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EYFS / KS1 Curriculum

At Fern House School, we believe that Early Years (EYFS) and Key Stage 1 (KS1) are crucial in securing solid foundations for pupils to become life-long learners. In EYFS/KS1, staff work together towards Fern House’s shared vision of Be Ready, Be Safe, Think of others.  It is our intent for the children to be: 

  • Happy, secure and to feel safe  
  • Excited and Motivated to learn
  • Confident and Resilient    
  • Socially strong and able to form positive relationships

Staff members use consistent boundaries, praise and rewards to form the backbone of our behaviour management system to enable pupils to feel happy, secure and safe. We recognise and value an individual's strengths and talents and believe in praising effort and valuing the little steps that really make a difference to a child’s progress.  In EYFS/KS1 we are guided by attachment theory and prioritise formation of strong, close relationships with pupils and their families through daily communication. An innovative aspect of our approach is that parents/carers are encouraged to participate in the classroom with the children on a regular basis, creating what is known as a multi-family group in the classroom. The focus is on families helping themselves and each other to create positive, supportive relationships in and amongst themselves to enable their children to become functioning learners, while also providing carers with the vital necessary support. 

Excitement and motivation for learning are developed through planning fun, engaging and challenging lessons based on the needs and interests of the children. We follow the fascinations and interests of the children and respond to the changing needs of individuals; both academically and behaviorally. We acknowledge that due to the adverse start in life that many of our pupils have experienced, they may have missed out on early learning opportunities and the formation of trusting adult relationships. We therefore prioritise building strong foundations through playful, nurturing learning activities that are rooted in real-life contexts so that children have motivating reasons to learn and to help them to apply their knowledge to a range of situations.

Confidence and resilience are key skills for a developing learner. We explicitly teach children to understand the learning process and understand mistakes are valuable learning experiences. Through the Characteristics of Effective Learning, we develop children’s active learning skills and help them to understand and respond to feedback. The teaching of these areas of learning is practical and playful with support and challenge from adults in; whole class sessions, small group sessions, focus groups and working with individuals. All the crucial skills, knowledge and vocabulary that we teach are presented to the children throughout the year through a balance of teacher led and child directed learning (supported by adults). A vital part of the curriculum design is therefore the transition period before the children enter the classroom in which we get to know more about them and their interests.

At the core of our learning in EYFS/KS1 is social development and the importance of fostering positive relationships, friendships and kindness. We promote this through the modelling of positive interactions and language at all times; adult-child interactions, and those between staff and the child’s family. We celebrate each child as an individual and promote mutual respect, understanding for the diverse cultural backgrounds of others and work towards developing a strong moral ethos in every child. This is done through explicit teaching about honesty, co-operation and respect and support children to problem-solve independently, when they are emotionally ready to do so. 

Our intent is that all children make at least good progress from their starting points and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to ensure a successful transition into their next phase of life at Fern House.