Sharing Good Practice Step into Quality Year One 2018 - Lancashire Early Years Foundation Stage Consultants
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Lancashire Early Years Foundation Stage Consultants © EarlyYearsCentre@lancashire.gov.uk Sharing Good Practice Step into Quality Year One 2018 2018
Thank you and congratulations to all of the schools who have taken part in the programme this year. Coupe Green Primary School Cuerden Church School Deepdale Community Primary School Forton Primary School Golden Hill Short Stay School Mayfield Primary School Sacred Heart RC Primary School St. John Southworth RC Primary School St. Oswald's RC Primary School St. Stephen's CE School
A case study from Coupe Green Primary What were your key areas for improvement? Indoor provision- add clear areas of continuous provision which the children could access independently to consolidate skills. Build in more opportunities for continuous provision to be used within lessons and ultimately re-work the timetable to cater for this. Outdoor provision- ensure children had an accessible outdoor area with resources which challenged them and allowed them to take risk. Learning and development- re- work the curriculum to ensure it followed children’s interests whilst catering for their needs. Relationship with parents- we wanted to involve the parents in our journey through the process, informing, updating and consulting with them regularly to ensure the best outcomes for our children. We wanted to bring the curriculum alive to inspire and motivate the children in their learning. What did you change? Indoor Provision We have worked incredibly hard in this area. After moving classrooms midway through the Step into Quality process, we had a lot of work to do! Before implementing the Step philosophy, our classrooms were very regimented and full of tables and chairs in Elm class (Year ½). We also had the challenge of having a very small teaching space and free flowing shared continuous provision for Oak class (R/1). We did try having less tables and chairs initially in Elm Class but this didn’t always work for the Year ½ split so we still have tables which double up as additional areas in the classroom too. Oak class have only 2 teaching tables. However, our biggest change was that we sectioned and zoned clear areas of learning spaces for the children to use independently and ordered lots more accessible furniture and resources for the children to use. In Elm class, there is now a role play corner, a reading corner, a construction area, a maths area, a science area, an ICT area, an arts and crafts area, writing opportunities in lots of different areas and outdoors there is access to sand/ water and large scale construction. Each week, we talk about what we have learnt already and with the children, we joint plan what the children would like in each area to consolidate skills and extend prior learning even further. This way, the children know what to expect the next week, what to do and are excited to start on their new challenges because they helped to plan them. We are still in the process of implanting a manageable way to record and track the areas the children have visited so they don’t spend all week in their one favourite area and ensure they develop and practise a broad range of skills. We do currently use challenge books which show the different areas of the classroom, explain the challenge and allow the teacher to sign off and provide feedback for their next steps. Our biggest challenge was managing the indoor provision with mixed age classes to ensure they provided the correct level of challenge for the children. We needed to ensure that for example Maths for Year 1 looked different and offered different challenges to Year 2 and especially in Oak class where Nursery, Reception and Year 1 all use the same shared area. We leave and display differentiated challenge cards/ whiteboards in each area and in Elm class they are colour coded levels of difficulty (green, orange and red) so that the children can move on to the next challenge independently or try and practise an easier challenge that is pitched suitably for them. In Oak class, the teachers consulted the children and chose a favourite story. They then named each year group a character from the story eg Gruffalo so that each year group knows to look for the correct challenge which is enhanced for their task in each area. This has really worked well for our children and when you walk through, the children are always busy and challenging themselves as a learner which is the outcome we desired when we started the process. A lot of our challenges are directed tasks. However, now we have grown lots more confidence and seen the benefits of continuous provision in Key Stage 1, we are keen to take even more risks and have much more independent choice areas where the children can follow their own interests even more. Outdoor Provision When we moved into our new classrooms midway through the Step process, we had clear visions and priorities for what we wanted our outdoor environments to be. However what we hoped would be and reality of things like suitability of the terrain, location of the outdoor spaces in relation to the classroom proved more challenging than first thought. Oak class firstly had to overcome the difficulty of not having an outdoor area in direct sight of the classroom, sharing it with nursery and reception and Elm class had the difficulty of the area being all grass, at the front of school and being an area where parents and other children alike walked through every morning. Also, after making grand plans to revamp these areas, we will now be changing classrooms again which will prove more beneficial for the children next year as they will have better free flow and contained spaces for outdoor provision. However, the long term plans have impacted our short term plans meaning a slight halt in funding and proceedings for more outdoor provision in this current academic year.
