Early Years Foundation Stage
Nursery and Reception Curriculum
Nursery and Reception classes are known as the Early Years. We follow the national Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. The EYFS is the statutory curriculum for children until they are 5 years old and in Year 1.
The EYFS is a very important stage in a child’s life, as it helps prepare them for school ‘readiness’, as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. Children’s early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfill their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances.
The EYFS framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. The classroom environment creates an enthusiasm for knowledge and learning and develops children’s confidence in their ability to be successful learners, as well as developing their capacity to concentrate on their own play. It is at this stage children need to develop the Characteristics of Effective Learning so they can maximise their learning potential in school.
The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development as well as for safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare.
Children learn by exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors and making discoveries about the world through play. That is by "doing" rather than being told. The Early Years classrooms are set up in a way to make this possible, and at the same time begin to give the children an early experience of the National Curriculum to prepare them for Year 1 onwards. It is very important that children develop social skills, such as turn-taking, sharing and independence, which help them greatly in the next stages of their learning. The guiding principles that shape our practice in the Early Years are that children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and within enabling environments.
We are a united team, with play-based child centred learning at the heart of our practice. We aim to communicate and work cooperatively with parents and carers to support our children’s development.
Our partnership with parents means that parents have the opportunity to work closely with our Early Years practitioners to support their child’s transition into the setting. We want parents to feel secure in the knowledge that their child is well cared for and happy at school.
Our parents are welcome to be actively involved in their children’s learning in school and are able to share learning experiences through learning journeys, entry point days and parent workshops. We recognise that parents are the first educators in children’s lives and value their contributions to judgements about their child’s development. We use this information to support our assessments and share information about what children need to do next to develop and thrive. Assessments made about each child are made across all areas of learning. Our assessments are recorded and tracked using EExAT.
Children work and play independently, with a strong emphasis on choice and being able to sustain concentration, as well as joining a variety of adult-led activities.
Phonics teaching and learning is a key part of the Foundation Stage and helps to develop early reading and writing skills. The EYFS curriculum is delivered through cross-curricular topics, such as ‘Colours’, ‘Houses and Homes’ etc. If you visit a Nursery or a Reception class, you would see a range of activities taking place such as role-play, practical games, painting, cutting and sticking, reading in the book corner as well as a variety of adult-led activities. You would also see the outdoor classroom in operation, with equipment such as bikes, balls, blocks, sand and water.
The Prime areas of development are considered to the most important and necessary for learning in the other areas to progress well. These are Communication and Language, Physical development and Personal and Social development.
The Specific areas fall more easily into curriculum learning and are made up of literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Children needs to master skills in all these areas before moving onto the National Curriculum at the start of Year. Each area is developmental from birth to 5 years and progresses from Nursery across Reception.
Communication and Language
The classroom environment provides and stimulates children with rich language experiences, providing opportunities for children to talk and communicate in a wide range of situations, practising and extending their vocabulary and communication skills, building on the language that they bring to school.
The classroom environment provides all children with the opportunities to develop and practice their fine and gross motor skills and to increase their understanding of how their bodies work and what they need to do to be healthy and safe.
Personal Social and Emotional
The classroom environment supports the environment, promoting an inclusive ethos and providing opportunities for each child to become a valued member of the community, giving a strong self-image and self-esteem. It also provides opportunities that enable children to learn how to co-operate and work harmoniously with each other, whilst giving them time to be themselves.
The classroom environment communicates the message that writing is a normal, everyday activity to convey meaning and also something that all children are able to take part in. This encourages children to begin mark making and emergent writing, building towards emergent reading and recognising that print is used to carry meaning. They will learn about, and use words and text in a broad range of contexts. The Early Years environment also provides an atmosphere of sharing, in particular with books, stories and songs. This sharing environment also encourages children to develop the confidence to pick up a rich variety of books independently and share them with all the members of the class.
The Early Years classroom environment encourages the development of mathematical language and the fundamental concepts involved within it, developing their understanding of number, measurement, pattern, shape and space providing a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practice and talk about them.
Understanding of the World
The classroom environment provides a practical atmosphere to encourage children to investigate systematically in order to learn more about themselves and the everyday things significant in their lives, including people and technology with opportunities for problem solving, making decisions, experimenting, predicting, planning and questioning in a broad range of contexts.
Expressive Arts and Design
The classroom environment encourages the creative expression of the children's ideas, thoughts and feelings through music, art design and technology, dance, imaginative and role play activities enabling children to understand and appreciate both themselves and others.
The classroom environment encourages practices that will give all children equal opportunities at school, and seeks to remove discrimination against people on the basis of gender, race, class, culture, religion, age or disability, or ability.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is the statutory curriculum for children until they are 5 years old and enter Year 1.
The Prime Areas of development are considered to be the most important, and necessary for learning in the other areas to progress well. These are Communication and Language, Physical development and Personal and Social development.
The Specific areas fall more easily into curriculum learning and are made up of Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Children need to master skills in all of these areas before moving on to the National Curriculum at the start of Year 1. Each area is developmental from birth to 5 years.
By the end of Reception, on entry to Year 1, all children should be able to do the following:
Prime Areas of Learning
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to speak and listen in a range of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves.
ELG 01 Listening and attention: Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events, and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.
ELG 02 Understanding: Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.
ELG 03 Speaking: Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, and to develop their coordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
ELG 04 Moving and handling: Children show good control and coordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
ELG 05 Health and self-care: Children know the importance for good health of physical exercise and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
ELG 06 Self-confidence and self-awareness: Children are confident to try new activities, and to say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.
ELG 07 Managing feelings and behaviour: Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.
ELG 08 Making relationships: Children play cooperatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.
Specific Areas of Learning
ELG 09 Reading: Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate an understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
ELG 10 Writing: Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
Mathematics development involves providing children with opportunities to practice and improve their skills in counting numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
ELG 11 Numbers: Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
ELG 12 Shape, space and measures: Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.
Understanding of the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
ELG 13 People and communities: Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
ELG 14 The world: Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one to another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
ELG 15 Technology: Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.
Expressive arts and design involves supporting children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play, and design and technology.
ELG 16 Exploring and using media and materials: Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
ELG 17 Being imaginative: Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.
Nursery Long-term Plan (to upload when ready)
Reception Long-term Plan (to upload when ready)
Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and teachers to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves practitioners observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and to then shape learning experiences for each child reflecting those observations. In their interactions with children, practitioners should respond to their own day-to-day observations about children’s progress, and observations that parents and carers share.
Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals (above). We use the Early Excellence assessment package (EExAT) to track learning and progress and this will tell us whether children are working towards, on track or above expectation.
At the end of Reception practitioners will indicate whether children are meeting expected levels of development (ELG):
- Emerging, not yet reaching the expected levels of development for age
- Expected (ELG)
- Exceeding, above expected levels of development for age
Year 1 teachers will have access to the Profile report together with a short commentary on each child’s skills and abilities in relation to the three key characteristics of effective learning. These will inform transition meetings between Reception and Year 1 teachers about each child’s stage of development and learning needs and assist with the planning of activities at the start of Year 1.
We recommend the following websites for supporting your child at home:
Reading and Phonics
www.youtube.com (Mr Thorne does Phonics)
www.youtube.com (very good for number songs, rhymes etc.)
Youtube is very good for songs, rhymes, short programmes etc. linked to all areas of early learning e.g. colours, numbers, phonics etc. Please make sure however, that all use of websites and Internet access is monitored directly by an adult to ensure safety. The Internet (iPad) should NOT be the only form of learning for your child and should not exceed 1 hour per day.