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Where potential is nurtured and futures are inspired  

Education that goes beyond the curriculum


The Early Years Foundation Stage refers to provision in school for the preschool and Reception classes. We follow the EYFS Framework which explains how and what children will be learning from birth to 5 years old. This curriculum provides the foundations that children need in order to develop and make the most of their abilities as they grow. 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 fulfil 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.

Children will learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.

Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language (Listening, Attention and Understanding, Speaking)
  • Physical development (Gross motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills)
  • Personal, social and emotional development (Self Regulation, Managing Self, Building Relationships)
These prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning.

As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy (Comprehension, Word Reading, Writing)
  • Mathematics (Number, Numerical Patterns)
  • Understanding the world (Past and Present, People, Culture and Communities, The Natural World)
  • Expressive arts and design (Creating with Materials, Being Imaginative and Expressive)
All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like the curriculum in the rest of the school but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’s unique needs and interests.

In our EYFS Class, our learning primarily follows the interests of the children – stories and the interests of the children act as our main topic leads. We develop skeleton topic plans throughout the year. We use this topic plan as and when it is appropriate to the current cohort (for example, at the start of the year/term). This topic plan is devised with several key elements in mind: seasonality, events that are significant to the children personally, culturally and globally as well as making the most of the local area and opportunities arising within it.
Mathematics in the EYFS

In the EYFS, we use whole class direct teaching of Maths as well as Continuous Provision linked activities each day. Number is the key priority, with an emphasis on Place Value and Counting.

EYFS Maths follows the same mastery approaches the rest of the school have: Practical, Pictorial, Abstract (this supports varied fluency) as well as promoting problem-solving and reasoning.

Research has been carried out into the 6 main areas that collectively underpin children’s early mathematical learning, and which provide the firm foundations for the Maths that children will encounter as they go up the years in primary school:

  • Cardinality and Counting
  • Comparison
  • Composition
  • Pattern
  • Shape and Space
  • Measures
Time is dedicated to learning a number deeply over 2 weeks up to the number 10. This will heavily support the first 4 main areas for developing children’s early Mathematics.
Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning in the EYFS

The emphasis on how children learn has huge potential to transform early years practice and empower children as confident, creative lifelong learners. Research demonstrates these characteristics can be supported or hampered by the experiences children encounter. In the best EYFS provision, children are encouraged to follow their interests, make independent choices about their learning and are supported to develop their thinking skills through skilful adult interactions.

The characteristics are interconnected but each has distinct features. The characteristics are:
Laying the Foundations of Future Learning at Cardinham School

We understand the importance for the learning within the EYFS to take into consideration the interests and needs of the children. However, we also strongly believe that it is important to ‘lay the foundations’ of future learning within the wider Curriculum at Cardinham so we have carefully considered learning points throughout the year. These cohesive, sequenced ‘laying the foundations’ plans (see below) go hand in hand with the interests of pupils to create a topic plan – an example can be seen below.