However, we have made lots of use with what we have currently got. We now have a small, fenced grass area for Elm class that has den making equipment, a pulley system, large scale construction, sand/soil/ water and writing opportunities. It is not the finished product of what we had hoped but we have grand plans for next year’s new outdoor environments- a range of different terrains, a continuous allotment area for growing all year round, an outdoor role play area, bug hotel, varied construction and much more storage space to mimic the wonderful outdoor area that Reception have access to. Oak class now free flow into the shared Reception environment where there is also access to role play, physical, large scale construction, sensory, sand and water. Like indoors, these also have differentiated challenges but we do like to keep the outdoors more open ended so the children can take even more risks and follow their interests. We are excited to continue our outdoor environment into next year where we have even more funding to spend. We are hoping to follow a Forest School philosophy making use of natural items and objects which is very exciting! Learning and Development The whole school has had a real focus on creating an inspiring broad and balanced curriculum which follows children’s interests. Previously, the curriculum was very regimented and followed the Lancashire Theme Booklets as we knew we were likely to cover everything from the year group expectations. However, we found that having mixed age classes made using these booklets tricky and after the third year of using them made them less exciting to teach for our teachers and it didn’t always cater for our children’s interests. We now consult the children’s interests by talking to the children about what they want to learn about. We use talking tubs, things we have noticed from independent continuous provision to devise a theme that is relevant and interesting to our children. Once we have our theme, we then link it into the KLIPs skills to ensure coverage by the end of the year. At first, our parents were very sensitive to the new split Year 1 classes so we began the year ensuring both Oak and Elm had the same theme and skills to ensure continuity. For example, we both did the same English and Maths objectives and the same theme but it took a slightly different direction in both classes. Eg Antarctica became ‘titanic’ for Oak Class but ‘Poles Apart’ for Elm as oak class became obsessed with icebergs and Elm became obsessed with animals from different polar regions. However, as our confidence grew in coming away from the prescriptive theme booklets, and the parents and children began to feel more at ease with the split, we began to take more risks. We now ask the children what they want to learn about (within reason) and having some coverage in mind for example Science, choose a few lead subjects and devise a curriculum map with the children’s ideas. We show children video’s and items as stimulus and record children’s thoughts, questions and ideas. We also commit the first day of every half term to being a theme day where the children help us to make our learning environment special, making things for display- for example the bakery on Pudding Lane or a huge scale farm with different farm animals. This really allows children to take ownership of their own classroom and excited them about their new theme. We also use our data and observations to influence the learning opportunities in continuous provision. For example from arithmetic tests, we noticed our children found ‘exchanging difficult’ so this became our Maths area which children could access daily. We also use our observations to help us. For example, we noticed we couldn’t get our boys out of the construction area and these same boys were reluctant writers so we brought writing to their favourite areas and they now love writing- they do it without realising they are writing because it is ‘in the moment’. Relationship with parents At the beginning of the year, it was tricky due to children and parents concerns alike from having a straight reception class to splitting and having different classrooms, new year groups mixed in and a new teacher also! We knew we needed to get the parents on board straight away so we sent out a questionnaire at the end of last year consulting parents. We then used this to implement changes in light of their suggestions. The first change was homework. We have now moved from a very formal English, Maths and phonics weekly to a pick and mix style. The children have a grid with choices of exciting activities across the whole curriculum. The children choose one a week in whichever order they choose without a worksheet in sight! The impact of this change has been huge across school not just in Key Stage One. The children’s homework is now displayed on a wow board and celebrated in class and assemblies. Not only this, it has reduced the amount of complaints from parents about homework being a battle at home, reduced paper wastage, reduced teacher’s workload and inspired the children to extend learning at home. This has been one of the most beneficial changes we have made with the biggest impact. Next of all, the parents had asked to have more communication on a regular basis. We now send out weekly newsletters informing parents about our learning, special mentions and involving them. For example we ask for resources, help or experts in certain topic areas. We have also rolled 2 Build a profile out across whole school. Key Stage One parents now receive half termly updates about their children’s learning. It has also been beneficial to us to evidence practical learning and not feel the need to stick photos in a book! The parents more recently said they would like the opportunity to come into school more often so we have implemented stay and play for reception but due to lack of physical space, parent pop-ins after school for Key Stage One. This has meant that the children have been able to showcase what they are proud of, show their
parents what we do but has also given parents the time to see how we extend the children’s learning and given them the opportunity to ask questions about how they can help at home. We have found that this has had a greater turnout after school than in the school day. We’d now like to do more workshops for our parents especially in Phonics and Maths so they feel they can support their children at home even more. What impact did this make? Indoor provision Our children are happier, more enthusiastic, focussed and above all- independent! The children wow us every day with the work they do and produce. Pride- the children love to showcase what they have done, made and talk about what they have produced. Using data and observations as well as the children’s interests has allowed us to have more quality intervention time- interventions happen in class time, in a very practical manner! Having a more relaxed timetable (particularly in the afternoons) has enabled us to deepen children’s learning, keep them excited and engaged but more importantly- the quality of work produced in a shorter time span with a focussed group of children has improved. The children focus for less time with the same outcome. Their enthusiasm for learning has improved dramatically The children see themselves as learners- they reflect on what they are doing and they know how to challenge or support themselves and where to go to do this. Our children love to learn and they are happy. Next steps: more independent choice in continuous provision. Make timetables even more flexible now we have more confidence. Outdoor provision An area we will continue to focus on Improved the children’s resilience Improved their problem solving skills Encouraged them to work as a team to solve problems Made the children more confident- have to mix and mingle with different children. Made the children happier because they follow their interests Made the classroom quieter and calmer- to have children in continuous provision whilst doing guided groups was very hard due to noise level of good learning in continuous provision because the children are so excitable. Encouraged more ‘in the moment’ and free choice learning Next steps: buy more resources for new classroom areas, order more natural and open ended resources, invest in more storage spaces, invest in suitable outdoor clothing for the children to access outdoors in all weathers, make use of the local environment more. Learning and development Children are enthusiastic about all subjects The children are happy The children are engaged The children are more focussed Intervention always happens! Assessment occurs in many different forms- practical, 2 build, books, conversations We have a closer relationship with the children- know them inside out! Our children are more independent and resilient Our staff are happier- things don’t feel as rushed or hectic because we are moving them to one lesson to the next, to the next. We’ve grown the confidence to make something prescriptive into the opposite. Next steps: Develop a more manageable way of monitoring continuous provision, making timetables and learning even more flexible. Relationship with parents Parents are regularly updated Positive feedback Parents feel able to be involved and support their child’s learning
Parents have helped resource our environments- whether it is books, material, small world, things of interest Parents feel able to approach staff at any time Parents have been invited in lots of times throughout the year School feels more like a community Parents have become so much more involved in their children’s learning! Next steps: More parent workshops, summarising actions made this year ‘you said, we did’, continuing to consult parents even more!
