Children start their learning journey at John Locke Academy in the Early Years Foundation Stage, which includes our Nursery and three Reception class - Unicorn, Dragon and Lion. The Nursery children have their own large purpose built classroom and outdoor area. In Reception the children have the freedom to move between the three classrooms, a communal area and their outdoor area as they play and learn. We are also lucky to have a large playing field and our own allotment which we explore on our weekly welly walks.
Children develop quickly in the Early Years and our highly skilled practitioners do all they can to ensure that our children have the best possible start in their education. At John Locke Academy we fully embrace the four guiding principals that shape the EYFS -
Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
Importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
Our EYFS provides children with a stimulating and fun learning environment where they are able to explore, take risks and problem solve. The children are introduced to our Learnasaurs who promote the characteristics of effective teaching and learning -
playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
These characteristics underpin our children’s learning and development and support them in becoming and remaining effective and motivated learners. We strive to ensure that our children will be lifelong learners by creating exciting and purposeful opportunities for them to play and explore, learn actively and create and think critically.
The Early Years curriculum is divided into three Prime Areas of learning and development and four Specific Areas -
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Art and Design
The Prime Areas are fundamental, work together and support learning and development in the Specific Areas. We support children in building their communication and language skills by encouraging them to explore, talk and ask questions. We continue to develop their physical development so that they become independent in their self-care needs and develop their gross and fine motor movements. We support children’s social and emotional development by modelling the key skills they need to express themselves, interact with others, make friends and build effective relationships. The Specific Areas include essential skills and knowledge to equip our children for their future successes.
We use broad topics to deliver the curriculum in a meaningful and child-centered way. Each half term EYFS staff introduce a new theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Each theme includes key texts, rhymes and songs, wow moments and core experiences. We aim to support children’s learning by providing lots of practical, hands-on experiences. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-led activities. We value the importance of play and the children are provided with plenty of time to engage in child-initiated learning throughout the day through a variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. During the day the children also have directed teaching time and focused group work.
We recognise the importance of parents and carers in a child’s development. You are your child’s first educators and we greatly value any input and information you share with us about your child’s learning and progress. We work in partnership with parents to ensure that each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points.
Our aim at JLA is to create an outstanding learning environment and build relationships which support children to be happy, confident, independent and enthusiastic learners with a lifelong love of learning. We ensure that every child is prepared for the next stage in their learning journey.