Foundation Stage Handbook

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Foundation Stage


Welcome to JESS

JESS Dubai is a truly international school

JESS Dubai is made up of three schools, JESS Jumeirah Primary School, JESS Arabian Ranches Primary School and JESS Secondary School.

JESS Dubai is a truly international school; among the 2,400 pupils we have on average 68 different nationalities speaking over 30 different languages. We follow the British curriculum but are very conscious of our roots in Dubai and the UAE, our home country.

JESS Dubai is made up of three schools, JESS Jumeirah Primary School, JESS Arabian Ranches Primary School and JESS Secondary School. We pride ourselvesas being 3 schools, one JESS. We collaborate to ensure consistencyacrossallthreeschoolstoprovide the best learning experiences for every JESS student.

Both JESS primary schools consist of three phases, Foundation Stage, Key Stage One and Key Stage 2.


JESS Curriculum

Foundation Stage

JESS Dubai Foundation Stage is where the children start the learning journey with us at JESS. We offer a curriculum and experience which begins in FS1 and finishes at the end of FS2, at which point the children are fully prepared to transition to the Primary phase of the school.

This Foundation Stage is underpinned by our child centred, holistic approach that supports the development of the whole child.

We nurture each unique child to develop a love of learning and make a difference in the world. By focusing on building warm, positive relationships with all children we ensure that they feel safe and happy in a warm and welcoming environment. We create learning spaces that are highly engaging, challenging and responsive to the needs of every unique child.

Through the opportunities we provide, we foster curiosity and challenge everyone to take risks and explore the world around them through play. As the children develop and grow, they are supported to become independent and confident learners who can communicate their ideas and work cooperatively with others.


JESS Curriculum Our Curriculum

Our bespoke Foundation Stage Curriculum has been designed with the children at the centre. It is underpinned by our holistic approach and supports the development of the whole child and their personal learning journey. Our curriculum meets the Statutory Framework of the EYFS, published by the UK Department for Education, which sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five.

Our curriculum is informed by evidence of how children learn and reflects the knowledge, skills and understandings children need as the foundation for learning There are seven areas, from the Statutory Framework of the EYFS that shape our curriculum

Prime Areas:

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development

• Physical Development

• Communication and Language

Specific Areas:

• Literacy • Mathematics • Understanding the World • Expressive Arts and Design

Our curriculum is complemented with specialist teaching in PE, Music, IT and Library.

At JESS, our pedagogical approach in the Foundation Stage is play based learning. Play is the most powerful vehicle to enable young children to learn and make sense of the world around them. Play is essential for children’s development, to build their confidence as they explore and learn how to solve problems By creating opportunities for our children to discover and investigate, we nurture their curiosity and learning becomes meaningful because they are following their interests and leading their own learning and develop the Characteristics of Effective Learning.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning are interconnected to the Prime and Specific areas and describe the behaviours children to learn.

Playing and Exploring


• Finding out and exploring • Playing with what they know • Being willing to have a go

Active Learning – Motivation

Being involved and concentrating

Keep trying

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creative and Critical Thinking

Having their own ideas

Making links

Working with ideas



Positive Relationships

Warm, trusting relationships with adults is the greatest factor in supporting children’s learning effectively. Emotional well being is the first priority and is essential in order to lay the foundations for development and learning.

Positive relationships drive our approach in the Foundation Stage, we place great importance on the interactions amongst all members of our community to support our holistic approach.

Teachers and Learning Support Assistants are seen as partners and co adventurers in the children’s learning journey, ensuring learning is continually placed in a meaningful context by engaging with the children’s interests and ideas.

By placing an emphasis on every child experiencing high quality interactions with our staff team ensures that every child makes the most of the learning opportunities we provide.

Our highly skilled practitioners interact with the children to support them to consolidate their understandings and skills and to extend their learning by introducing new ideas.

Children in Foundation Stage at JESS don’t just learn in collaboration with adults, they play and interact with other children in a range of different ways and the adults provide opportunities to engage them together in a stimulating learning environment.


Enabling Environments

We believe that children are unique and holistic learners who thrive in environments that support their diverse needs and interests. We provide a range of possibilities within our stimulating learning environments, indoors and outdoors, that promote exploration and play. The FS learning environments are inclusive and purposefully planned to nurture curiosity and inspire our children.

The environments support engagement and creativity through a range, easily accessible, open ended play opportunities and resources. The children in the Foundation Stage at JESS explore, discover and investigate, and make choices about their learning by following their interests. This in turn supports critical thinking and builds Characteristics of Effective Learning in all children.