A case study from Cuerden Church School What were your key areas for improvement? Our main focus was to develop the transition from Reception to Year One due to comments on the parent questionnaires. We have looked at and developed the way in which we communicate with parents. We have also looked at the indoor learning environment including the layout of the classroom, the organisation of Continuous Provision and the opportunities to promote independent learning. Alongside Reception staff we have developed the outdoor area by sharing the space with them and extending it to create a natural area. What did you change? The transition process – We sent out parent questionnaires at the end of the Spring Term of 2017 and they were analysed and acted upon. It was lovely to hear such positive comments and to gain new ideas for things that could be improved for the new class and information that they think is useful to know prior to their child starting Year One. The questionnaire showed that the ‘Meet the Team’ meeting should be moved to the Summer Term to allow parents and staff to meet and make links before the new school year. Induction Booklets were also introduced and given to parents at this meeting to inform them of routines and share part of the transition process with them. A formal parent’s evening has been introduced for the Autumn Term. Year One staff visited the Reception classroom on several occasions to observe the children in an environment they were comfortable with. Towards the end of the Summer Term the children visited the Year One classroom for story time. This gave them an opportunity to get used to their new space. Self-registration was set up in the first half of the Autumn Term. Now we are moving through the year a ‘welcome activity’ is ready for the children to access when they enter the classroom in a morning. Staff are available on the playground at the beginning and end of each day to talk to parents and carers to offer personalised greetings and farewells and to answer any queries. Homework has been changed to allow more choice for the children. We now provide a ‘Homework Grid’ at the start of each half term with tasks on for the children to complete. They can choose with an adult at home which task they would like to complete each week. Wow postcards have been introduced and sent home from September to celebrate the children’s achievements. Indoor learning environment – The classroom was transformed. We have a new layout with less tables and ordered new furniture to enable us to create designated Continuous Provision areas. Resources are clearly labelled to create a print rich environment which was commented upon in our recent Ofsted inspection. This makes them easily accessible to the children. The classroom is much calmer and quieter as the children have specific, cosy spaces to do their learning in. A rainbow challenge system was implemented to allow adults to keep track of the independent learning that the children were doing. It was also an incentive for good behaviour and learning. To encourage the children to contribute to their own learning we have introduce ‘Talking Tubs’ to inform planning. They have allowed us to see what the children already know about a topic and what else they would like to learn. The use of floor-books have emphasised the creativity and knowledge of the children. We are still working on encouraging the children to use floor-books independently. Adult observations have improved and although we have no formal way of doing this e.g. 2Simple or Tapestry, we have used the Anna Ephgrave model and now each child has a learning journey. However, upon reflection we will be changing this with the new cohort and will be recording independent learning in their current exercise books to make this more manageable. The outdoor area – Although our outdoor area is an ongoing project, it has become a real shared space with the whole-team (Reception and Year One) working together to improve it. We met on a variety of occasions to plan what we wanted from the space. Building work is still ongoing to extend the area and to create a more natural space on the school field. Children were asked to bring in wellies or outdoor shoes and waterproof suits were purchased so that the children can access the outdoors in all weathers.
What impact did this make? Parents reported that they were happy with the transition process. Relationships between parents and staff have improved and the children have settled into Year One much quicker. Staff, children and parents are sharing lots of information between each other e.g. via Reading Records. The Homework Grids have given the children (and parents) more free choice on what task is completed each week. Homework includes all areas of the curriculum and so places a value on creativity. Children are more engaged in both indoor and outdoor provision. The children take more responsibility and pride in their classroom environment. They tidy up confidently as they know where things belong due to the print rich environment. The outdoors is a real shared space between Reception and Year One. We feel that the floor-books have been an effective way of recording children’s work and ideas. They have allowed us to see what the children already know. The floor-books have also given staff a place to record whole- class learning without the pressure of putting a copy each child’s book. The use of rainbow challenge system allowed staff to keep track of what the children were doing during independent learning time. The incentive of getting to the end of the rainbow and getting a prize was an incentive for good learning. Teaching Assistants are becoming more confident in their observations. We are hoping to use an electronic system similar to Reception in the future to make this more manageable. Sharing the outdoor space with Reception has given the children regular access to the outdoors. The natural space has provided opportunities for gardening and planting, making recipes in the mud kitchen and building a bug hotel.
