Intent:

At Holbrook School for Autism we provide a high-quality EYFS education giving students a secure and confident start to their school life. We provide our students with a safe and stimulating environment that builds on each individual’s needs and interests; this is why the EYFS classroom is a mix of students from ages Reception up to and including KS1. Learning will be fun, engaging and challenging to help every student to reach their full potential. It is fundamentally ran as a stream class and used as a baseline class to filter into pathways and appropriate cohorts as children are ready to move up through the school. The safety and welfare of our students is paramount at Holbrook School for Autism. We have robust policies and procedures in place to ensure their safety. We comply with welfare requirements as stated in the Statutory Framework for the EYFS 2021.

EYFS example timetable

The Learning Environment:

The Early Years classroom at Holbrook links to an outdoor classroom which was designed specifically with the needs of our students in mind. It gives the students ample opportunities to develop their gross motor skills and meet their sensory regulation needs. The outdoor classroom mirrors the learning happening inside which allows students to learn where they feel most comfortable. The ability for the students to move freely between indoors and outdoors has promoted a calm environment in which they are able to learn better.

The classroom layout has been planned to allow for child led learning where the students can pursue their own interests. Students interest are also incorporated into to lesson planning to support with engagement. Staff working within early years are committed to their own professional development and have completed training to allow them to engage in high quality interactions with each student.

 

The Curriculum, Progress and Assessment:

We have developed a set of long term curriculum goals (image below) that link to our whole school values. We aim for our students to achieve these during the Early Years Foundation Stage. The students in the early years classroom now benefit greatly from a personalised approach whereby their curriculum is tailored individually to their needs through the use of ‘My Plans’ alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. All children have a home ‘My Plan’ also which supports parents and carers with activity ideas to support their progress against their outcomes outside of the school setting. Parental involvement is fundamental factor Early Years department. ‘Seesaw,’, an online learning and communication platform, enables easy communication between school and parents/carers and allows them to be more involved in their child’s school experience.

We plan an exciting and challenging curriculum based on our observation of student’s needs, interests and stages of development across the seven areas of learning (Communication & Language, Personal, Social & Emotional Development, Physical Development, Maths, Literacy, Understanding the World, Expressive Art and Design) to enable the children to achieve. The seven areas of learning shape the educational programmes in EYFS at Holbrook School for Autism. Observation is a key component of early years practise with practitioners spending the majority of their time interacting and playing with the students. Each student has a learning journey on ‘Seesaw’ where lateral progress is captured towards their EHCP outcomes and WOW moments are documented. Next steps are delivered in the moment where possible or planned for soon after. There are regular opportunities for parents to meet with teachers to discuss student’s progress and next steps.  Student EHCP targets are tracked against our Holbrook EHCP Progress system. The Derbyshire Small Steps are used to document and track the student’s linear progress; these have recently been updated to be inclusive of the Early Years Framework (2021) early learning goals.

 

Transitions:

Transitions arrangements are personalised to suit the individual needs of each student and their families. Teacher and parents will meet to discuss a transition and create a plan, tailored to their needs. The student’s teacher will arrange to visit them in their current environment, whether it be school, pre-school or at home and discuss their needs with their current key workers. The EYFS Higher Level Teaching Assistant will support the transition by visiting students and families in their home environment.  Students are able to visit for a transition session in the summer term before they are due to start school. These sessions can be as many as are deemed appropriate for the student.

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