Early Years Foundation Stage

North Ealing Primary School

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)


  • To provide children with a safe and nurturing learning environment
  • To allow children to explore their own ideas and interests.
  • To support children in developing key skills and knowledge through the Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development.
  • To work in partnership with parents to enable each child to achieve to their highest potential.


The key principles from the Every Child Matters document underpin practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

  •  Unique Child: ‘Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be capable, confident and self-assured.
  • Positive Relationships: ‘Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.’
  • Enabling Environments: ‘Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.’
  • Learning and Development: ‘Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.’
  • (Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2012, page 3)


Teaching and learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage is a carefully planned balance of direct teaching, small group learning experiences and child-initiated play. Effective teaching and learning rely on planning that is informed by observational assessments of children’s learning and interests.

3.1 The Learning Environment

Across the foundation stage the learning environment:

  • Reflects the children within the class, for example through displays and selection of resources for play
  • Is safe and welcoming
  • Allows the children to develop independence in selecting resources
  • Celebrates children’s achievements and interests
  • Includes both an indoor and outdoor learning spaces
  • Reflects the seven areas of learning
  • Supports parents in developing their understanding of teaching and learning in the foundation stage, for example through sharing weekly themes and learning intentions

3.2 The Role of Adults


  • Build positive relationships with children
  • Work in partnership with parents
  • Support and extend children’s learning through play
  • Make regular observations of children’s learning to assess their progress and inform future planning
  • Make ongoing formative assessments through observations, assessment and planning.
  • make summative assessments and share findings with parents at two points: between 24 and 36 months in the prime areas of learning and at the end of the EYFS in the EYFS profile
  • Keep records of children’s progress
  • Write a comprehensive report about the child at the end of each academic year.
  • Meet with parents three times a year at parent’s evening
  • Set targets for pupil achievement across the year


“Characteristics of Effective Learning and the prime and specific Areas of Learning and development are all interconnected.”

(Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2012, page 5)

We support the children in engaging and learning with other people and their environment through playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. We believe that these characteristics underpin all learning and development.

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
  • Keep Trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creating and thinking critically – exploring

  • Having their own idea
  • Making Links
  • Choosing ways to do things


There are seven areas of learning and development of which three are “prime areas,” and four “specific areas.”

The prime areas are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

The specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World


“Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is used as an essential part children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. There is an on-going judgement to be made by practitioners about the balance between activities led by children, and activities led or guided by adults. Practitioners must respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction. As children grow older, and as their development allows, it is expected that the balance will gradually shift towards more activities led by adults, to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for Year 1.” (Statutory Framework for EYFS 2012)

Learning through play is a balance of child initiated and adult directed or structured play based experiences. High quality, purposeful play uses both the indoor and outdoor environment, supporting learning across the seven areas of learning and through characteristics of effective learning.

Child initiated play offers children the opportunity to explore their own ideas and interests selecting their own resources. Adults support and extend this play through modelling, questioning, mirroring, affirming and
celebrating achievements.

5.1. Prime Areas of Learning and Development

5.1.1 Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Making Relationships
  • Self-Awareness and Self Confidence
  • Managing Feelings and Behaviour

We support children in developing independence, self-confidence, perseverance, social skills, appropriate and reflective behaviour and self-control, respect for the views, needs, cultures and beliefs they hold and those of others. In-line with the whole school approach EYFS promote and embed the NES Learning Values: Creative, Harmonious, Independent, Lifelong Learner, Determined to do our best, Responsible and Respectful, Engaged & Nurturing.

The SEAD program is used to support teaching and learning in Personal, Social and Emotional Development. This program is adapted as necessary to tailor it to the needs of individuals and the class as a whole. SEAD sessions are timetabled weekly through assemblies and small groups.

Adults support children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development on a daily basis by responding to their individual needs and circumstances.

Children’s wellbeing and involvement are monitored through daily interaction with a range of adults.

