EYFS at GRDS
Early Years Foundation Stage
GEMS Royal Dubai school is an outstanding school with an experienced team of Early Years teachers. We are a passionate and dedicated team who take pride in delivering an enhanced version of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum framework combining it with our HPL Values, Attitudes and Attributes and the Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics. We specifically plan and adapt our teaching through inquiry based thinking, using the child’s voice as the starting point for all of our focus activities and provision which have cross curricular links and real-life learning opportunities.
WELCOME TO FOUNDATION STAGE!
Our Foundation Stage provides an inspiring and engaging environment, where every child is valued and made to feel safe and secure in their surroundings. We are a family feel school with children at the heart of everything we do, ensuring there is a strong balance between child initiated activities and adult directed activities that enable children to reach their full potential socially, emotionally and academically with confidence. We understand the importance of working together with the whole family, building positive and supportive relationships always motivated by our school vision of Achieving Excellence Together.
Foundation Stage Overview
Our child centered approach allows us to focus on children’s individual needs, specifically targeting development areas and providing continuous next steps to support best progress. Our Early Years teachers work closely with the ACe department who support us with meeting the needs of all our children. We also adopt some of our whole school approaches, they include: Talk 4 Writing and Read Write Inc phonics, which are embedded in the early years and supports transition into the primary phase. Although Arabic is not compulsory within FS we do provide an Arabic experience within the early years timetable which involves songs, stories and initial vocabulary, preparing the children for Key Stage 1.
In the EYFS framework there are seven areas of learning included three prime areas and four specific areas. The prime areas are particularly important for developing children’s enthusiasm for lifelong learning:
Explore the Foundation Stage (Early Years)
In the Foundation Stage we use the 2Simple assessment tool which links to our teacher judgements. This tool captures in the moment observations with photographs and video clips as well as providing detailed information about the learning happening at that time. These observations are then shared with parents to make them aware of their child's progress and the next steps in their child's learning.
We use the Learning to Learn planning document which is consistent across the school. On this we share; child’s voice, key vocabulary, ICARE links and cross-curricular learning opportunities. Our planning is accessible to the Inclusion Support Teachers who work with English Language Learners and children who require intervention/enrichment support.
Our Foundation Stage action plan outlines our aims for the department for the year ahead, showing the success criteria of how we aim to achieve our objectives. These objectives are closely linked to our whole school development plan and is reviewed regularly in team meetings, updating and adding to when necessary.
Parents are informed about teaching and learning in FS in many different ways; Seesaw provides information about learning objectives; weekly 2Simple observations give personalised next steps and Facebook and Instagram showcase our WOW moments. Our department also offers many parental engagement opportunities with timely workshops which provide support for parents with strategies to use at home.
Enhanced Learning Environments
Additional to indoor and outdoor provision, we also provide children with enhanced learning environments, including Technobase, FS library and Multi-cultural room. These environments provide a range of technological devices, selection of FS books and opportunities to explore different communities and cultural celebrations. Learning from each other and celebrating our personal identities.
English Language Learners
We have a wide range of English Language speaking abilities within FS and need to support children at all levels. We provide support with fun and engaging activities suited to each child’s level. They work in small ability groups and are given personalized targets to work on. These targets are shared with parents and teachers and are worked on regularly to encourage quick progress.
Child Led Learning
As a department we follow the interests of the child, gathering information through class observations, parent voice and discussions with children. Teachers use this information to provide lessons which directly focus on their needs, wants and interests. We ensure consistency across the phase by having an over-arching theme with some set objectives but give flexibility in how they are delivered.
Trips and Events
The Foundation Stage children are extremely lucky to have such varied trips and events. The teachers link the visitors and trips to the personalized learning happening in each class not necessarily completing them as a year group or phase. FS always take part in whole school events, such as Flag day or International day, joining in with the age appropriate activities with the RDS community.
In preparation for Key Stage 1 we provide Arabic experiences for all children. We have introduction sessions to Arabic which are delivered through songs and games. The children remain in their play based environments and explore a range of activities linking to the Arabic focus. Children are introduced to simple vocabulary related to the class theme and gradually build up to learning the Arabic alphabet.
Children are identified as requiring additional support or have gaps in learning through our baseline assessments. The Inclusion Support Teacher selects objectives or areas of concern, such as, PSED to provide enrichment sessions focusing in on those who most need it. As the year progresses we provide more sessions to incorporate our more able children by running challenge Busybee sessions.
Stay and Play Assessment
We provide opportunities for our potential new students to attend stay and play sessions. This gives parents and children a chance to meet the FS Teachers, get use to the environment and make new friends. We provide time for parents to ask any questions about our school and give support about the EYFS curriculum.
The Foundation Stage team are included in whole school training sessions as well as personalised training to support our department’s wants and needs. We also have access to the GEMS Professional Development training framework which gives individuals a wide selection of courses to focus on their personal targets or areas of interest.