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Oak National Academy

Teachers: See the lessons Oak is producing for 2020/21

Oak’s approach to EYFS

We have been on a journey with Oak’s approach to EYFS. It is an area that is particularly difficult to translate into an online format and we have not always got it right. We have taken on board lots of the feedback we have seen online around it needing more encouragement of extended, independent learning around the lesson content. In addition, we know that our initial labelling conflated EYFS with Key Stage One, and that this was an issue going beyond just semantics. We believe it’s important to ensure that our learning for Reception stays true to the breadth of learning of the EYFS framework and so we wanted to set out some of our key thinking below.

Organisation of our Reception curriculum

We know that the division of learning into subjects can sit contrary to the EYFS framework, in which one task can engage the child in developing in multiple areas. We organise the Reception learning by the specific areas of Literacy, Maths and Understanding the World, ensuring that Physical, Social and Emotional and Communication and Language are developed across all these areas and are embedded in all our lessons. Expressive Arts and Design will regularly be part of the learning across these three specific Areas of Learning. In addition to this, there will be discrete Music lessons taught by a specialist. We are also planning specific focuses on Social and Emotional Development. Whilst acknowledging that this prime area is always important and will continue to be embedded throughout our teaching, we are aware that it is even more necessary during this current climate so we wanted to create some focused lessons around this as well.

Approach within lessons

Within each lesson, there is a short period of teaching that explicitly introduces key concepts and important vocabulary. There is then a modelled follow-up activity. This activity is intended as a suggestion for follow up learning rather than a dictated task. This latter activity can therefore be used as small group work, or as an option for children to engage with as part of their continuous provision. It is designed with minimal resources in mind so that it could be easily carried out in the home environment.

Limitations of the approach from an EYFS perspective

We know that the development and embedding of learning is, ideally, facilitated through purposeful provision and play. As this is difficult to demonstrate on an online platform, our aim is to teach key knowledge and skills and then to facilitate further activities which build upon this. We know that learning in the EYFS is driven by a combination of adult-led teaching and the facilitation of embedding learning as part of continuous provision. In this way,  we endeavour to present videos that provide options for further independent learning and high quality play.

We’re developing our lessons now, but if you have advice and ideas to help us keep improving, please do let us know at [email protected]. We may not be able to reply to every email, but we’ll read them all.

Tilly Browne is one of Oak’s primary curriculum leads.

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