A case study from Deepdale Community Primary School What were your key areas for improvement? Thinking carefully about how we can support both the children, parents and teachers in ensuring a smoother transition between the EYFS and Y1 How Continuous Provision can be used effectively in Y1 outside the classroom How to involve parents/carers more often and effectively in their child’s education How to use the outdoor environment more effectively, if money became available What did you change? Transition Set a timetable in the Spring Term ready for the transition period in the Summer During the transition period the Year One teachers spent an afternoon in the Foundation Stage classes, where the children felt safe and secure The children in the Foundation Stage spent a day in the Year One classes with their new teachers and TAs Dedicated a staff meeting to Pupil Progress between the previous and new teacher, alongside the DHT School held a ‘Welcome Meeting’ in the Summer Term for the new parents where routines were discussed. The parents were then given the opportunity to meet the new teachers and look around the classrooms We used parent questionnaires to discover more information about the child which informed the Autumn Terms planning Second ‘Welcome Meeting’ held in the first week of September where the expectations of a Year One learner in Reading, Writing and Maths were discussed Continuous Provision The children no longer have full access to continuous provision within the classrooms Dedicated a room to continuous provision and role-play. We named it the Lively Learning Room. Within it there are the different areas, such as construction, reading, writing, maths, sand, water etc. The children have timetabled access throughout the day. Extra resources bought Parents Involved parents in the transition process through parent questionnaires to find out more information about the children. We held two separate welcome meetings and invited the parents into school to meet the new teachers and explore the classrooms prior to the end of the Summer Term Hold ‘Parent Workshops’ on a termly basis relating to Reading, Writing and Maths DHT is visible welcoming the children and parents at the beginning and end of the day All teachers welcome the children and parents at the beginning and end of the day using their outside door Outdoor Environment The outside space has been used as an extension to the classrooms within the Summer and Autumn Term, when the weather allowed Plan in place to re-design the outside space, if budget allows Weather and Role-Play boxes purchased to use outside at playtimes and lunchtimes What impact did this make? Transition Children felt safe and secure when they entered Year One due to the rigorous transition timetable put in place
Teachers had a very clear understanding of the new children entering Year One, both personally and academically New Year One parents felt well informed and knowledgeable of the Year One routines and expectations Teachers were able to change the curriculum to meet the needs of the new cohort Continuous Provision Children had more access to continuous provision on a more regular basis in the specifically designed room Most areas of continuous provision available – water, sand, construction, writing, maths, reading, investigation, creative and role-play Newly arrived children have differentiated access linked to the EYFS Parents Parents see themselves as valuable contributors in their children’s education Parents feel more included in school life Parents are more aware of the expectations of a Year One learner in Reading, Writing and Maths Outdoor Environment Although this area has not been developed fully, the staff are now more aware of the value of outside provision More resources bought, to support outdoors provision
A case study from Forton Primary School What were your key areas for improvement? One of our key areas for improvement was our outdoor learning environment. We wanted to enable the children to have access to an outdoor area during continuous provision. We also wanted to develop our indoor learning environment. Another key area for improvement was our transitions process from Reception to Year 1. We also developed our communication and relationships with parents as this linked well with the transition process. What did you change? Using the space outside our classroom, we developed a fantastic outdoor learning environment that can be used in all weathers. We dug out an area to put in planters enabling the children to grow vegetables. We separated the spaces into smaller areas for the children to work in. We also built a mud kitchen and provided the children with loose parts for the construction area. We completed this work ourselves with a very small budget. We now use a learning choice system throughout the classroom. All our children have a learning passport and must complete a number of challenges each week. The children have time to complete these challenges when they have completed their daily tasks (linked to teacher input). We have also developed the areas in our classroom by including a craft area and a writing area. Being a small school has its advantages as we already know the children in Reception (Class 1) before they move into Class 2. However, it is still an area we wanted to develop. During the summer term we held meetings with the new Year 1 children and their parents to get to know them. We created a new home/school diary which is used to record any reading and homework done at home. These diaries are a great way to communicate with parents and are also a lovely record of all the homework they have completed. What impact did this make? The children thoroughly enjoy completing challenging in the outdoor area. They feel a sense of pride as they helped to develop the area. Their resilience has developed, and they work well as a team when outside. They all know where the items outside belong, so they have more independence in their learning. We opened a mud kitchen and developed the garden area and collected lots of natural resources that the children use when counting. These areas have given the children more opportunities to investigate the natural world and encourage them to work together. The learning choice system keeps the children busy and engaged in their learning. They enjoy completing challenges individually and take pride in recording their work in their learning choices journal. The changes to the inside learning environment have been a success. Splitting the classroom into areas has enabled us to provide the children with more learning opportunities and challenges. This is an ongoing project and the areas will continue to change with the children’s interests. Meeting with the Reception children and their parents was hugely successful. We wanted to welcome the children and their parents into the Class 2 family. It also gave us the opportunity to discuss any concerns the parents had regarding the transition into Year 1. We are so pleased with the response to the new home/school diary. We have found that more children are reading at home regularly and are completing the homework tasks. They have also been a great way to send messages to and from school.
A case study from Golden Hill Short Stay School What were your key areas for improvement? 1. Role of the adult 2. Outdoor environment 3. Teaching and Learning What did you change? 1. The adults were previously only doing AL activities, we changed so that 1 adult did AL and 1 adult did CI. We developed talking tubs and themed interest weeks. We allowed for flexibility of learning. We developed our observations. We made an independent learning wall that celebrated the WOW moments. 2. We changed the access and storage of the outdoor resources, providing a photo book of resources that children could select from. 3. We developed a skeleton planning for 2 week blocks, with non-negotiables on the plan, and planning in the moment added after or highlighted on the overview What impact did this make? 1. We feel the children have more focussed learning in AL activities. The staff have a better understanding of the child’s holistic learning and next steps. The children show much more enthusiasm and engagement in all activities. Learning is more meaningful when we are flexible and go with the moment. Catching WOW moments and observing their interactions is providing us with a better understanding of the child and allowing us to easily identify next steps or providing next steps immediately. 2. Children are now able to independently access a variety of resources. Children are more confident at trying out their own ideas and keeping safe. 3. The progress of children in maths and English is much improved through the smaller groups and better focus of the activity. We are flexible in changing the activity when necessary in order to provide a new learning experience. The children are being more thoughtful and considerate when playing in the Continuous Provision. Staff are very confident at ‘going with the flow’ and valuing all learning opportunities. Themed Interest Weeks: Halloween, Road Safety
Planning in the moment: Reading books from the library bus, Santa bread, ice Outdoor environment:
A case study from Mayfield Primary School What were your key areas for improvement? One of our areas for improvement was to enhance the outdoor learning environment. The outdoor area was unused and with such potential, we wanted to enhance the area and use it as much as possible for lessons and continuous provision. We wanted to improve the indoor learning environments and with such good-sized classrooms we wanted to make sure we were taking advantage of the space available. We also wanted to update the resources available and invest in items linked to continuous provision to allow us to implement a less formal approach to learning. What did you change? We created a wonderful outdoor environment that is still growing. We were lucky enough to get a budget for this initiative, which enabled us to buy resources and create a child friendly outdoor space. We spent a lot of our own time and effort to create a child friendly outdoor area. Being two form entry, one of the year one classes moved into a different classroom so both classes would have regular access to the outdoor environment. We have arranged the learning environment so continuous provision is obvious and easy for the children to access. Implementing continuous provision and smaller group adult led activities from September has meant children’s learning has developed hugely. We have had new resources and furniture which has meant the classrooms look a lot more natural and up to date. Resources are child friendly and are more of a ‘help yourself’ approach for the children. E.g. baskets where children can help themselves instead of having to look in a maths cupboard in the classroom. What impact did this make? The children enjoyed helping to create their own outdoor learning environment and having their own ideas come into fruition. The children enjoy regular outdoor learning linked to all subjects and are able to access the resources themselves. They have created a system where 6 children from each class can go out at one time, and they record this themselves on whiteboards. They are always engaged and have a love for learning. The new furniture and resources has given the classroom a much calmer and natural feel. The children benefit greatly from this, being such a boisterous cohort. They are able to freely access their own resources and take pride in looking after them. Our new approach to continuous provision is proving to be very successful. The children were more relaxed and transitions seemed smoother than previous years. We also feel their learning is further on than it has been in previous years. The children are a lot more confident, happy and relaxed with the new environments.
A case study from Sacred Heart RC Primary School What were your key areas for improvement? Parents – To get them more involved in school life, ensure transition is a process rather than an event; give parents the chance to meet Year 1 teachers before September. Outdoor provision– ensure children have access to the outdoor provision. Make provision enjoyable and meaningful. Indoor provision – change classroom to make smaller areas, more variety, suitable challenge areas that encourage independence. Have several small and varied writing areas. What did you change? Parents – The first thing we did was send out a parents questionnaire. We had an open-afternoon in July for parents to come into school and meet Year 1 staff, see the classroom, ask questions etc. Children were given an ‘All About Me’ booklet to complete over Summer and bring back in September. They were asked to include all important information so we know a bit about the child before they started in Year 1. We held a coffee morning in October for parents to come in and read with their children, play games etc. This was also an opportunity for the parents to ask questions, share ideas etc. We had a ‘Teach the parents’ morning where parents were invited into school to take part in one of our lessons. We did our morning exercises and the children completed some art work with their parents. The children loved having their parents in school and it was nice for the parents to see what we do in class. In November we did a ‘Books at Bedtime’ evening. Parents were invited to come to school with their children in pyjamas and bring their favourite bedtime story. We read stories together and had supper. We held a Christmas crafts afternoon and parents were invited into school to make Christmas cards, biscuits, decorations etc. This was very successful and we got a lot of positive feedback from parents. Throughout the year we send letters home to parents to inform them what our topics are and ask for their help, support and ideas. We have had lots of response from the parents and they have been happy to bring in baby photographs, winter clothing for our North Pole role-play area, materials etc. to go in our creative area. We are currently looking at toys in the past so we have asked parents to bring in any toys they played with when they were younger and asked if there are any Grandparents who would like to come in to school and talk about the types of toys/games they played when they were children. Outdoor provision- Before we began the ‘Step into Quality’ program we very rarely used the outdoor area. This was due to a number of reasons; staff, access to the outdoor area not being easy and sharing the area with the EYFS. When the children were in Reception last year they played a pivotal part in re-designing the outdoor area. They shared ideas and discussed what they would like to have. The outdoor area is now completed and we are able to share it with Reception. We use it as often as we can and we are trying to make indoor and outdoor provision flow smoothly. We have been using the training packs and websites recommended on the course and we have found some good ideas on here. We have outdoor activities set-up linked to our current topics and we ensure that there is a good level of challenge provided. We have a specialist TA who takes groups of children outdoors two afternoons a week. During this time they are able to access both outdoor areas and where possible it is linked to one of our focuses for the week. They have also been taking part in activities from the ‘Nature Detectives’ where they use the woodland area. They have also been going out on walks around the local area; this has helped with their vocabulary skills whilst also allowing them to become familiar with our local surroundings. Indoor Provision – This is the area where we have made the biggest changes. Before starting the program our classroom was quite formal and was full of tables and chairs. We now only have two tables where teacher led work takes place, the rest of the classroom is made up of small areas which the children access independently. We have a variety of areas including; creative, role-play, writing, maths, malleable, fine-motor skills, construction, phonics and small world. Not all the areas are set up each day, we try to change them throughout the week so the children are suitably challenged and aren’t getting bored. We complete a provision plan each week and usually enhance the areas on
Wednesday. Some of the areas stay out longer than others depending on how the children have got on and whether they need more challenge in this area. Writing is a big focus in this class so we have tried to ensure there are suitable writing areas set up and they are boy friendly. We have put a lot of time into this and ensured we have suitable resources. We have worked closely with the Reception teacher to ensure the level of challenge is suitable and follows on from what they have done previously. We have also completed Leuven Scale assessment on the children; we did this once while they were in Reception and again at the beginning of Year 1. This was very useful and it showed the children were confident and comfortable in their new environment. Challenges in areas of provision are displayed daily and are extended when needed to ensure all children are being challenged. Our provision is set up based on children's interests, theme or topic, skill (such as joining, printing, cutting etc.), basic skills (elements of literacy and numeracy) and direct challenge. What impact did this make? Parents – we acted upon feedback from the questionnaire and as a result we had our most successful transition to date. The children were happy and settled from the beginning as they had been in the classroom several times before and they had met all the staff. During some of our transition sessions the children what they would like to see in the classroom and they decided on some of the areas and we asked parents to bring things in to help e.g. materials, resources, books etc. We have had some support from the parents and they have commented on how they appreciate being involved in the different processes. We also send out a topic map at the beginning of each half-term; this includes details about what we will be learning, any trips we will be going on, what resources would be useful and how the parents can further support the children’s learning at home. We have had positive feedback about this and parent have enjoyed feeling like they are fully involved in their children’s learning. We have made sure the parents feel like they are always welcome in school and they have been invited into school for lots of different activities. Outdoor provision -This is the area where we are continuing to focus heavily on; we have noticed a big improvement in this area and children are enjoying having access to the outdoor environment. The children thoroughly enjoy their time outdoors and we have made sure that they go out at least 2 days a week no matter what the weather is like. We have been using a lot of the resources we were given during the training and we have found these really useful as a starting point. We are getting more confident in planning for outdoors and our TA is particularly keen on using the outdoors. We have found that the ‘talk groups’ have been really successful; the children have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience from using the local area and places that they may not usually visit. The children have thoroughly enjoyed having access to the EYFS outdoor areas; in particular the mud kitchen which we used to enhance their learning of measurement and the water area which enhanced their learning of capacity. As well as seeing a difference in their understanding, we have also found that being outside has improved their communication, confidence and team-building skills. Indoor Provision -I cannot emphasise enough how much of an impact the change in indoor provision has changed the way the children behave and learn. They have thrived in the classroom and they constantly impress us with the work they produce independently. The children have thoroughly enjoyed being able to share their ideas about what they would like to see in the classroom. We have found that doing a provision map on a Thursday for the following week has really helped us to focus on what the children need and areas of development. We assess the provision mid-week and add enhancements, extensions, challenges depending on how the children have accessed the areas so far. This helps the children to stay excited and engaged. We will continue to work and plan in this way as we have found it incredibly successful and both staff and children have thoroughly enjoyed the practical aspects of learning. We have also got a more ‘relaxed’ timetable which allows us to do our maths and literacy lessons for a whole morning, rather than trying to fit them both in each day. This has really benefitted the children and allowed us to deepen their understanding in each of the subjects. This is further extended with the provision which is tightly linked to what we are learning.
A case study from St. John Southworth RC Primary School What were your key areas for improvement? Transition from EYFS Listening and consulting with children Creating clear defined areas Teaching within the Autumn/Spring Term Develop the Outdoor Area Environment-de-clutter, organise, label Develop a snack and chat area What did you change? Transition from EYFS Meet with Reception teacher looking at data, home life, friendships, areas of concerns and ELG’s Reception children visited year one on a regular basis during Summer 2 half term. Sent home a getting to know you photo of all year one staff Used the Getting to know you from Quality Kite Mark Listening and consulting with children We ask children each half term to help complete our provision map Change areas and resources as children dictate We ask children before each half termly topic what they would like to find out. and draw up a map We asked to children what materials they would like in our areas Creating clearer defined areas and purchasing materials Created clearer areas to include Maths, English, R.E, library, listening area, Science, Computing, Messy area (named by the children) Use of prompts to lead children's learning. Purchased natural resources and bought the wish list from the children for the messy area to encourage independence. Bought a castle type construction for our outdoor quiet area. New furniture and tables. Teaching within the Autumn/Spring Term The way we teach a year 1 class during the first term. Less formal teaching Small group work with both Teacher and TA Develop the Outdoor Area More resources (Natural Materials) More opportunities to gain experiences Reorganised the outdoor area Added a mud kitchen/Merlin's Lab Bought crates and wooden planks Environment-de-clutter, organise, label We had a massive clear out Moved furniture Made clearer working areas
Improved storage indoors Labelled and organised resource boxes Develop a chat a chat area We created a snack and chat area Snacks and drinks are now accessed during the day instead of limited to only break times Created a more organised classroom to allow for more independence Changed the library in to a more comfortable area to sit and read. What impact did this make? Transition from EYFS A closer relationship with children and parents. Children and parent less anxious and settled. Parents were happy with the transition and have commented on the parent feedback forms. The first week back ran more smoothly. Listening and consulting with children Children have greater ownership of their learning. Provision now has a clearer focus and understanding. Our children now feel more responsible of resources and have a more independent attitude to learning. Creating clear defined areas and purchasing materials The quality of provision has improved greatly. Children take ownership of the resources and they are more focused on their activities. Areas within the classroom look more inviting and organised with the use of natural materials. All children are busy and engaged. The classroom feels more spacious, inviting and organised. Teaching within the Autumn/Spring Term We observed Reception class in the last term and took ideas from this, we now work with one group at a time instead of whole class. The children benefitted from a focus teaching and guided work and are making progress. Develop the Outdoor Area This is an on-going project and will change annually with Cohort, we started by having Maths and English activities outdoors to run alongside fine motor, construction, water, sand, musical instruments, Role play and physical resources but it was felt that this was an extension of the class room, we visited another school which reflected this therefore we have reverted back to it being an extension, we offer maths and English to give children the opportunities to gain experiences outdoors which children cannot access indoors whilst also making links with indoor learning, to meet the needs of children who prefer to work outside and have asked to so. We will review this on a termly basis consulting with the class at the time. Environment-de-clutter, organise, label This improved the environment by making it less busy and a better use of resources. Children are more independent and are able to access areas easier. Develop a chat a chat area Children enjoy being able to eat, drink and chat when hungry or thirsty. Encourages independence, impacts on health and well-being of the children
Forest School in our school grounds Building a fire and toasting marshmallows Planting flowers and vegetables in our outdoor area. Our deconstruction area.
