The Early Years Foundation Stage

Young children learn from everything around them-the people, the environment the atmosphere, the routine, the experiences and all of these elements in Foundation One make up the curriculum.

The most successful ways in which children learn and develop are through playing and exploring, learning actively and creating and thinking critically. These are called the “characteristics of effective learning”
All the activities that are planned in Foundation One are based on the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). There are 7 areas of learning within the EYFS, 3 Prime areas and 4 Specific areas (see below). The different aspects of children’s growth and development are woven together, but it is interesting to look at the areas of learning separately to understand how children learn.

Prime Areas

Communication and Language

Through communication and language children are given opportunities to talk and respond to adults and each other in a rich language environment.

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Children will explore, enjoy, learn about and use words in a broad range of contexts and experience a rich variety of opportunities to develop confidence and skills in expressing themselves. The children develop their listening skills through the use of stories, songs, tapes, circle times, Philosophy for Children (P4C) and in role play. This will help them to practise and extend the range of vocabulary and communication skills they use, and help them learn to listen carefully. Words and books are accessible in all learning areas set up indoors and outdoors with adults intervening to model the use of appropriate vocabulary, to listen to children’s talk and to encourage further discussions and enrich conversations.

Physical Development

In both the indoor and outdoor environments the children are encouraged to develop their gross and fine motor skills through opportunities to be active and interactive.

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The use of wheeled vehicles, small PE equipment used for games, construction bricks, large scale art projects and access to gardens, sand and water play, to name but a few activities, all support children in developing their co-ordination, control and movement. Children are encouraged to understand the importance of physical activity and what they need to do to be healthy and safe. Their free access to snacks of fruit and regular cooking opportunities enable children to begin to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Through a wide and varied selection of activities, such as circle time, show and tell, stories, sharing home life through learning journeys and role play, all children are given opportunities to discuss their families, friends, ideas and feelings.

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It is important that each child feels valued so that a strong self-image and self-esteem are promoted. The group, paired and individual support given to children, if necessary, helps them to form positive relationships and to develop respect for each other. Children learn to play co-operatively. High expectations of acceptable behaviour are continually addressed with the children. Social skills and learning to manage their feelings, in the context of the activities provided, supports children at all times. Positive praise is used to emphasise children’s abilities to develop their confidence and self-worth.

Specific Areas


Children have daily phonics teaching following the Lesley Clarke’s Letters and Sounds programme, when they are encouraged to link sounds and letters and begin to read and write.

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In Phonics, the children are grouped according to the phase relevant to their stage of development and understanding to address the different levels of ability and to enable the pace to allow for consolidation and challenge. Phonics supports our Reading with the use of a phonics based reading scheme, games, interactive whiteboard activities and, when the children experience group reading, individual reading, class stories, library sessions and story sacks. The children are given access to a wide range of reading materials in the form of books, poems, leaflets, comics, computer activities and the use of electronic Story-phones. Children are encouraged to develop their Writing skills with daily access to a range of activities to develop their fine motor skills as well as pencil control and letter formation.


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The children have many activities available in the indoor and outdoor areas which help them learn, support, enjoy, explore and challenge their mathematical understanding. The environments aim to be ‘number rich’ so that children appreciate that numbers are all around them and they can make mathematical links in cross curricular learning e.g. tallying football scores, reading prices when shopping, weighing in cookery, seeing what time the café opens etc.

Understanding the World

This involves children making sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

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This area incorporates science, geography, history, religious education and ICT. Children have access to computers in classrooms and in the computer suite, interactive whiteboards and a variety of ICT equipment, Bee-Bots, walkie-talkies, digital cameras and much more.

Expressive Arts and Design

Children are given opportunities to explore, play with and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of art, design and technology, music, movement, dance and role play.

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The learning environments are very well resourced to provide opportunities and encouragement for collaborative and imaginative play to develop children’s creativity.

For more information about the EYFS, please click on the link below: