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Early Years Foundation Stage

Our Early Years Foundation Stage Unit

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Watch this video to see all of the wonderful hands on learning experiences which take place in our Early Years Foundation Stage Unit every day!

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

The EYFS is a vital stage in a child’s education. It is a time when children develop learning attitudes, skills, social integration and personal organisation that prepare them for their future education. It is in fact, their foundation to life.


Play and practical activities are a central part of learning. Children are given opportunities for exploration, enjoyment and challenge through a range of self-initiated activities, adult led activities and structured play.


At Burradon Community Primary School, we believe it is important to provide an education within the EYFS that aims to meet the individual needs of every child. Children are made to feel safe and secure and are valued as individuals. Fostering independence and positive attitudes to learning, in order that children achieve their full potential is paramount in a fun and enjoyable environment.


The EYFS Curriculum is organised into seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes. All areas of learning and development are important and interconnected. In the statutory framework, three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.


These three areas are referred to as the ‘prime’ areas:

· Communication and Language (C&L)

· Physical Development (PD)

· Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)


We must also support children in four ‘specific’ areas, through which the three ‘prime’ areas are strengthened and applied. The specific’ areas are:

· Literacy (L)

· Mathematics (M)

· Understanding the World (UW)

· Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)


Communication and Language (C&L):

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back and forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively. Reading frequently to children and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.


Physical Development (PD):

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, coordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination which is linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED):

Children’s personal, social and emotional development is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotion, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children, they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.


Literacy (L):

It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. it only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).


Mathematics (M):

Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns with those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding – such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting – children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of maths is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for pattern and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.


Understanding the World (UW):

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and fire fighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.


Expressive Arts and Design (EAD):

The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.


Within Burradon EYFS, the curriculum is designed to provide a range of learning with language development being central to the experiences provided. The careful sequencing of experiences and learning enables children to build upon their learning over time. Play is an essential part of the early years curriculum, and is reflected through opportunities for children to:


  • take part in child-led activities, freely enjoying play experiences
  • take part in adult led activities whereby play is supported and extended by adults
  • take part in focused learning whereby play is guided towards specific outcomes


Practitioners working with the youngest children will focus heavily on the three prime areas which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capabilities all children need to develop and learn effectively. As children grow in confidence and ability the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning.


Practitioners must also reflect on the different ways children learn. Three  characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:


  • Playing and exploring– children investigate and experience things

and ‘have a go’.

  • Active learning– children concentrate and keep on trying if they

encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements.

  • Creating and thinking critically– children have and develop their own

ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.


Please contact the school directly if you require more information regarding our curriculum or if you would like a paper copy of any information on this page.  

Curriculum Matrix 2021-2022

Curriculum Matrix 2020-2021

Early Years Foundation Stage Policy

Childcare Choices