A case study from St. Oswald's RC Primary School What were your key areas for improvement? As a team, we decided that our main areas for improvement were: Transitions, The outdoor learning environment, The indoor learning environment. What did you change? Transitions For transitions, we planned a small programme for the Year 1 staff and Reception children to get to know one another. We planned for our class bear to visit reception to watch what they do, the reception children could write in a book that went with the bear and the children could share this with the teacher. A PE after school club was arranged for the reception children, the current Year 1 and Reception Teachers planned and delivered this then the children could get to know the staff. Also, in addition to the schools normal moving up morning, it was planned that the children could have an extra moving up session for the children to do extra activities. A nibble night was planned for the Reception parents to get to know the Year 1 staff and talk about any queries etc.… Prior to finishing EYFS, the children were given a small summer holiday pack for them to take home, this included pictures of the staff, the classroom and small activities they could share when they entered Year 1. In addition to all of the above, one of the reception teachers which was in reception, followed the children up to Year 1. Outdoor Learning Environment At the start of the step into quality process, we did not have an outdoor environment set up. As a result, the change has been fantastic: We have had a canopy built, We have had a large storage shed built, We have had a storage shed for the children to access, We have created many self-accessible boxes for the children to use. Indoor Learning Environment Our main part for the indoor learning environment included: Self-accessible areas for the children (a creative cupboard), Collating the children’s interests, Producing large investigation books. What impact did this make? Transitions We believe that the impact for the transition process has been fantastic. The children, got to know the members of staff in Year 1 during the final term of Reception and the members of staff commented on how confident the children became as they got to know us throughout the process. On the first day of Year 1, the majority of the children came in without any issues or upset and quickly became settled in the classroom which they had visited several times before. This positive attitude from the children has continued. Following a questionnaire which we carried out later in the first term, the parents commented on our transition process and how settled their child was at being in Year 1. Outdoor Learning Environment As we did not have an outdoor environment set up, the change for the outdoor environment has been fantastic for the children. The canopy being built has meant that the children now have an accessible outdoor area, no matter the weather. We feel that this canopy has extended the classroom and enables the staff to split up during activities then the children can benefit from their learning. The storage shed being built has been fantastic for the teachers to pack
away resources that are no longer needed. We found that creating children’s independence was so important and giving the children their own cupboard to keep tidy and choose from was perfect for this. The children can plan/request what they want within their shed and can access it. Throughout the term/topic, the members of staff can add more/adapt as necessary. Indoor Learning Environment The impact of the indoor learning environment being more self-accessible has resulted in the children becoming very independent and proud of their environment. We decided to get the children’s opinions on what they want in the areas/to learn, this has meant the children have become more focussed. We can also bring the children’s ideas into most of the curriculum also. The large investigations books have been fantastic for the children to record their thoughts and experiences, they love to show them to the different adults who visit. Potion Station at Halloween Maths Corner Watching our caterpillars change into butterflies Investigating making a moving map like in Harry Potter
A case study from St. Stephen's CE School What were your key areas for improvement? Our Outside Environment Our Indoor Environment Transition and Routines Parental Involvement What did you change? Outside Environment Initially our outside area was just an extension of indoors and rarely used. We had a simple sand box and we had tables outdoors. The main activities available in afternoon sessions would be indoor activities that had been put outdoors, sticklebricks, duplo or indoor games. After reflecting on the SIQ initial training day we realised that we needed to make some BIG changes. We got to work transforming our environment area by area. We created lots of new areas including water, sand, music and construction. We still had lots to learn and continued to enhance our provision by ensuring that activities were appropriate for outdoors. We have now got a range of small world tyres that are currently themed around the ocean, dino land, the desert and a fairy garden. The children also created a lazy river, a large scale construction area with lots of tyres, crates, pipes and wood. A wood bench, a stage, a mud kitchen, a large water tray area, a creative station along with shelving with open ended resources on to allow children to make their own choices and enhance their outdoor learning. The children are loving being independent learners and critical thinkers. The Mud Kitchen has been a favourite so far for our class and is always a popular spot in outdoor provision. We all worked together to collect new utensils, pots, pans, plates and other items to ensure that children could gain the most out of our new area. The area has seen children embed so many skills both socially and academically. I have to say that it is one of my favourite spots to make observations due to the language used by the children and seeing their imagination run wild. We have loved that we have been able to enhance their learning through this messy play, the boys love writing new recipes! Another area that the children have spent hours of fun learning and developing is our new stage. It started off as a few pallets and has now extended to include instruments and a large back drop. We have enjoyed seeing children retell stories, create musicals and write plays for this area. We have been delighted with how this has aided our English and RE units and built on our children’s confidence to perform. The children