Early Years Foundation Stage

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Foundation Stage is the name given to the phase of learning from 0 to 5.  By the end of the Foundation Stage (the end of Reception) most children are expected to achieve the Early Learning Goals and where appropriate go beyond them.

St Mary’s EYFS Intent

At St Mary’s we believe that every pupil is unique, celebrating and welcoming diversity within our school community.  In our early year’s environment, we ensure all children have the opportunity to develop and learn in a safe and nurturing environment where play and learning is combined. Our curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced to provide motivating first hand experiences whilst encouraging children to build resilience, ambition and a lifelong love of learning. Through practical learning experiences, we strive to equip children with the confidence to explore, be curious and have a natural enthusiasm towards wanting to learn and find out more. We are committed to giving our pupils the best possible start to their school life, teaching them skills that ensure their wellbeing now and success in the future.

We aim to:

  • Establish a safe and secure environment that is nurturing, supportive, vibrant and creative. One that is full of interesting and challenging activities in which learning can take place.
  • Deliver a curriculum based on entitlement for all, that considers each child’s existing knowledge and experiences, and where the children can engage in first hand experiences.
  • Give children opportunities to practise, revise and extend knowledge and skills in a consistent and stable environment.
  • Enable children to develop characteristics of effective learning, which will enable them to become independent, resourceful and resilient learners now and throughout their education.
  • Provide a language rich environment which ensures children develop their vocabulary and understanding of language across the EYFS curriculum.
  • Work in partnership with parents and carers to encourage independent, resilient, confident and happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.

St Mary’s EYFS Implementation

Our curriculum follows the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage. This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provides the prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. We also use Development Matters to support the delivery of the curriculum.

The prime areas:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

The specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

A child’s individual learning characteristics determine the way they respond to both the teaching and learning taking place within the provision. The 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.

We believe strongly in the Seven Features of Effective Practice as referred to in the; Working with the revised Early Years Foundation Stage Principles into Practice by Julian Grenier)

  1. The best for EVERY child
  2. High-Quality care
  3. The Curriculum: What we want children to learn
  4. Pedagogy: helping children to learn
  5. Assessment: checking what children have learnt
  6. Self-regulation and executive function
  7. Partnership with parents

Seven features of effective practice

In our early years setting we value high quality interactions with the children. Adults in the classroom spend quality time getting to know the children, playing with and alongside them, modelling play if needed and giving the children experience of language rich conversations.

Through our knowledge of each child and formative assessments the EYFS team plan exciting and engaging activities that will move the children’s learning forward. This may involve following a class theme where we take advantage of cross curricular links in order to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may also include following individual children’s interests and making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised in a one to one way with teacher and child. Each year creates its own unique blend of whole class, guided, adult directed play and child-initiated play activities dependent on the nature and needs of the class of individuals.

A vital aspect in the development of essential knowledge and skills is the use of continuous provision. This gives the children an opportunity to develop taught skills throughout the year on a daily basis. Continuous provision practise and principles begin in EYFS and support children to develop key life skills such as independence, innovation, creativity, enquiry, analysis and problem solving. During the school day, children will have an opportunity to work independently, work collaboratively with their friends and with members of staff. Play is highly valued in the development of children’s personal, social and emotional skills. It underpins all aspects of children’s learning. Children have opportunities to explore, rehearse and practice skills through child initiated and child led play. Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and in our outdoor area. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions and the children’s learning is enriched at Forest School.

Reading, writing and mathematics are given direct teaching time each day. Teachers plan for a balance of direct whole-class teaching, small-group teaching, partner work and child initiated/led and adult led play to deliver the other areas of the EYFS curriculum.


  • We focus on reading in nursery and reception by: listening to stories, poems and rhymes we believe, inspire children’s imagination, develop their language, vocabulary and comprehension.
  • We read to the children several times a day, encouraging a passion for reading. The children can access books throughout the day through the continuous provision and we put great value on reading for pleasure.
  • We take a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics and reading through the use of Read Write Inc
  • Phonics is taught as a whole class and interventions are put in place for children who need extra support, over learning or revisiting of certain sounds.


