Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year. It is the document used to guide practitioners to plan challenging learning experiences within a vibrant, engaging environment and to assess the development and progress of each child.


The EYFS is based upon four themes:


1. A Unique Child

2. Positive Relationships

3. Enabling Environments

4. Learning and Development


And four principles:


1. Every child is a unique learner who is constantly learning, capable, confident and self-assured.

2. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

3. 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.

4. Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years’ provision, including children with educational needs.


The EYFS identifies the Characteristics of Learning:


1. Playing and exploring

2. Active learning

3. Creating and thinking critically


EYFS Areas of Learning:


There are 3 Prime areas of learning;

1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development (making relationships, self-confidence and self- awareness and managing feelings and behaviour)

2. Physical Development (moving and handling and health and self-care)

3. Communication and Literacy (listening and attention, understanding and speaking)


And 4 Specific areas of learning;

1. Literacy (reading and writing)

2. Mathematics (numbers and shape, space and measure)

3. Understanding the world (people and communities, the world and technology)

4. Expressive arts and design (exploring and using media and materials and being imaginative)


None of the areas can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important and depend upon each other. All areas are delivered through a balance of adult led and child initiated activities. Through play and practical experiences, children learn about the world and their place in it. They learn through first hand experiences, talk, books and equipment. We set realistic yet challenging expectations that meet the needs of our children. We achieve this by planning to meet the needs of boys and girls, children with special educational needs, children who are more able, children with disabilities, children from all social and cultural backgrounds, children of different ethnic groups and those from diverse linguistic backgrounds.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

The school fosters and develops relationships between home and school. Children are encouraged to share, take turns and co-operate with others. They are encouraged to be independent and make choices for themselves. They are also encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of others and to respect other cultures and beliefs.


Physical Development

Children are given opportunities to move to music, use equipment, develop and practise their fine and gross motor skills. They develop an increasing understanding of how their body works, what is needed to be healthy and how to take care of themselves. This is done both indoors and outdoors and by working with a wide range of resources.


Communication and Language

This covers all aspects of language development and provides the foundation for literacy skills. Children are encouraged and supported to develop competence in speaking and listening, being able to pay careful attention to what is being and responding appropriately. We aim to extend and enrich the children’s vocabulary through story time, rhymes, role-play, group discussions and a language rich environment. Children are encouraged to share their own experiences through speaking and acting out events in imaginative play and talking about their own ideas. They are encouraged to take part in class activities such as participating in music sessions, working with puppets, saying rhymes and singing songs together.



We have a variety of resources for the children to use to help them develop early literacy skills. Children are encouraged to use the mark-making areas indoors and outdoors independently but they also take part in teacher-led activities. These activities include whole class shared reading, phonics sessions and small group guided reading and writing. The pre-writing work encourages pencil control and clear letter formation. Children have the opportunity to independently develop their writing skills in accordance with their age, ability and competence. We encourage children to treat books and other resources with respect and they are given many opportunities to enjoy books by themselves and with their peers and to listen to stories read by adults.



We aim for children to achieve mathematical understanding and a firm foundation for numeracy through practical activities and using and understanding language in the development of simple mathematical ideas. Pre-number work is covered through nursery rhymes and number activities complementing learning achieved at home. Children are given the opportunity to learn about number, shape, space, position, pattern and measurement. Towards the end of the Foundation stage children start learning to tell the time and are given opportunities to learn about money and simple calculations. We look at simple problem solving focused around children’s exploration of mathematical concepts using the concrete, pictorial, abstract approach which is driven by their own interests.


Understanding the World

All children are given opportunities to solve problems, investigate, make decisions and experiment. They will learn about living things, their environment, the world around them and the people who are important in their lives. Children also have opportunities to develop computing skills working with and using modern technology.


Expressive arts and design

We provide opportunities for all children to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of art, design, technology, music, drama, movement, dance and imaginative play activities. Children are given opportunities to make paintings, drawings, collages, models and use musical instruments. Children also learn new songs and rhymes and enjoy singing them with each other.


 Active Learning through Play


At Holystone Primary School we recognise that young children learn best when they are active. We understand that active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods. Therefore, we believe that Early Years education should be as practical as possible and our EYFS setting has an ethos of learning through play.


We recognise the importance of children’s play. It is an essential and rich part of their learning process, supporting them in all areas of development. Play is a powerful motivator encouraging children to be creative and to develop their ideas, understanding and language. Play is also flexible and able to suit the preferred learning style of the child. It can provide multiple ways for children to learn a variety of different skills and concepts.


In the EYFS setting at Holystone Primary School, practitioners provide both structured and unstructured play opportunities inside and outside. These activities are designed to engage children in practical, first- hand experiences which will support children to discover, explore, investigate, develop their personal interests and areas of curiosity, and help to make sense of the world around them as they begin to understand specific concepts. Play opportunities are also set up to provide children with opportunities to apply newly acquired knowledge, demonstrating their skills and level of understanding.