Support from Place2Be can be sought where appropriate. During transition times the following strategies are used: Home visits, school visits, taster programme and a comprehensive transition programme for moving within the EYFS and entering KS1.

5.1.2. Communication and Language

  • Listening and Attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

At NES, we believe that children need to have good communication skills as a basis for all their learning and development and we are passionate about the importance of children talking and listening in wide range of situations.

We support children in developing:

  • Confidence to speak clearly sharing their ideas
  • The ability to take turns in conversation listening and responding to the contributions of others
  • An enjoyment in language through stories, songs, rhymes and poems
  • The ability to use talk to organise, sequence and clarify their thinking, ideas, feelings and events
  • The ability to use language to imagine and recreate roles and events
  • Big talk is in place in the EYFS in line with the whole school Big Talk/Write.
  • There is a 2 year rolling programme across the EYFS related to specific events and topics

5.1.3 Physical Development 

  • Moving and Handling
  • Health and Self Care

Provision for Physical Development focuses on fine and gross motor skills as well as the use of a wide variety of equipment. The outdoor environment plays a crucial part in providing space for physical development and expression.

  • The development of Physical skill also includes fine motor skill and handwriting. Children in Reception will be formally taught letter formation, and across the Early Years Foundation Stage, children are supported in developing good fine motor control through a variety of play based experiences both indoors and outdoors, for example, the use of pegs, scissors, malleable and tactile play.
  • The EYFS provision is further enhanced by a weekly session provided by Fit for Sport on games skills.
  • Children will also be taught how to care for themselves, including personal hygiene such as toileting and hand-washing. Children will be supported in learning to dress and undress where appropriate.
  • A snack of fruit, milk and water is available daily and the children will be encouraged to become confident in selecting their own healthy snack. Drinking water is constantly available throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage.
  • Children will use a wide range of environments through which they will explore physicality; the school hall, playgrounds, garden areas and covered play space.
  • Parents are advised about healthy and appropriate lunches at the introduction meetings.
  • These can be a packed lunch or a cooked meal provided by Harrison caterers. (Free R-Year 2)

5.2 Specific Areas of Learning and Development 

5.2.1 Literacy

  • Reading
  • Writing

In the EYFS children are encouraged to explore mark making and early reading across the curriculum. These reading and writing skills and an enthusiasm for exploring literacy are developed through a combination of individual reading and writing, shared reading and writing, guided reading, independent reading (book areas indoors and outdoors), library sessions and story time. Story sessions are supported by the use of story sacks and where possible story telling in other languages using parent volunteers. The emphasis is on the use of good quality core texts.

The Read Write Inc system for teaching synthetic phonics is followed beginning with some small group work in Nursery where appropriate.

The EYFS team follow the following five key principles that underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. programme:

  • Participation – our teaching strategies ensure that all children participate fully in the whole lesson – there is no chance for children to lose concentration and miss key elements of the teaching.
  • Praise – children work together, as partners, taking turns to teach and praise one another and they are motivated by the focused praise they receive from teachers and teaching assistants.
  • Pace – a lively pace keeps all the children fully engaged.
  • Purpose – teachers know the purpose of every activity and how it leads into the next.
  • Passion – it is easy for teachers to be passionate about their teaching because they see their children make such rapid progress.

In Reception, the children are regularly assessed using the RWI criteria and adjustments are made to the groups and the teaching. The children are split into a minimum of 5 ability groups and the children receive weekly phonics homework specific to each group and there is a specific writing element to the programme which develops through sounds to words to phrases to sentences.

Children in Reception buy valium 10mg have a weekly Guided Reading session with their class teacher or EYP and the book is then taken home to share with their family. Initially the books are wordless, but over the year, children progress to books with short sentences, in accordance to their reading ability. When Reception children can confidently blend to read words they also take home the RWI book, that they have been reading in school that week. A reading pact book system is used to communicate between home and school about reading behaviour, achievement and suggested next steps. Children in Reception are also given the opportunity to visit the school library where they can make their own choice of book to borrow.

In Nursery, the children choose a book from the class library with their parent/carer during the weekly soft start session. Nursery children visit the school library where they have the opportunity to look at variety of books of their own choice and this is followed by a storytelling session.

The EYFS weekly newsletter which is posted on the EYFS Nursery page which communicates the literacy focus to inform and encourage home learning.

5.2.2 Mathematics

  • Numbers
  • Shape, Space and Measures

We teach children in developing mathematical awareness and understanding. Adults support children’s abilities to apply their knowledge within their own child initiated learning.

Resources to support mathematical play are available at all times for children’s independent selection including number cards, number lines, shape and counting equipment. Children engage in adult led learning experiences developing problem solving reasoning and numeracy knowledge and skills. Children will be taught to use mathematical skills to include using numbers within 20 to add, subtract, halve and double, to name, recognise and describe 2D and 3D shapes and to have an understanding of weight, height and volume. Mathematical skills and understanding is always developed through a cross curricular approach to learning.

All the children in Reception are encouraged to use Mathletics, the online maths programme in line with the rest of the school.

The EYFS weekly newsletter which is posted on the EYFS Nursery page which communicates the literacy focus to inform and encourage home learning.

5.2.3 Understanding the World

  • People and Communities
  • The World
  • Technology

We begin to teach children about the world immediately around them and the wider world where possible through first hand practical experiences. Visits, trips, visitors, and learning in the indoor and outdoor environment will happen throughout each year. Children are taught to develop skills for enquiry and sharing their knowledge and understanding. Children will share their thoughts and knowledge about their own lives and the lives of people they know. They will relate different experiences to events that happen in the world around them. We will encourage children to show curiosity and be keen to explore, commenting on their own observations and questioning things around them, using open ended resources in their play and learning, to make predictions and discuss and critically explain their findings. Children across the Early Years Foundation Stage will have independent access to a wide range of everyday technology (computers, interactive whiteboard programs, Bee Bots, stopwatches, microphones, cameras and video cameras).

5.2.4 Expressive Arts and Design

  • Using and Exploring Media and Materials
  • Being Imaginative

Children have opportunities to use their imagination in play, building, making and exploring in the indoor and outdoor environment. Each classroom and the outside area will have areas for free choice and planned access to a wide variety of media. Children will be taught skills in using the equipment effectively. They will be encouraged to be imaginative and creative through a range of role play experiences linked to children’s interests and topics.

Music will be used within the setting in a variety of ways, with children exploring sounds and rhythm of different instruments and musical genres. Singing and rhymes will be incorporated into children’s learning. Reception children will participate in a weekly whole school singing assembly once settled into school. Here they will share in the love of singing a repertoire of familiar and new songs.

The EAD curriculum is further enhanced by a weekly session of music for Reception children.

5.3 Timetabled Adult Led Learning

Some areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum are timetabled to be taught regularly. These include:

  • P.E.
  • Music (Reception)
  • Use of the Library
  • Phonics (RWI)
  • Big Talk


Medium term planning is completed identifying learning intentions (from long term planning, observations and assessments) and key themes for learning. Medium term planning themes take into account the interests of the

Weekly planning is completed outlining group learning times, adult led experiences and provision for child initiated learning. Weekly planning is also completed for the outdoor area encompassing learning experiences to support learning intentions across the foundation stage.

Additional weekly planning is completed outlining teaching of phonics and reading. A timetable is also completed providing an overview of the week.

Weekly planning identifies where groups of children or individuals will receive additional or targeted support in order to meet specific needs.

The planning cycle is important in ensuring planning is derived not simply from long/medium term plans but also following observations of children’s immediate previous learning and interests.


Assessment across the foundation stage is predominantly undertaken through observations. Observations are completed using a written template. Areas of Development and Learning, Characteristics of Effective Learning and Wellbeing are identified.

In the Reception Year Phonics assessments are completed and the groups are set accordingly.

Children are encouraged through a plan do review time to evaluate their own effectiveness and successes. Children will begin to use simple self-assessment skills, e.g. thumbs up.

All staff working in the EYFS are required to make observations of children’s learning and progress to combine with the information gained through adult led sessions.

Pupil progress meetings are carried out five times a year and the children’s levels are entered onto the assessment manager system on Sims in order to analyse progress and the impact of interventions for these children.


A paper profile is compiled for each child in the EYFS collating their learning, observations and key information provided by parents and carers. Pieces of children’s work are collected in Learning Journals (Nursery & Reception), maths and literacy books (Reception only) to signify key learning steps.

Children will be assessed on entry (baseline) and exit to each year group to show their attainment against age related expectations. Their progress will be tracked throughout the year on the assessment manager system on Sims. Each age range is broken down into bands of emerging, developing and securing. Expected progress is judged to be the move across three bands during one academic year.

At the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage, children will be assessed against each of the 17 Early Learning Goals ELG. If they are working below ELG, they will be classified as emerging, within the ELG, expected and beyond the ELG, exceeding.

All information tracked is collated using whole class tracking grids, providing an overview of progress for each child and their level of development, the class and cohort.

Children’s progress is shared with parents and carers throughout the year by verbal and written reports and parents evenings. For all children at the end of the year their development is shared with parents/carers and future practitioners through transition meetings/handover and written reports to parents.

At the end of the EYFS, parents will receive a report showing their children’s attainment against the Early
Learning Goals and the Characteristics of Effective Learning.

During pupil progress meetings a member of the Senior leadership team meets the teachers five times a year to discuss the progress of all the children in each class. Vulnerable groups are considered closely and interventions highlighted to ensure that maximum progress is being met. This information is also reported to the Governing body each term.

At least twice a term the EYFS team are involved in within and cross phase moderation to ensure that the judgements made about the children’s level of development and achievement are agreed. The EYFS team also attend inter-school or borough moderation or are visited by an external moderator.


All children and their families are valued at NES. Children are treated as individuals and have equal access to all provisions available. All children are encouraged to achieve their personal best and planning is adapted to meet the needs of all groups and abilities.

Assessments take into account contributions from a range of perspectives to ensure that any child with potential special educational needs is identified at the earliest possible opportunity. Early identification of special needs is crucial to enable staff to support the development of each child.

Concerns are always discussed with parents/carers at an early stage and the schools Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) is called upon for further information and advice.

Appropriate steps are taken in accordance with the school’s policy for SEN. Regular interventions through small groups and one to one sessions are used to meet the needs of children as and when they are identified.


To support children who have English as an additional language the following strategies are employed:

  • Practical, hand-on learning experiences
  • The use of visual aids including gesture and picture cards
  • The use of dual language resources including a key phrases mat and dual language books and audio files
  • Consistent routines
  • Effective use of any additional adult support
  • Assessment in child’s home language, where possible


Parents/carers play a vital role in their child’s learning and development. It is of aim of all practitioners that they work with parents to achieve the best for each child.

When all children begin coming to the setting a home school agreement is shared with parents/carers and signed outlining key commitments of parents/carers and the setting.

When children begin attending the setting information from parents/carers about their child is collected through an ‘All about me’ leaflet. Parents/carers can also share information verbally with the child’s key worker/teacher.

Parents/carers are encouraged to share their child’s learning journal and add to this through completing the Wow books.

Parents/carers are offered opportunities to attend parent workshops/talks to inform them about aspects of teaching and learning in the setting. There is a weekly soft finish/start session to enable the parents to join their child’s class each week.

Presented to Senior Management
Presented to Staff
Committee with oversight for this policy

Policy last reviewed by the Curriculum Committee
Policy last ratified and adopted by Full Governing Body
Policy / Document due for review