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Foundation Curriculum

At Riverside, we understand that the quality of education a pupil receives in the Early Years, lays the foundations for pupils to Be All That They Can Be and to create a love of learning that will grow throughout their life. Our curriculum is supported by The Engagement Model and the 5 areas of engagement. The 5 areas of engagement are:

  • Exploration – Identifying pupil interests to increase motivation.
  • Realisation – Observing how a pupil reacts to new stimulus.
  • Anticipation – Developing pupil understanding of cause and effect.
  • Persistence – Maintaining an activity long enough to achieve a desired outcome.
  • Initiation – Developing pupil independence.

Embedding these 5 areas within our curriculum allows our teachers to make learning truly irresistible, and gives our pupils the skills that they need to be curious about the world around them.

We are delighted to be able to work with our families to personalise our pupils’ curriculums to ensure that they are unique and truly meaningful to them. Pupil curriculums use their EHCPs as the central focus and, throughout the year, each pupil will receive two Personalised Learning Plans (PLPs), which break EHCP outcomes into smaller and more focused areas of learning. Staff will use the first term to observe and build relationships with pupils, so that their Happiness Passport can be a true reflection of who they are and how best to support them.

Alongside this, we follow the Statutory Early Years Framework and Development Matters, meaning that every child will access learning that includes Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. These areas of the curriculum are all met through structured and unstructured learning time. Most importantly, we know the importance of giving all of our pupils a meaningful and effective communication method. Therefore, Communication and Language activities are weaved into all areas of our curriculum and Total Communication methods are used to support our pupils in finding their voice. This can be through AACs, vocalisations, gestures, signing, PECS, communication books and many other ways. We pride ourselves on being able to adapt all seven areas of the Early Years Curriculum to meet our pupils’ personalised needs and learning styles.

Our pupils have many opportunities to learn through play in the Early Years and our teachers ensure that play is a key part of the curriculum. Pupils are immersed in topic-based learning by accessing activities that meet all seven areas of the curriculum during free-flow learning time. Pupils are the leaders of their own learning and have the opportunity to familiarise and master the different activities available to them. Our Early Years team use the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle, to adapt activities based on our pupils’ responses.

Our staff have access to Professional Development opportunities linked to Early Years research and theories. To support pupils with their play skills, we have ensured that Schema Play is at the heart of our play curriculum. Schema Play identifies 9 schemas that children may display when they are exploring the world around them. The schemas are:

  • Trajectory
  • Transporting
  • Rotational
  • Enclosing
  • Enveloping
  • Orientation
  • Connecting
  • Transforming
  • Positioning

The Early Years team’s in-depth knowledge of Schema-Play allows them to identify pupils’ dominant play schemas and unique lines of enquiry. Staff then use this knowledge to seed the environment around them and plan engaging and motivating learning activities during free-flow and structured learning time.

Our staff understand the importance of high-quality play interactions, and in order to support our pupils’ play skills we incorporate the ShREC model:  

This model enables supporting adults to share pupils play opportunities and match their responses based on their SCERTS partner stage. This means that pupils are always the leaders of their play and supporting adults are skilled in knowing when and how to interact with them in meaningful ways, extending their communication and reciprocal play skills.   

We value every pupil at Riverside for the unique person that they are and we ensure that our responsive environments reflect this. Accessing the Early Years Curriculum at Riverside School means that every pupil is given the solid foundation in their first years at school to build upon their interests and develop secure attachment and positive relationships with their peers and supporting adults.