  • Children are given opportunities and appropriate resources to write through ‘play’ in all areas in both the indoor and outdoor
  • Writing is taught through daily direct teaching and is often based on a book they are covering for their topic and also incorporates sounds they have learnt during Read Write
  • Writing follows the school’s process of teacher modelling, orally rehearsing and
  • We have consistent high expectations of handwriting and presentation across all areas of learning. Our children take pride in their learning and recognise the need to write carefully and clearly so that it can be celebrated by everyone


  • In reception mathematics is taught daily through the engagement and delivery in the Mastering Number project – NCETM. The project aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children. It aims to develop children’s fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number so that reception children are Year 1 ready and leave KS1 with these skills.
  • In Nursery mathematics learning is supported through topic themed adult led activities and through child initiated play.
  • The understanding of mathematics begins with activities supported with relevant manipulatives. Children’s knowledge of number and the meaning of number is developed and secure before introducing more formal, written
  • Children are given time to practice and embed core mathematical concepts before moving

EYFS Planning

Throughout the year, our teachers plan an exciting, hands on curriculum for the children in Early Years. Across the year each class focusses on 6 topics, 1 topic per half term. These topics are carefully planned so that the children are receiving well sequenced, high quality lessons that build on prior knowledge and show clear progression throughout the year.

St Mary’s EYFS CL Progression of knowledge and skills

St Mary’s EYFS EAD Progression of knowledge and skills

St Mary’s EYFS Literacy Progression of knowledge and skills

St Mary’s EYFS Mathematics Progression of knowledge and skills

St Mary’s EYFS PD Progression of knowledge and skills

St Mary’s EYFS PSED Progression of knowledge and skills

St Mary’s EYFS UW Progression of knowledge and skills

Each half term our topic plan is posted on our class pages. These documents take the contexts for learning and develop them, showing what children are learning in all areas of the curriculum. Topic plans for Nursery and Reception are linked below.

Nursery – Nursery rhymes Topic Plan

Nursery – All About Me Topic Plan

Nursery – All Aboard – Transport Topic Plan

Nursery – Down On The Farm Topic Plan


Reception – Families Around The World Topic Plan

Reception – Once Upon a Time Topic Plan

Reception – Food Glorious Food Topic Plan

Reception – Let’s Play Topic Plan

Reception – Into the woods

Reception – People who help us

Early Learning Goals

The Early Learning Goals establish expectations for most children to reach by the end of the Foundation Stage.  They are not age but developmentally related as we fully realise children at this stage can develop at an uneven rate within different areas.

At the end of the reception year we use these goals to assess your child’s level of development. If they are confident and secure within these goals they are assessed as expected. If they are working towards these goals they are emerging. These assessments are based on what the child can do independently.

Early Learning Goals

EYFS Impact

The impact of our EYFS curriculum is reflected in having happy, confident and motivated children transitioning into Year 1. During their time in EYFS the children become independent, resilient, enthusiastic learners ready to take on the new challenges of school and life. Their individuality is valued and the unique child has every opportunity to achieve, based upon their own personal strengths, interest and core values whilst learning in EYFS, and in the future.

From different starting points, children progressing from their first year in Nursery to transitioning into Year 1 will make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically. Knowledge, understanding and skills will be promoted and eventually mastered to ensure children are ready and fully prepared to begin learning the National Curriculum programme of study in Year 1.

St Mary’s Early Year’s children will;

  • Be confident in communicating their ideas and
  • They will be able to talk fluently as well as listen respectively and with tolerance to the views of
  • Take pride in all that they do themselves, others and their They will always strive for the very best.
  • Demonstrate the ability to persevere when they encounter challenge whilst managing risks.
  • Develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own
  • Be kind, respectful and honest, demonstrating inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in wider society.