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Learning & Development

The Early Years Foundation Stage 

Provision for the development and learning of children from birth to the end of the reception year is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage.  Our provision reflects the four principles of the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation stage (September 2021).

Being active and playing supports young children's learning and development through play through doing and talking.  This is how children understand about the world in which they live.  We use the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory guidance on eduction to plan and provide opportunities to help children to progress in the 7 areas of learning.  This learning is made up of adult and child lead activities.

Characteristics of Effective Learning 


We understand that all children engage with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning that are described in the Early Years Foundation Stage as:

  • playing and exploring- engagement

  • active learning- motivation

  • creating and thinking critically- thinking

We aim to provide for the characteristics of effective learning by observing how a child is learning and being clear about what we can do and provide in order to support each child to remain an effective learner.

The characteristics of effective teaching and learning thread through all of the seven areas of learning.  That is because children in the early years are becoming more powerful learners and thinkers.  These characteristics develop naturally as they learn to do new things, learn new skills, develop socially and emotionally and so become better communicators.


The Areas of Learning and Development

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • communication and language

  • physical development

  • personal, social and emotional development

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

  • literacy

  • mathematics

  • understanding the world

  • expressive arts and design.

Communication and Language

Children listen attentively in a range of situations.  We encourage children to develop their speaking and listening skills during child initiated and adult lead activities.  Children learn best through activities and real life experiences.  Our children are provided with lots of opportunities to interact with others as they develop these skills, using a variety of resources to enable them to express their understanding of music, dance, rhymes and songs, modelling, mark making and drawing.

Physical Development

We aim to provide opportunities for this area of learning and development by providing a variety of equipment which allows the children to gain confidence in the use and development of their own body skills.  A high adult to child ratio enables children to safely create and meet physical challenges, developing increasing skill and control in moving, climbing and balancing and introduces appropriate vocabulary.  Children are also supported in the development of the fine motor skills required to use tools for mark making and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision.


Moving and Handling: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

Health and Self-care: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development


We provide a nurturing environment encouraging our children to show sensitivity to others needs and feelings and help form positive relationships with adults and peers.  We encourage children to participate and talk about their ideas as they choose the resources they need for their chosen activities.

Through activities, conversation and practical example, children learn ways to express their own feelings and have respect for others.  They are supported in understanding and following our simple preschool rules.



Children have independent access to a wide range of books including fiction, non-fiction, magazines etc.  Staff read daily to children in groups or individually to children.  We encourage the children to become familiar with their names through self- registration.  Mark making equipment is available both inside and outside and work is displayed and shared with parents.  Pre-writing activities such as using malleable materials, pegs, threading etc help children to strengthen the muscles required to help them hold a pencil or pen.



Numbers: children are encouraged to become familiar with sorting, matching, ordering, sequencing and counting with the support from an adult if needed.  Children are provided with and encouraged to use vocabulary or mathematics, identifying objects by shame, position, volume and number.  We use number rhymes and games, imaginative play and picture books to help children become aware of sequence and number recognition.  

Shape, space and measures: they use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. 

Understanding the World


Children are encouraged to talk about their homes and family life, exploring their environment and the wider community.  They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others.  

A safe and stimulating environment and well resourced garden allow the children to explore and experiment with a range of natural and living things.  This encourages exploration, experimentation, observation, problem solving, prediction, critical thinking, decision making and discussion.  Children go on regular walks around the village making links with their local community.  A range of toys and equipment enables children to select and use technology for particular purposes and develop their knowledge and understanding of technology. 

Expressive Arts and Design


Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.


Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

Children participate in and respond to music and stories.  They have lots of opportunities for imaginative role-play.  Children are encouraged to express their ideas through a wide range of construction materials, experimenting with colour, design form and function.  A well resourced art and craft trolley enables children to self-select a wide variety of materials.  This provides for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in drawing and painting.


We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them daily.  We use this information from our observations, photos and mini videos of them to document their progress and follow their current interests.  We use our on-line Tapestry Journal as part of our parent partnership as we believe parents know their children best and we will share their achievements with you and ask that you also share their achievements from home. 

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