Foundation Key Stage Vision:
We aim to support children to become independent learners by supporting them to find their inner resources of curiosity and enthusiasm, so that they can enjoy engaging with learning and as they develop, manage their own ways of learning. We encourage all children to experience themselves positively and believe that nurturing and respecting the child’s self-autonomy will lead them to recognise their own ideas, skills and knowledge leading to a positive sense of self. We aim to provide a stimulating, child-focused environment that facilitates independent learning. Staff are well trained and experienced in Early Years and are supported to understand the ethos of the department.
We have four main outcomes for the Key Stage. It is expected that by the end of the Key Stage, children will be able to:
- Separate from their parents or carers and enjoy the opportunities school provides
- develop their functional communication and language skills, and find the value in using communication to get needs met and express thoughts and feelings. This may be through signs, symbols, PECS and or spoken language.
- Engage with learning both in self- directed tasks and adult led activities, and begin to view themselves as part of a social group.
- Take increasing responsibility for aspects of themselves, for example tidying up, dressing, toileting and feeding themselves, and self-soothing when distressed.
We acknowledge that for some children medical and physical aspects may impact on these outcomes. Where personal, social and emotional difficulties are apparent as a barrier to learning, further support may be required, in the form of Behaviour Support plans or referral to other services within the school at this stage.
The main curriculum foci within the EYFS are Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and language. This is to acknowledge that all children who are in the Foundation Key Stage, either at Mary Sheridan Pre-school, or the Rainbow Fish Class (Reception) will be experiencing difficulties with their personal, social and emotional development. In many instances this will be due to Autistic Spectrum Conditions, but for many others independence skills and coping with learning in a social setting can be challenging. Related to this are the difficulties all children within our Foundation Key Stage face with their Communication and Language. Our role is to teach functional communication and language, to develop and use augmented communication systems and provide a social learning environment in which these skills have meaning and can be applied.
Children within the Foundation Key stage will have access to an increasing range of social experiences that complement learning within the school. Within Mary Sheridan Pre-school, this will include attending St Nicholas for key seasonal events such as Harvest Festival, Christmas and Easter celebrations, as well as being included when performances occur within the school. Children will go for walks in the local area of the pre-school and access the playground and at times Hydrotherapy pool within the main school. In addition to these opportunities, children in Rainbow Fish class will have access to day trips out and blocks of horse-riding.