Early Years Foundation Stage

Welcome to the Foundation Stage

At Highfield Primary School, the Foundation Stage includes two part-time Nursery classes and three Reception classes where the children are aged between three to five years old.

‘Due to the excellent leadership and management of the early years, the Nursery and Reception classes are a hive of activity focused on fun and learning. The youngest pupils have an excellent start to their school life.’ Ofsted 2016

All children learn together through a broad and balanced curriculum of creatively planned lessons and child initiated opportunities in a well-resourced and exciting environment.

‘Staff make the learning environments enticing and plan challenging activities to stretch and interest all the pupils, whatever their levels of learning. The outside learning environment is used to promote literacy and numeracy skills through a whole range of play and formal activities.’ Ofsted 2016

The Early Years Curriculum at Highfield Primary School

Child Development and Learning

In the Early Years at Highfield the children are very much at the heart of all learning. We respect that parents and carers are first to take their children on their journey of learning. We very much value their opinion and input so together we can help their children flourish.

We see growth, learning and development as key to child’s first experiences at Highfield. We plan and provide a challenging and supportive curriculum within a safe and encouraging environment. This is based on our own and parents’ observations of their child’s individual interests, schemas and developmental needs.

‘Staff are able to assess pupils’ needs skilfully and accurately. High-quality plans support what pupils should do next. The immaculate learning journals have a range of information about each individual child’s development which is regularly shared with parents.’ Ofsted 2016

The EYFS staff strive to extend children’s thinking and language through valuable and appropriate activities and opportunities and fully embrace the diversity within our school.

‘Pupils whose first language is not English are well supported, with adults intervening to help them spell and speak with confidence and fluency.’ Ofsted 2016

Principles of Early Years Education

To ensure that all children learn and develop well and kept safe and healthy, we follow the Revised Statutory Framework for the ‘Early Years’ (DfES 2012), which is the statutory framework that sets the standards that all Early Years providers must meet. There are four main themes of the EYFS. These underpin all the guidance we follow.


At Highfield, we support children’s learning and development by fostering, promoting and developing characteristics of learning and providing for the Prime and Specific areas of learning which make up the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum.

How do we assess learning in the EYFS?

Both Nursery and Reception are scored in age month bands..

On entry into Nursery pupils are expected to be at the beginning of 30-50 months of development then progress towards beginning 40-60 months in the summer term of development.

On entry into Reception pupils are expected to be at the beginning of 40-60 months of development and a baseline assessment is carried out to determine an accurate level. The expectation is that they achieve the Early Learning Goals (ELG) for each of the seven areas by the end of the Reception year. On entry to year 1 the National Curriculum will commence.

Characteristics of Learning

‘The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.’ DFES 2012

Playing and exploring

This includes supporting children to develop the skills and attitudes

  • to engage with their learning
  • to be curious and explore and experiment
  • to use objects in their play in a variety of ways to represent things
  • to be confident enough to initiate activities, seek challenges and take risks

Active learning

This includes supporting children to develop the skills and attitudes

  • to be motivated by their learning
  • to be highly involved in their learning and concentrate
  • to persist with their learning
  • to enjoy achievements they have made.

Creating and Critical thinking

This includes supporting children to develop the skills and attitudes

  • to develop their thinking as they learn and be able to talk their thinking through
  • to develop their own ideas and solve problems
  • to make links in their learning
  • to make predictions.
  • to explore cause and effect
  • to be flexible and adapt their strategies when solving a problem

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is divided into Prime Areas and Specific Areas.

Prime Areas

The prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Making relationships
  • Self-confidence
  • self-awareness Managing feelings and behaviour

This aspect of the curriculum is encouraged by enabling smooth transition between home and school through our successful settling in period. Building positive relationships where together we can encourage children to achieve more. We strive to do this by having weekly focus meetings where parents and carers shall in turn be invited for a meeting to discuss their child’s progress.

‘The school makes significant efforts to smooth pupils’ way into school, including home visits, parents’ days and frequent formal and informal communication with parents.’ Ofsted 2016

We aim to give all children the best start to education at Highfield Primary so they have a positive attitude towards learning and see themselves as successful learners.

We also believe that learning to co-operate and work harmoniously alongside others is highly important and we encourage children to develop life long skills through valuable opportunities.

‘From an early age, behaviour is excellent. Pupils work together calmly and in a very friendly manner. Their levels of concentration are far beyond those normally seen for children of this age’. Ofsted 2016

Language and Communication

  • Listening and attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

We provide a wide range of opportunities for children to talk and communicate in real and enriching situations. They learn to listen and  respond to adults and to each other, to practise and extend their range of vocabulary and communication skills. Children communicate through a variety of fun games and activities to promote the use of their Phase 2, 3 and 4 phonics skills. These include games to enable children to learn letter sounds and names and how to blend and segment them to read and write. They will also learn ‘tricky words’ (words which do not follow the normal phonetic rules) and will be able to read them as a whole word.

‘The teaching of phonics is one of many strengths. Teaching assistants are knowledgeable and well managed. Inspectors observed pupils making sentences and responding with clarity to adults’ questions. The rates of progress through the early years are rapid from very low starting points.’ Ofsted 2016

Physical Development

  • Moving and handling
  • Health and self-care

Children develop and practise their gross and fine body movements through a variety of engaging and challenging activities. Children engage with a range of experiences to develop their fine motor skills through malleable and mark making materials such as playdough, large paintbrushes, playground chalk, scissor control and messy play e.g gloop and foam etc. Experiences through Nursery and Reception also help children to increase their understanding of how their bodies work and what we can do to be healthy and safe.

Specific Areas

The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning.


  • Reading
  • Writing

In Nursery and Reception, we help children develop a love of books and to explore and enjoy a range of texts. Children will have a reading book which they read with adults and take home to share with their parents and carers. We also have daily story/ singing time where we share stories and sing rhymes and songs.

At Highfield, we follow the Letters and Sound programme to support daily teaching of phonics.

We encourage children to start recognising sounds and then blending simple words to begin reading. This will develop further as the year progresses where children can read sentences and understand the text. Information on the sounds and words your child is learning will be shared so you can support your child at home.

For children to develop as writers, we begin with mark making as part of their play. Adults role model the writing process and support children to give meaning to their marks. As the year progresses children will begin to use the phonics they have learnt in their writing to segment and spell. Allowing children to be independent writers who can form letters and write simple sentences.


  • Numbers
  • Shape, space and measure

The EYFS environment is rich with opportunities for children to independently build their understanding of number, measurement, pattern, shape and space. In addition to these experiences, the children will have a daily maths lesson to enable them to further explore mathematical concepts through real and exciting opportunities.

Understanding of the World

  • People and communities
  • The world
  • Technology

Children explore and find out about their environment, including the people and places that are important to them through a range of enticing opportunities. The children are engaged in solving problems, making decisions, experimenting, predicting, planning and questioning in a variety of situations.

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Exploring and using media and materials
  • Being imaginative

Children express their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities, which allow them to explore art, design and technology, music, movement, dance and imaginative role play.

‘By the time pupils leave Reception, they are more than ready for the key stage 1 curriculum, with levels of development often higher than those seen nationally.’ Ofsted 2016

Curriculum Implementation

In the EYFS, we also plan to cater for children’s interests throughout all seven areas where children are able to have some choice over their play and learning.