Early Years Foundation Stage

Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), the first steps of your child’s learning journey at Clarendon Road Primary School.

We believe that every child deserves the best possible start in their education and that through parental and teacher support, they can fulfil their potential. Nursery and Reception (EYFS) provide the foundations to enable your child to become an independent and self-motivated learner throughout their whole school life.

The EYFS follows a unique curriculum that enables every child to have the best possible start in life.

At Clarendon, we recognise that children develop from different starting points and that they progress and work at different stages to one another. We believe that our curriculum celebrates this.

Our Curriculum

Children generally develop quickly in EYFS and we aim to capture their eagerness to learn in all areas of the curriculum.

We follow the ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ 2017 and use the Development Matters Framework to support our planning and assessment on a regular basis.

This allows all staff in the department to know the stages which individual children are working at and to use assessment to facilitate and move learning on quickly.

The EYFS curriculum is comprised of seven areas for learning and development:

The 7 areas of learning in the EYFS

All the areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. For building their capacity to learn, to form relationships and to thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • Communication and language development involve giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
  • Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

We also provide support for children in the four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are:

  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write using the Letters and Sounds programme. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding, and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Achievement of these prime and specific areas of learning are reached by putting the Characteristics of Effective Learning at the heart of everything we do at Clarendon. This ensures all children are exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum; that they become self-motivated learners who embrace challenge and are inspired to learn; and they can fulfil their potential and develop the skills necessary for success.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

Playing and exploring – engagement: finding out and exploring, playing with what the children know, being willing to ‘have a go’.

Active learning – motivation: being involved and concentrating, perseverance, enjoying achieving what they set out to do.

Creating and thinking critically – thinking: having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.

How do the children learn?

We know that children learn best when they are given practical and first-hand experiences.

Providing high quality planned experiences for children’s play is an important way for adults to support children’s learning that is both enjoyable and challenging. When children play, they are learning at the highest level. Play can extend certain areas of their learning – for example, developing language skills by promoting talk between children or introducing new vocabulary that they use and act out in their play.

At Clarendon, the children have short teacher-led sessions each day such as phonics and maths, but the focus is on independently completing challenging activities in their play which match their individual requirements and help them achieve their next steps.

There is a seamless link between the indoor and outdoor learning environment which children access all day and in all weathers!

  • In the EYFS, children’s natural, exploratory drive develops through self-directed play.
  • Child initiated (self-initiated) activities are encouraged as they are decided on by the child itself and is the result of an intrinsic motivation to explore a project or express an idea.
  • The learning environment is organised so pupils can find and access resources for themselves. This promotes independence and responsibility.
  • A balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities forms the core of learning through indoor and outdoor play.
  • Outdoor learning is valued equally to that which happens indoors and has a positive impact on children’s well-being and development.

Parental Links

At Clarendon, we use an on-line learning journey called ‘Tapestry’ to capture each child’s learning and share some of the exciting experiences they have with us. Over time, it will tell a story about each child including their learning, their friends and the activities they enjoy sharing with others. The EYFS team observe each child to help them understand and support their individual well-being and development. Parents are given access to their child’s secure page.

At Clarendon, we believe our relationship with parents or carers is fundamental to our pupils’ learning and success. We nurture an environment of open communication and accessibility so that children can enjoy their Nursery and Reception years to the full.

Transition into Year 1

  • Before our pupils move from EYFS into Year 1, the teaching staff meet to discuss each individual child’s progress.
  • Staff discuss each pupil’s strengths and areas for development, special educational needs and any other information relevant to support the transition.
  • Year 1 teachers use this information as a basis for their planning.
  • The Year 1 curriculum builds on and extends the experiences children had in EYFS.