aren’t afraid to demonstrate their creativity and really get into character. Following the outdoor training day, we were inspired by the pallet playhouse so over the holidays we built some of our own. As a team, we decided that we would create one as a role play area and one for our quiet area as this was an area we still wanted to work on. We furnished it with cushions, fairy lights and a soft floor. Children love taking blankets in and sharing a new book with a friend. This has been lovely to share with the children, especially when the rain is falling but we are cosy in our reading house with a blanket and a good book. This has built relationships between children in class as we have noticed that all abilities of children share this area and they enjoy reading or retelling their own stories to others. The second became a role play area. We have had a café, a construction site, a stable and now a space station. The children love to expand the home to construct around it and develop their skills. It has been ideal for both English and Maths challenges. As a team, we are working hard and continuing to add to our outside area but are delighted with the progress made so far. Our next steps is to enhance the gardening area and the children have lots of ideas. This includes a vegetable patch, a sensory garden and also a monster truck track. The learning opportunities are both exciting and endless! Indoor Environment The initial indoor learning work outlines that we needed to make a number of alterations. Following this, as a team we made a plan and got busy over half term creating our new areas and moving the classroom around. We decided to follow a “Let's" theme e.g., Let’s Construct, Let’s Imagine, using the EYFS framework for support. We could then see all the resources that we needed and began to think about how we needed to enhance the basics. New bricks arrived for construction, a new tent and lights for our reading corner and lots of new natural materials.
We have continued to develop these areas and the children seem to be settled and academically thriving due to the skill based challenges we create in these areas each week. We initially had colour everywhere with bright backing paper, colourful borders, plastic storage boxes and baskets, painted window designs etc. As a result of Step into Quality, we introduced neutral fabric and hessian to back the walls. We put resources into wicker baskets instead of large colourful boxes. The impact was immediately noticeable with a much calmer atmosphere being felt in the classroom. The children’s work began to stand out on the display boards instead of being overshadowed by intense colour from the backing paper. Areas of provision looked neater and less overwhelming as a result of wicker baskets and soft furnishings as opposed to brightly coloured plastic boxes and multi-coloured fabrics. The calmer environment has led to much calmer children in all indoor areas. Transition and Routines Before ‘Step Into Quality’, Year One saw a formal approach to learning which not did not always stimulate and support children in their learning or development. Although good progress was made, the children were not seeing themselves as learners and this was a change that was much needed due to the background that our children are from. We now encourage provision to support teaching and learning and, due to a change in timetabling, there are now lots of opportunities for the class to develop their own learning. We have a learning ladder to encourage our year one children to complete the skill based challenges and children work hard to reach the top of the ladder. We take photos, provide worksheets and write post its to evidence their learning. It has allowed us to focus on building children’s emotional literacy alongside the national curriculum objectives. We have seen this as a huge learning curve but can see the difference it has had on their learning. Children are active members in planning our next half term and we make plans as a class. It is so exciting to see home learning on our topics and both children and families engrossed in their learning. Parental Involvement We were really eager to help our parents and support our families and the step into quality program has been amazing for us. It encouraged us to reflect on our practice and think of better ways to do things. We introduced an open door policy where parents collected their children from the classroom door, we have set up a home messaging system through the app ‘Class Dojo’ so parents can stay in contact, we have a home learning diary that encourages parents to voice their thoughts on their child’s week and we do the same, we encourage photos to be shared through email and have a new noticeboard to keep parents up to date. These are to name a few of the ways that we are trying to encourage parents to support school and their child’s learning. It seems to be working as following these changes, the feedback from parental questionnaires has been exceedingly positive and we currently have nearly all of our children completing home learning tasks religiously each week. It is important to us that parents have their say but also that they feel included. We understand the unhappy schooling some parents have and we are eager to break the cycle. I honestly believe that happy families are productive families. The changes made through this process has encouraged all staff to work as a team and I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far. What impact did this make? Since taking part in the ‘Step into Quality’ programme we have been on an amazing journey of continual reflection. Our environment has seen the largest changes with huge transformations, both indoors and out. The areas are full of resources to encourage open ended play to inspire and create active learners. As the children are much more involved in their play, the quality of our observations has improved and children are embedding the national curriculum skills. Both children and staff are enjoying the changes made and are enjoying this journey. Our outdoor provision has become much more child-led and unique! We see lots of happy children enjoying and exploring We have noticed that the children are much more involved with many opportunities to play and learn in a variety of ways. The children now adopting a ‘have a go’ attitude to learning. In addition, as a Year One Team, we are now looking forward to continue to build on our Step into Quality journey. We feel that we have taken many positive steps forward and are determined to develop our provision further.
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