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Early Years Foundation Stage - EYFS

EYFS Curriculum Statement


Our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is designed to meet the individual needs of every child. We want every child to reach their potential regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances.

Curriculum Goals

Our curriculum goals outline what we want for every child who attends our Nursery and Reception.

Reception Children


Our practice is underpinned by the principles that:


  • Every child is unique and is constantly learning to navigate their way in the world.

  • Every child has the capacity to be confident, brave and resilient.

  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships

  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults who respond to their individual interests and needs.

  • Children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates.


The EYFS curriculum consists of seven areas of Learning and Development.


Three Prime Areas

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

Four Specific Area

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding of the World (UTW)

  • Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)


We place heavy focus on the prime areas, ensuring children learn to communicate effectively and build foundations essential for future learning. Building on what children know and can do, we introduce phonics and maths skills and knowledge in a sequenced and systematic way, to develop confident readers and mathematicians. Within the area of UTW, children will begin developing the knowledge and skills that they will then build upon in the National Curriculum subjects of Science, History, Geography, Computing and RE in Key Stages 1 and 2. Through EAD children will begin to explore early concepts and skills that will support future learning in Design and Technology, Music and Art & Design.

Personal development, including the promotion of British Values is at the heart of our curriculum. Children develop their own character and are provided with opportunities to build resilience, independence, confidence and responsibility, whilst learning strategies to support positive physical and mental health.


Within the Early Years Framework, there are three characteristics of effective teaching and learning which detail the ways that children should be learning from their environment, experiences and activities.


These characteristics are split into three main areas:

  • ‘Playing and Exploring’ – children investigate and experience things, and are encouraged to ‘have a go’.

  • ‘Active Learning’ – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and benefit from a real sense of achievement when they succeed.

  • ‘Creating and Thinking Critically’ – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Children should be displaying the characteristics of effective learning every day and in order to make this possible, children are given plenty of time in which to lead their own learning through play and exploration. During these periods, children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment supported by skilled staff, enabling them to benefit from the most meaningful learning opportunities. We regularly collect information from home about children’s interests and achievements and ensure our learning environment and planned activities reflect this.

The environment plays a crucial role in a child’s development. If the environment is right, it will inspire, motivate and support learning, create high levels of involvement and provide challenge in the absence of an adult. Within the Foundation Stage Unit we have three classrooms, one covered outdoor space, an environment garden and a large grassed space. Learning spaces, both indoors and outdoors, are carefully designed and a variety of high quality, open-ended resources are made accessible to the children, so that they can make thoughtful decisions when playing and exploring. Resources are chosen to meet the children’s needs and promote learning. Resources are not restricted and children are encouraged to find new ways to use or combine them. Throughout the environment there are many opportunities for the children to take risks within their play, supporting them to be active and develop physically.

At Stoke Fleming we follow a charted curriculum which builds on previous learning and a progression of skills throughout a child’s time in the Foundation Stage Unit enabling them to explore, dream and discover the world around them. This is created through a balance of teacher-led, teacher-directed, child-led and child-initiated activities. We value play and use the expertise of our staff to ensure that a majority of learning is delivered in a play-based way.

At the start of each topic, children are introduced with a hook to spark their interest, then their input, ideas and questions are used to create a unique learning journey. In order to respond quickly and effectively to children’s curiosities and needs, the teaching cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis. Adults’ observations of children at play lead to identification of teaching moments which are acted on immediately, when they will have the biggest impact on the child’s development. The role of the adult is to take the teaching to the child, supporting or extending their learning. This teaching takes many forms, including communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.


At each stage of the Foundation Stage Unit, adults lead group sessions a number of times throughout the day, in order to introduce or teach key concepts, knowledge or skills. Sessions are planned in advance but are very flexible depending on children’s progress, interests, understanding and any misconceptions that arise. These sessions also give children the opportunity to learn how to participate in group discussions, listening and speaking at appropriate times. Phonics is taught daily by trained staff, using Read Write Inc., a systematic, synthetic phonics programme. In Nursery, Phase 1 phonics is taught following a DFE accredited scheme which ensures early listening and attention skills, phonological awareness are secure before moving children on to RWI Nursery sessions in the Summer Term before they start in Reception. 


During whole-class story time, staff read a range of high-quality texts in engaging and exciting ways, whilst also introducing new ideas, concepts and vocabulary. Maths sessions teach numbers and early maths concepts in a clear and sequenced way, allowing children sufficient opportunities to practise using and understanding numbers. 

Personal Development

Throughout all teaching and learning, staff promote children’s emotional development and help them develop their own character. High quality texts and our ‘Talking Time’ approach support children to understand and use the language of feelings, encouraging them to self-regulate. We teach and model kindness towards self and others at all opportunities and use techniques such as mindfulness to maintain balance and positive wellbeing. 


Records of Learning

We record teaching and learning using both Tapestry (a secure online platform) and paper journals. We prioritise positive interactions with adults, over evidence collecting, so the majority of evidence of progress and learning comes from the adults’ knowledge and understanding of the individual. ‘Wow’ moments are added to journals as significant or new learning occurs. Each child has their own journal which parents are able to access and contribute to. Parents are encouraged to provide information about their child’s current interests and any significant events taking place through Focus Child sheets, which feed into planning for learning opportunities that half term. Focus Child sheets are also an opportunity to share any questions or concerns regarding a child’s progress.



Through purposeful planning, high-quality interactions, formative and summative assessment, teachers will ensure:

  • Children are highly motivated and are eager to join in. They share and cooperate well, and demonstrate high levels of self-control and respect for others. They consistently keep on trying hard, particularly if they encounter difficulties.

  • Key knowledge and skills are consolidated before introducing new learning.

  • Assessment of pupils’ learning feeds into planning and adaptation of the curriculum.

  • Children are displaying the characteristics of effective teaching and learning.

  • Children are developing the knowledge and skills required to meet their endpoints both at the end of Nursery and Reception (Early Learning Goals).

  • Children are able to use knowledge of phonics to read accurately with increasing speed and fluency.

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