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The Early Years and Foundation Stage Curriculum

The EYFS is based upon four principles:

· A unique child. We recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement as well as celebration and rewards to encourage and develop a positive attitude to learning.

· Positive relationships. We recognise that children learn to be strong and independent from secure relationships and aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children and their families.

· Enabling environments. We recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. Through observations we assess the children’s interests, stages of development and learning needs before planning challenging and achievable activities and experiences to extend their learning.

· Learning and development. The Foundation Stage classrooms are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The classrooms are organised into learning areas where children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently.

The EYFS is for children from birth to five years of age. All children begin school with a wide variety of experiences and learning and it is the role of the adults working in the foundation stage to build upon these prior learning experiences. This is done through an approach to learning which values the contributions made by parents and carers and develops each child as an individual.


It is every child’s right to grow up safe, healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and with economic well-being. The overarching aim of the EYFS is to help young children achieve these five outcomes.

We will provide a broad and balanced curriculum that will enable each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, creatively and intellectually to their full potential. Each child is valued as an individual and teaching and learning is based on the understanding that children develop at different rates.

At St Theresa's, we aim to:

· Provide a safe, challenging, stimulating, caring and sharing environment which is sensitive to the needs of the child including children with additional needs.

· Provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for further learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond.

· Use and value what each child can do, assessing their individual needs and helping each child to progress.

· Enable choice and decision making, fostering independence and self-confidence.

· Work in partnership with parents and carers and value their contributions ensuring that all children, irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability.

· Provide opportunities whereby children experience a challenging and enjoyable programme of learning and development.

· Provide experiences for all children, whatever their needs, which are inclusive rather than parallel.

Learning and Development

Learning and development is categorised into three prime areas of learning:

· Communication and language.

· Physical development.

· Personal, social and emotional development.

Additionally there are four specific areas of learning:

· Literacy.

· Mathematics.

· Understanding the world.

· Expressive arts and design.

Achievement of these prime and specific areas of learning is by:

· Playing and exploring.

· Active learning.

· Creating and thinking critically.


In the Foundation Stage children are given opportunities to:

speak and listen and represent ideas in their activities;

use communication, language and literacy in every part of the curriculum;

become immersed in an environment rich in print and opportunities to communicate.

Observation, Assessment and Planning

Good planning is the key to making children’s learning effective, exciting, varied and progressive.

Effective learning builds on and extends what children know and can already do. Our planning shows how the principles of the EYFS are put into practice and is always informed by observations we have made of the children, in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning needs. All staff who work in the Foundation Stage are involved in this process.

 We make regular assessments of children’s learning and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs. Assessment in the EYFS takes the form of short recorded observations and this involves the teacher and other adults as appropriate. These observations are recorded and used to inform children’s attainment. Each pupil’s attainment is monitored using Educater and progress is shared with the head teacher and the Senco during half termly inclusion meetings.

The parents and carers are given the opportunity to contribute to the assessment of their child’s attainment. During the Autumn and the Spring Terms parents and carers are invited to attend meetings with their child’s class teacher to share the attainment and identify next steps for learning.  At the end of the third term, we provide a written summary in relation to the children’s early learning goals to parents and carers.

Learning Through Play

Children learn through carefully planned play activities and staff will decide when child-initiated or adult-led play activities would provide the most effective learning opportunities. Every child will have opportunities to learn in the indoor and outdoor learning environments during the day.

Staff use observations of the children engaged in learning through play to identify the Characteristics of Effective Learning the children are displaying as part of their learning when engaged in play activities.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning focus on the child’s attitudes and dispositions towards their learning.

Playing and exploring – engagement

Finding out and exploring

Playing with what they know

Being willing to ‘have a go’

Active learning – motivation

Being involved and concentrating

Keeping trying

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creating and thinking critically – thinking

Having their own ideas

Making links

Choosing ways to do things

All the areas of the Characteristics of Effective Learning can be linked directly to St Theresa's Clever Creatures. 

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