The youngest children at Newfield School follow the Explorers Pathway. This pathway is for Reception and Key Stage 1 aged children. The curriculum delivery is a continuous provision, play-based approach, in line with a Foundation Stage curriculum.
All of our learners at Newfield have complex additional needs. In order to give them the best possible start to their education we extend the EYFS model of curriculum delivery through to the end of Key Stage 1. This play-based curriculum uses the curiosity approach to engage the children as active participants in their learning while developmentally appropriate activities and experiences spark their love of learning.
Staff prioritise nurturing warm and respectful relationships in all aspects of the early years and ensure children feel safe and secure to learn and flourish.
At Newfield School we acknowledge and celebrate the differences in the needs and learning styles of our younger children. As such the pedagogical approach taken during the formative years is an eclectic mix approach designed to optimise success for all our children. Teachers at the Explorers stage aim to develop skills through play-based approaches where children have resources and environments to explore and develop their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Continuous provision gives children a range of experiences and play media with adults supporting and playing alongside. The outdoor environment is also capitalised upon to provide learning opportunities.
At the Explorers stage we promote our learners to become active participants in their learning. We create enabling environments that are designed to promote children’s curiosity about the world around them and to enjoy interacting with the people they meet and develop relationships with.
Although Explorers continue to the end of Year 1 learners are assessed by a system appropriate to their age, including Reception Baseline Assessment and Year 1 phonics check.
In delivering our Explorers curriculum the 7 characteristics of effective learning from Development Matters (July 2021) permeate and underpin the approach.
The Areas of Learning for Explorers is adhered to the EYFS 7 areas of learning and long-term planning across a 3 year rolling cycle ensures breadth of experience as well as planning for progression suitable to the needs and abilities of the learners.
An example of our long term planning can be found here
In order to develop learners’ curiosity in the world around them we use a range of resources and the learning environment to develop their sensory experiences, play skills and communication skills.
Staff practice the three principles of effective teaching and learning in all aspects of the curriculum.
Playing and Exploring
What this looks like in Newfield Explorers
playing and exploring – children are encouraged to explore their environment with as much independence as possible. Some children require additional support to be able to handle objects or explore them safely so staff aim to do this while enabling children to ‘have a go’ and explore as freely as possible.
- Continuous Provision provides opportunities for pupils to explore a range of high-quality resources
- Development of outdoor provisions
- Adults support in provision for children to make choices, have a go at new and favoured activities. Adults model vocabulary and play skills whilst giving pupils opportunities to be independent in their play
- Using pupil’s interests to guide provision
- Curiosity Approach
What this looks like in Newfield Explorers
active learning – staff create opportunities for active learning to take place by planning activities and providing resources that are accessible for the children. They may be involved in a range of therapy programmes which are integrated into their learning experience to create opportunities for them to be actively involved in their learning activities.
- Clear routines and structures – predictable for pupils supported through total communication approaches
- Positive, Nurturing relationships with familiar staff so pupils feel supported and able to make mistakes
- Making learning fun
- Opportunities to explore freely
- Pace of learning to be individualized, opportunities for repetition so pupils become confident and have secure deeper knowledge and understanding
- Staff modelling and support where needed but opportunities to have a go first
- Supporting emotional regulation – individualized plans, sensory diets
Creating and Thinking Critically
What this looks like in Newfield Explorers
creating and thinking critically – a thematic approach helps children make links and begin to develop the skills of thinking critically and creatively. Staff provide experiences that optimise the children being able to think through problems and find solutions for themselves. Some children may have significant cognitive difficulties so all experiences will be accessible to them at an appropriate level.
- Open ended resources
- Regular uninterrupted play opportunities
- Working towards Goals – individualized EHCPs and celebrating successes through photographs, sharing work, parental involvement
- Role play/ Pretend Play skills key daily focus through continuous provision
- Breath of play experiences
- Imaginative play – staff modelling, exemplars
Communication and Language
Communication and Language supports children to develop their understanding and expressive language. Individual approaches to promoting our learners to be effective communicators are considered at all aspects of their life in school.
We use Well Comm to assess and track the development of our learners communication skills and promote development of communication through a language rich environment which is provided and differentiated to meet each child’s individual needs. Developing communication skills linked to speaking and listening is a key part of the work we do within Explorers.
All of our learners will have an outcome on their EHCP linked to their communication development which is tracked and evidenced on a termly basis.
We provide many activities to support the development of reading and writing skills. We have a wide range of books and other reading materials which children can access independently and with others. The development of writing skills is supported not only via traditional writing activities but creatively through, for example the use of computers and messy activities.
Reading is specifically addressed through:
- Twinkl phonics - daily. Initially phase 1. The focus is initially on sounds in the environment
- Sharing high quality stories and rhymes
- Reading continuous provision in class
- Teachers and EHCAs to read with pupils regularly- at least once per week
- Regular trips to the school library
- Working towards the Early Learning Goals for English
- Use of Rhino Readers texts from school library to apply and practice phonics learning
- Reading skills and knowledge to be accessed in context of age appropriate themes and texts as identified on the theme map (see separate document).
Staff practice the three principles of effective teaching and learning;
- playing and exploring
- active learning
- creating and thinking critically
In Maths, teachers apply the above strategies to all of the Maths areas ensuring that they develop ‘a strong grounding in number’ (EYFS Framework), learning to count where achievable. They are also provided with the opportunities to develop a foundation of knowledge across all of the key Maths areas.
Number - learning to count confidently and develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. They will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary where achievable.
Geometry and Measurement - children should develop skills in spatial reasoning in shape, space and measure and will explore patterns, spotting connections and ‘having a go’.
Children are provided with a wide range of activities to help them to develop an understanding of number, using number and shape, space and measures. The development of Mathematics is incorporated into the play-based approach and continuous provision.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
PSED helps children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. We aim to support children to be confident and as independent as possible. Activities support children to develop their social skills, a respect for others and the curiosity to want to explore and learn.
Due to the needs of our learners they will all have significantly different starting point and potential in relation to their independence and staff will ensure they have an accurate, and if needed multi-disciplinary, understanding of how to maximise each child’s independence in terms of accessing the curriculum.
Each child has an outcome on their EHCP related to the personal, social and emotional development which is tracked and evaluated on a termly basis.
Physical Development for our Explorers helps children to learn by being active. This supports them in gaining confidence and developing their coordination and movement. Some children require significant support to eat whilst some children are supported to make healthy choices about the food they eat both at snack time and at lunchtime and to expand their eating choices if they have sensory sensitivities.
The fine and gross motor development of learners is considered in the long-term planning as well as in individual goals set for them via their long term EHCP outcomes or via their MOVE programme - Movement Opportunities Via Education.
For more information about MOVE please click here.
Some children may access the hydrotherapy pool to improve their physical skills and aid their development. Multi-agency working with physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists is needed for some children.
The outdoor area is an important part of developing the physical skills of learners and this in incorporated into themes for learning as well as continuous provision and outdoor learning.
Understanding of the World
Understanding of the World provides children with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world around them. To help children to do this we enable them to use a range of tools and technology safely.
We provide opportunities for them to encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real life situations.
Children are supported to participate in practical ‘experiments’ and to explore a wide range of materials.
We aim to give our learners frequent learning experiences that improve their understanding of the world around them.
We build on their personal experiences by visiting places in the community like parks and meeting different people around school including our office staff, school nurses and the very popular visits from our therapy dog!
In addition, we listen to a broad selection of stories, songs and rhymes from different cultures and in-keeping with our themes.
Expressive Arts and Design
Expressive Arts and Design enables children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials.
Children are also provided with opportunities and support to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance imaginative and role play activities, design and technology.
There is a strong focus on the sensory elements of the expressive arts and children are encouraged to incorporate all of their senses into their exploration of the world as a means to express themselves.
Learners progress is monitored closely through their time in the Explorers phase.
Their EHCP outcomes are tracked and evaluated termly with evidence collected and shared with parents and carers via the Evidence for Learning (EfL)app.
EfL is also used to track and record the learners progress against the Development Journal which captures all aspects of their development and provides information to parents and teachers when they transition into their pre- formal or semi-formal pathway at Key Stage 2.
BSquared assessments are also completed summative for our Explorers learners. Learners at Reception have Early Steps completed by the end of their Reception year whilst Year 1 and 2 learners are assessed against the Engagement Steps with Pre- Key Stage Standards being recorded, where appropriate, for learners at the end of Year 2.