The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) covers the period from birth to five and the final year of the EYFS is the reception year of school. Four guiding principles shape practice in early years. These are:

  • every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

  • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

  • children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.

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

The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The EYFS states that effective learning is characterised by:

  • Playing and exploring

  • Active learning

  • Creating and thinking critically

We place a very strong focus on the three Prime Areas

  • Personal Social and Emotional Development

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

These are fundamental to children’s learning and development and 'open the door' to learning in the Specific Areas of Learning and Development:

· Literacy

· Mathematics

· Understanding the world

· Expressive Arts and Design

OUR CURRICULUM: The EYFS is not a curriculum in itself but does set out the statutory requirements and provides guidance on good early years practice. We love this definition of curriculum:

"The term curriculum is used to describe everything children do, see, hear or feel in their setting, both planned and unplanned.” (DfES/QCA, 2000, p.1).

Our curriculum is based around the provision of 'REAL STUFF' and hands-on experiences such as Forest School, gardening, walks, cooking, sewing and woodwork as well as all the usual things you would expect to see in a pre-school (sand, water, paint, playdough, stories, songs and role play). We value 'processes' and provide opportunities for our children to see a process through from beginning to end, eg, planting seed, watering, tending, harvesting, collecting, cooking and collecting seed for next year. Our children mix the paints for the easel, make their own playdough and bake for birthdays. We are outdoors every day, whatever the weather as we firmly believe that all areas of the curriculum can be covered outdoors and that being outdoors encourages children to become independent, resilient and confident learners.

Using the outdoors provides young children with opportunities to:

· Move freely in a range of ways;

· Experience a range of surfaces and levels;

· Learn about and care for the environment;

· Follow and understand lifecycles and processes;

· Learn about and use natural materials;

· Work co-operatively;

· Learn about assessing and taking risks;

· Use real tools;

· Work creatively on a large scale;

· Develop their mathematical and problem-solving skills in real situations;

· Communicate with others in a relaxed environment;

· Experience different kinds of weather and how to dress appropriately;

· Develop a love of the outdoors and nature.


  • Children are born with a natural desire to explore and learn. We support the children to do this by creating an enabling environment (both physical and emotional) and through the relationships and interactions that the children experience.

  • We do not plan topics, and even events such as forest school and beach sessions are based around exploration and open-ended resources. We remain ‘in the moment’ with children as they explore and learn.

  • We observe carefully, and enhance the learning whenever we spot a ‘teachable moment’. We sometimes make written observations of the interactions and outcomes alongside the children or as soon as possible afterwards and include these as learning stories in children's Learning Journey files.

We value Ofsted's definition of teaching:

TEACHING should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do, as well as taking account of their interests and dispositions to learn (characteristics of effective learning), and how practitioners use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.

WORKSHOPS: The Pre-school Leader runs workshops for parents and carers about Early Literacy and Early Maths. The workshops are informal and relaxed and aim to provide information about the Pre-school’s approach to learning and how you can help your child at home.

MAKING LINKS WITH HOME: At some point your child may bring home the pre-school bear for a sleepover or our ‘Sharing Box’. This helps your child to make links between the pre-school and home and to share some of their home experiences with the other children at pre-school. Both the bear and the box help children to become confident speakers and to make them aware that we are all individual and may have different ways of living, playing, eating and caring.

If you would like to know more about children’s early learning and development, then you may find the Parents Area of the Foundation Years website very useful and interesting: