Early Years Curriculum

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum
Year R

Characteristics of effective learning

Part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is known as the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ (COEL) which focuses on how your child is learning, rather than what they are learning. The Characteristics of Effective Learning are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn.

These are divided into three areas:

Playing and Exploring Active Learning Creating and Thinking
Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to ‘have a go’

Being involved and concentrating.
Keeping on trying.
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do.
Having their own ideas
Making links
Choosing ways to do things

Areas of Learning

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is made up of seven all important and interconnected areas of learning.

The three prime areas of learning, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development are fundamental in giving children the necessary skills they need in order to succeed in their learning, to form relationships and thrive.

Prime Areas of learning

Personal, Social and Emotional Development ● Self-Regulation
● Managing Self
● Building Relationships
Communication and Language ● Listening and attention
● Speaking
Physical Development ● Gross Motor Skills
● Fine Motor Skills

Specific Areas of Learning

Literacy ● Comprehension
● Word Reading
● Writing
Mathematics ● Number
● Numerical Patterns
Understanding of the World

● Past and Present
● People, Culture and Communities
● The Natural World

Expressive Arts and Design ● Creating with Materials
● Being Imaginative and Expressive


None of these areas can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important and depend on each other. All areas are delivered through a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities. In each area there are Early Learning Goals (ELGs) that define the expectations for pupils to reach by the end of the EYFS.

During this first year in school we capture the natural enthusiasm and inquisitiveness of pupils to ensure that they develop an independence and interest in learning. This gives pupils the firm foundation required as they move on to the next key stages of the curriculum. They are encouraged to discover the excitement that can be found in learning new ideas and concepts. They are given the opportunity to develop the broader skills of independence in learning that will help them throughout their school career and beyond.


In Early Years phonics is taught through synthetic phonics, we follow a scheme called Phonics International.

By the end of the year pupils will be able to:

Reading ● Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.
● Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending.
● Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words
Writing ● Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.
● Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters.
● Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.

Daily Activities

Clever hands – Fine motor skills

Clever hands activities develop children’s fine motor skills, these are essential skills needed in order to write letters with control and fluency. During clever hands time children take part in hand strengthening exercises, for example, rolling, pinching and shaping playdoh or picking up small objects with tweezers. We will work on pencil control and holding a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing using a tripod grip.

Clever bodies – Gross motor skills

Throughout the year we support children to develop their core strength, shoulder stability, balance and co-ordination through gross motor skills activities. We do this through outdoor activities and weekly P.E sessions. Some of the activities we do are commando crawling, yoga and animal walks!

Independent learning time

This is the time when children are able to be in control of their own learning. They are able to follow their own lines of enquiry and explore independently. During this time children move freely around the learning environment both indoors and in the outdoor classroom. We encourage the children to see the outdoor area as another classroom and not just a play area. This is because valuable learning takes place outside and we believe it should have as equal importance as the indoor learning environment.

Although the children are free to play, explore and be in charge of their own learning, this is seen as a learning time and adults are in place to question, extend, challenge and support the children in their learning. Great care is also taken to ensure the activities are carefully planned to match the current learning needs of the children so that learning is consolidated and moved forward during independent learning time.

During this time, we use a ‘plan, do and review’ approach. At the beginning of each independent learning time session the children will be supported to plan out their learning, and at the end of the session children are supported to reflect on and talk about their learning. An emphasis is placed on the children talking about ‘how’ they have learnt during independent learning. Showing the children how they use the Characteristics of Effective Learning every day and highlighting for them how these skills are essential for them to grow as successful learners throughout their lives.


Children take part in maths activities daily which is delivered through a combination of whole class teaching and small group work. We take our time to teach numbers slowly ensuring that children have a deep understanding of each number, its value and its place within the number system. We also work on numerical patterns, comparing numbers and exploring and representing patterns in numbers for example, odd and even numbers. We draw on the expertise of a maths teaching programme called White Rose Maths. This forms the basis of our teaching material which we then plan and adapt to meet the individual needs of the children.


Children will take part in reading activities daily. These are a combination of whole class stories, small group work or one-to-one reading with an adult. We ensure that children are read aloud to every day and are able to participate in discussions about books. We take time to talk about story events, characters, story settings and make links between the books we read and the children’s personal experiences. We promote a positive attitude towards reading, sharing texts together and creating a sense of a reading community within the class.


All children have a short whole class daily phonics input followed by individual practise of the skills they have learnt. During each phonics session children practise the skills of reading and writing. Each week children are taught two new sounds.

Weekly Activities

Focus time

These are activities that are planned weekly by the teachers targeting specific skills across all areas of the curriculum, often closely linked to our topic learning. These may be focused on learning new information, skills that are new to your child, or skills that they need to practise. Your child will take part in focus activities several times a week.

Jigsaw – PSHE

Jigsaw supports children in learning about relationships and health, it is a spiral, progressive and fully planned scheme of work that is used throughout the school. It gives children relevant learning experiences to help them navigate their world and to develop positive relationships with themselves and others. It has a strong emphasis on emotional literacy, building resilience and nurturing mental and physical health. Jigsaw lessons also include mindfulness allowing children to advance their emotional awareness, concentration and focus.

Languages – French and Spanish

We follow the Little Languages programme by La Jolie Ronde. Through this programme the children are introduced to French and Spanish. It teaches the children through a range of play-based activities such as songs, rhymes and simple sorting activities. It introduces the children to different cultures and explores what life might be like for a child who lives in a different country. For example, what their classrooms might be like or the foods they might eat.

Charanga – Musical School

As a school we follow the Charanga music programme. This programme introduces children to a wide range of musical skills and introduces them to music from a range of styles and backgrounds. Through this programme children learn to listen and respond to music, explore and create music, sing, share and perform.