outdoor provision and reflecting and evaluating what works well. Both of the Early Years outdoor areas are unique and tailored to the children we have on roll at any time, therefore they are continually changing and evolving just as our indoor provision does. We use the outdoor areas free flowing as much as possible when the opportunity arises and we ensure that all children have access to our outdoor provision every day, in all weathers. 

We also have access to a fantastic field, wooded area, fixed play equipment and a nature garden with fire pit,. We use these areas to carry out 'Forest School' type activities as often as we can, and in Nursery 3s and Reception we have 'Muddy Mondays' where the children are able to access these areas and take part in a range of activities plus adult supported play every week.

Sign Language

Across the Early Years provision this term we have introduced signing. We had some fantastic training from the Learning and Disabilities Team and decided that we would introduce 5 signs this term and begin to build up a bank of signs to support our children in their Communication and Language Development.  Below are some of our Reception children demonstrating our signs for parents and our local community. We also sing a Please and Thank you song including signing before every snack and lunch times. Below is one of our 2 year olds demonstrating this.

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Oral Health

At Richmond Hill children's health and well being, including their oral health are of high importance. We continue to support and advise parents on healthy lunchboxes and this year have had the highest take up of school cooked meals across the Early Years than any other year and for this we are really proud.

We are registered as a Smile For Life school and are excited to announce some training through the scheme in the near future. At snack time we offer a choice of milk or water with our fruit snack, which we are aware helps to neutralise the acid from the fruits eaten. 

We continue to raise awareness of Oral Health with our children and our parents at every opportunity.