In the Foundation Stage our assessment is based on a holistic view of each child’s learning and development, allowing us to consider a child’s knowledge and skills as well as their emotional wellbeing and dispositions for learning. Young children’s learning does not allows follow a linear and predictable path, each child is unique and progresses on their own journey. Our assessment starts with the child, through our observations and interactions with each individual. This informs teaching and the provision we provide, ensuring the next steps support the emerging learning needs of all.


JESS Cares

Developing the whole child is at the core of what we do; not only developing academic abilities, but also personal, social and emotional skills.


We care passionately about each and every child and their wellbeing, both emotional and physical, is at the heart of everything we do. We understand that children learn best when they are happy, resilient and healthy.

Our priority is to provide a secure environment where we support and nurture each individual where every child feels safe. Kind and supportive relationships are key within the whole community.

We all face challenges from time to time and there may be occasions when a/your child needs additional emotional support. Class teachers, the Senior Leadership Team and the school counsellor are all on hand to help.


The school ranks the safeguarding of children in our care above all else. We have rigorous and effective policies and procedures in place to ensure that all children are kept safe and are looked after well.

In each campus there is a safeguarding team which consists of three designated Safeguarding Officers. In the interests of safety, the school is secure and all adults, be it a staff member, parent or visitor, must wear a JESS lanyard.



Our Learning Support Team

JESS is an inclusive school with a diverse cohort of students, all of whom have unique abilities and talents. In every class, we use differentiated learning opportunities to support and challenge our students. There may be points on your child’s learning journey when they would benefit from additional care and support from the Oasis (Inclusion and Learning Support) and/or Counselling team.

Our Care and Support Team consists of:

o Head of Inclusion

o Inclusion Support Teachers and Assistants

o School Counsellors

o 1:1 Learning Support Assistants (available at an additional cost)

o Access to supplementary support services such as Speech and Language Therapy / Occupational Therapy (available at an additional cost)

Oasis offers in class support, developmental and academic booster programs, and/or 1:1 support, as appropriate.

Counsellors offer parental guidance and support, as well as 1:1 and small group play based sessions.

We work in close partnership with parents to support initial identification of needs, personalised planning and progress monitoring.

For more details about our Care and Support provision please see our Inclusion Leaflet


Through our focus on the all round development of every child, we build in a wide range of learning opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom. Visitors to school and trips outside of school reinforces our curriculum and brings learning to life

Throughout the year, theme days and weeks, trips and visitors are planned into the curriculum from Foundation 1 to Year 6.

Years 3 to 6 have the opportunity to go on residential trips in the local area; experiences that help develop personal skills such as independence and collaboration, as well as making memories that will last a lifetime!

Extra-Curricular Activities

Extra curricular activities (ECAs) enable children to follow their interests and strengths beyond the classroom. Taking place both before and after school and run by either school staff or external providers, the ECA options are shared termly.

A wide range of clubs are offered; from musical to sporting, creative to pastoral These are available mainly for Years 3 6, with some options for Year 2

Student Leadership

As children move through the school, there are an increasing number of leadership opportunities which develop leadership, organisation and communication skills.

Children can apply for a leadership role, which is usually run on an annual basis. Leadership opportunities include:

• Head/Deputy Head Student

• Cultural Leaders

• House Captains

• Digital Leaders

• Pupil Executive Committee


In our drive to develop the whole child, JESS has developed its own bespoke challenge award the Make a Difference Award.

This differentiated, progressive programme runs from F2 to Y6 and focuses on developing important life skills and to make a difference to themselves, their community, and the world around them. Through strands such as independence, heritage, culture, and service, they can earn badges by completing a range of tasks.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle runs through everything we do, including the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. JESS is a nut free school.

To keep everyone safe and healthy, each campus has its own fully equipped Health Office. Staffed by registered school doctors and nurses, they are able to administer first /emergency aid, as well as supporting the school approach to healthy living.

Additional care before and after school is provided by an external company, supported by JESS staff. Options may vary slightly between the two campuses but include:

• Early Morning Club (Jumeirah Branch)

• Rainbow Club (JJ)/Camel Club (ARP) for Foundation 1 from the end of the F1 day until the rest of primary finish

• After School Club


JESS Community

We value the importance of collaborative relationships at the heart of our JESS school community and work in partnership with our parents to ensure our children have the best learning experiences.

The JESS Parents Group (JPG) is a group of parents who support us to build and maintain the school community. They organise events to bring the school community together and raise funds for the benefit of the school and our students.



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