Bourne Primary School


The Early Years Foundation Stage – Nursery and Reception

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, as well as developing their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

The three prime areas are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

Children are also supported 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

The seven areas are divided into strands, and each strand can be tracked from a young baby’s very earliest days, right up until a child reaches their Early Learning Goals.

The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

  • playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
  • active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners consider the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice.

We use an online tool, ‘Tapestry’, to record the children’s achievements in learning throughout the year. Parents are also given access to this, and it can be an excellent way to maintain strong learning links between home and school.

A book of each child’s learning in the Early Years classes is also completed during the year, containing their significant achievements, documented through photos, observations and pieces of work. This is called a ‘Learning Journey’. Parents and children are encouraged to provide information for our assessments and for the learning journey.

The children will learn mostly through play and exploration, where they are offered a range of activities each with underlying learning purposes. Activities in the Early Years are both focused and child initiated. Activities provided for the children include: sand and water play, cooking, large and small construction, painting, drawing, dough, role play, computer (with internet access), music, sharing books, jigsaws, games, circle time, singing and outdoor play.

The children also have a daily opportunity to play and learn in the Early Years Outside Area (we often refer to it as the ‘Outdoor Classroom’) with a variety of equipment to cover all areas of learning. We take them outside in all but the worst weathers, and it is important they have waterproof coats and boots if possible. This outside classroom is also planned to cover the 6 areas of learning from the Early Years Curriculum.