Here at St Thomas More Catholic First School, our Early Years unit is at the heart of our school community and it is where our children begin their fun-filled journey.
Our dedicated Early Years website page will help you gain an insight into what we can offer you and how we can ignite your child’s imagination and equip them with the tools they need to become successful learners. If you would like any further information, do not hesitate to contact us on 01527 525821 and we will be happy to help you.
Here at St. Thomas More, the Catholic Faith is at the heart of everything we teach, believe and celebrate. As the children start school, they will begin their journey into our faith-filled community, where we embrace everyone’s gifts and talents and support our children to reach their full potential. We welcome communication with parents and carers to ensure that we can provide a stable and secure environment in which your child can flourish.
Our environment is rich with opportunities for children to develop and grow. Throughout the day, your child will take part in various activities and experiences which will nurture their curiosity, develop their talents, stretch their boundaries and develop their confidence and independence.
Every adult in our EYFS celebrates the importance of play; we observe, we challenge and most importantly, we get involved!
The EYFS framework outlines the seven areas of learning your child will be exposed to. It is split into two categories, the Prime Areas and Specific Areas.
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. At St Thomas More, children are encouraged to listen to and respond to a wide range of texts e.g. fiction, non-fiction, poems and rhymes. The children are provided with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts. All adults are key in modelling a range of rich vocabulary and language through conversation, storytelling and role play.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
At St Thomas More, children are supported in learning about their own and other people’s emotions. We encourage the children to try new activities to gain confidence in their own abilities. The children are also given opportunities to learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating and managing personal needs independently. We also encourage the children to build different friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peacefully.
Physical Development covers both gross motor skills and fine motor skills. The children are given opportunities to play indoors and outside focusing on negotiating space. During Tree-Tops Tuesday (Forest School) and PE lessons the children are encouraged to move in a variety of ways that develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. The children are also exposed to a wide range of fine motor activities which will develop the muscles in their hands which are crucial when they are beginning to learn to write. We encourage the children to use their cutlery when they are eating.
It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two main parts: language comprehension and word reading. At St Thomas More, we follow the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. Phonics is taught everyday and the children learn new sounds. They also learn how to segment and blend sounds together. They also learn how to read tricky words (words that cannot be sounded out). Children read with an adult during the week and books are sent home to further develop their reading skills. We also send home a book that the child has chosen from the library that can be read to them, to encourage their love of reading.
During our English lessons, we follow the CLPE programme, which allows children to gain a deeper understanding of a variety of texts. Children are given opportunities to write regularly, whether in English, phonics or continuous provision. The children are encouraged to articulate their ideas and structure them in speech, before writing.
Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. At St Thomas More, we follow the White Rose Mathematics Scheme, which is based on a CPA approach- concrete, pictorial and abstract. The children use a variety of concrete objects to support their maths including Numicon and tens frames. Children are given the opportunity to use new mathematical language which has been modelled by an adult.
Understanding of the World
Understanding of the World covers three main areas; Past and Present, People, Culture and Communities and The Natural World. The children are encouraged through a variety of topics to discover more about the past, more about people around the word and more about the natural world. Through Tree-Tops Tuesdays, the children are exposed to changes in weather and surroundings during the different seasons of the year. Children use a curiosity cube in the classroom to investigate new things. The children are encouraged to ask questions to find out more about the world they live in.
At St Thomas More, children are able to explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques in order to create their masterpieces. The children are given opportunities to engage in a range of role-play activities including a home corner, a pizzeria, a school, and a shop. This draws on the experiences the children may have already had. In music, we follow the Charanga scheme which encourages the children to learn a range of songs, tap out rhythms and beats and use tuned and untuned percussion instruments.
In RE, we use the scheme from the Diocese of Birmingham, Learning and Growing as People of God. The children have two RE lessons per week. The children learn about Creation, People who help us, People who care about us, Advent, Christmas, Baptism, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost and Prayer. The children learn a variety of class and school prayers and take part is school masses regularly.