In Our EYFS classroom we are really lucky as we have lots of adults to help us! Mrs Eggington is in the classroom Monday to Wednesday and Miss Woodmansey is in the classroom Wednesday to Friday. Miss Hoystead is in our classroom all week and Miss Lees works with us Monday to Wednesday.
In EYFS our we enable our environment to allow children to be as independent as possible. The children have free access to equipment and are encouraged to seek resources they need to promote independence. In our classroom we have a maths area, reading zone, role play area (which changes according to the children’s interests), home corner, small world area, malleable area and craft area. The indoor area changes depending on the needs of the children.
Our EYFS outdoor provision has had a new and exciting addition! We have had a climbing fort installed in the garden area which the children love playing on. It is developing children’s gross motor skills and turn taking skills, especially when waiting to access the equipment. We also have an area where children can ride bikes or scooters. The children have access to 2 outdoor sheds which they freely access based on their own interests. We also have a sand area and water area set up for children. As with the indoor environment, outdoors is always developing and evolving based on what the children want and need.
In EYFS children begin their first steps into reading, which is really exciting! To teach children to read, we use phonics which is a systematic approach to enable children to identify phonemes and graphemes in order to read.
In Nursery children start Phase 1. Phase One of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills. Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands: Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination), Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension). It is intended that each of the first six aspects should be dipped into, rather than going through them in any order, with a balance of activities. Aspect 7 will usually come later, when children have had plenty of opportunity to develop their sound discrimination skills.
In Reception children move onto phase 2. In Phase 2, children begin to learn the sounds that letters make (phonemes). There are 44 sounds in all. Some are made with two letters, but in Phase 2, children focus on learning the 19 most common single letter sounds. ‘These are broken down into smaller sets of about six sounds to make them more achievable for children to learn,’ says Sara.
Although the order in which sounds are taught will depend on which scheme your child’s school follows, usually, they will learn the most commonly used phonemes first, starting with: /s/, /a/, /t/, /i/, /p/, /n/. By the end of Phase 2 children should be able to read some vowel-consonant (VC) and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, and to spell them out. They also learn some high frequency ‘tricky words’ like ‘the’ and ‘go.’ This phase usually lasts about six weeks.
Once children have mastered Phase 2, they move onto Phase 3. Phase 3 introduces children to the remaining, more difficult and/or less commonly used phonemes. There are around 25 of these, depending on which scheme is followed, mainly made up of two letters such as /ch/, /ar/, /ow/ and /ee/. ‘We need these sounds to be able to read and form useful words,’ says Sara.
Alongside this, children are taught to recognise more tricky words, including ‘me,’ ‘was,’ ‘my,’ ‘you’ and ‘they’. They learn the names of the letters, as well as the sounds they make. Activities might include learning mnemonics (memory aids) for tricky words, practising writing letters on mini whiteboards, using word cards and singing songs like the Alphabet Song.
Phase 3 takes most children around 12 weeks. By the end, they should be able to say the sound made by most, or all, Phase 2 and 3 graphemes, blend and read CVC words made from these graphemes, read 12 new tricky words and write letters correctly when given an example to copy.
Towards the end of the year the children will start to enter Phase 4. By now, children should be confident with each phoneme. In Phase 4 phonics, children will, among other things:
- Practise reading and spelling CVCC words (‘bump’, ‘nest’, ‘belt,’ ‘milk’, etc)
- Practise reading and spelling high frequency words
- Practise reading and writing sentences
- Learn more tricky words, including ‘have,’ ‘like,’ ‘some,’ ‘little’
Children should now be blending confidently to work out new words. They should be starting to be able to read words straight off, rather than having to sound them out. They should also be able to write every letter, mostly correctly. This phase usually takes four to six weeks, and most children will complete it around the end of Reception.
All children take part in a daily maths session. We follow White Rose Maths and are using a mastery in maths approach. We are developing children’s understanding of number though the counting principles. Alongside this, we introduce shape, patterns, measures and spatial awareness and relate these to the numbers and counting we have been teaching.
Continuous provision in the classroom is enhanced with mathematical resources to encourage children to apply their knowledge through play.