Our Approach to the Early Years


At Chacewater School, we base our love of learning through a broad and balanced curriculum – fostered through the earliest stages of their academic lives, right throughout their journeys in our school. Therefore, in our Foundation Stage we strive to deliver a wide and varied learning experience, where we are fully committed to developing each child’s unique potential. Thus, we promote children to lead their own learning through a balance of children’s interests and that of the skills we want them to fulfil based through the Development Matters Strategy and those that will help them as they begin their journey through our school. These areas are then explored and deepened further by not only their surroundings, but the immediate learning opportunities nurtured by the staff. Over the years we have adapted how we teach, allowing us to experience rotational groupings which are adult led, independent groupings where the children lead or opportunities which are based around previous learning experiences to captivate what they children have learnt over time.


The Early Years Framework, accompanied by Development Matters and Birth to 5 will then be pieced together by inspirational texts and hook books linked to the child’s interest, incorporated and filtered throughout all learning experiences – Maths, Phonics and our afternoon sessions.


What do we look out for?


The Leuven Scale


Leuven Scale of Wellbeing

  1. Extremely Low - The child clearly shows signs of discomfort such as crying or screaming. They may look dejected, sad, frightened or angry. The child does not respond to the environment, avoids contact and is withdrawn.
  2. Low - The posture, facial expression and actions indicate that the child does not feel at ease. However, the signals are less explicit than under level 1 or the sense of discomfort is not expressed the whole time.
  3. Moderate - The child has a neutral posture. Facial expression and posture show little or no emotion. There are no signs indicating sadness or pleasure, comfort or discomfort.
  4. High - The child shows obvious signs of satisfaction (as listed under level 5). However, these signals are not constantly present with the same intensity.
  5. Extremely High - The child looks happy and cheerful, smiles, cries out with pleasure. They may be lively and full of energy. Actions can be spontaneous and expressive. The child may talk to him/herself, play with sounds, hum, sing. The child appears relaxed and does not show any signs of stress or tension. He / she is open and accessible to the environment. The child expresses self-confidence and self-assurance.

Leuven Scale of Involvement

  1. Extremely Low - Activity is simple, repetitive and passive. The child seems absent and displays no energy. They may stare into space or look around to see what others are doing.
  2. Low - Frequently interrupted activity. The child will be engaged in the activity for some of the time they are observed, but there will be moments of non-activity when they will stare into space, or be distracted by what is going on around.
  3. Moderate - Mainly continuous activity. The child is busy with the activity but at a fairly routine level and there are few signs of real involvement. They make some progress with what they are doing but don’t show much energy and concentration and can be easily distracted.
  4. High - Continuous activity with intense moments. The child’s activity has intense moments and at all times they seem involved. They are not easily distracted.
  5. Extremely High - The child shows continuous and intense activity revealing the greatest involvement. They are concentrated, creative, energetic and persistent throughout nearly all the observed period.


At Chacewater School our vision for success stems back from our belief that time and dedication initiated in the Early Years setting with parents, carers and agencies, builds fundamental relationships with children’s families upon arrival to our school. Practitioners in the Early Years setting make exceptional links with desirable agencies and nursery provisions, whereby children meet the class teacher long before arrival, as well as discussing their interests and attainment with appropriate adults.

Our thoughtful and thorough parent appointments, open classroom and staggered start program, allows parents to engage in the school’s ethos prior to their children starting school. These exceptional links allow the children and their families to have a smoother transition into school life, allowing the children to have an essence of self confidence and awareness immediately and their relationships with peers and staff have already been made.


What do we want to achieve?


In the Foundation Stage we believe that our children should feel safe and happy in a stimulating learning environment, which allows them to reach their best academically, but also developing their thirst for knowledge, fostering a love of learning and leave our school with exceptional independent learning skills.


From this, we expect that all children within the Early Years setting make strong progress from their accurate starting points assessed through their initial baseline assessments. Along with the statutory baseline assessments that all reception classes are required to carry out, our school undertake our very own assessments too. These baseline statements are taken from the Development Matters Framework and are used to address areas of weakness and strengths within the earliest stages of the children’s schooling experiences. These are recorded and used to plan the provision for the cohort, addressing all areas of particular focus. Practitioners in the foundation stage make professional judgements as to where they believe the children are working at. These then link and are continuously monitored through the observations recorded on Tapestry and by having termly meetings with SLT using Target Tracker to support.


Curriculum Overview


Each year a curriculum overview plan is created based on the information we have received from the parents and children during the come and play sessions, parent appointments, nursery visits etc. These overviews can change overtime dependent on the cohort and children’s interest, but factor in general themes to cover (based on the expectations of those in the foundation stage using Development Matters and Birth to 5) and linking possible texts and wow moments.


We aim to cover the 7 areas of the EYFS framework. These areas are broken down into:

  • Communication and Language
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design.


For more detail about how we implement our curriculum and how we measure impact then see the EYFS Strategy document below.