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Early Years Foundation Stage

Foundation Stage

Subject Leader: Mrs Capstick


At Temple Sowerby we believe all children deserve the best start in life and should have a safe, inviting and nurturing environment to come into each day. We believe each child and their family should be respected and valued as unique individuals and as members of our school community.

We provide our children with opportunities to develop their gross motor skills, to deepen their imaginations and also their sense of curiosity. We want the children to feel safe and secure at all times and ensure that our safeguarding procedures are rigorous and kept up to date. Communication is important to us and we greatly value the relationship that we develop with parents throughout this vital year.

Children will have an abundance of opportunities to learn through play. We will ensure that learning will be fun, engaging and we will challenge and support all children where ever their starting point. As EYFS practitioners and effective role models, we will provide high quality interactions in order to develop and deepen the children’s learning opportunities. We will deliver our curriculum through a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities based on the EYFS Framework 21’ & children’s interests

We encourage children to become increasingly independent in everyday tasks and within their learning. We are committed to encouraging children to develop the confidence, self-awareness and social skills they need to become successful and resilient learners and valued members of our school community.

We recognise that children arrive at our school having had a range of different life experiences, and we aim to address any inequalities so that children are not limited by their social or economic circumstances and are able to thrive and achieve future success.

We also recognise the rural nature of our environment and contextual issues such as rural isolation, limited employment opportunities and lower incomes that may impact on our children’s future prospects. We seek to help our children both understand and celebrate their local environment, whilst increasing their knowledge of the wider world and the opportunities it can bring.

 Our EYFS Curriculum aims to: 

  • Provide children with a range of knowledge and skills, which are built upon progressively as children move through Nursery and Reception, and which prepare them well for the Year 1 curriculum.
  • Develop children’s language and communication skills including their use and understanding of vocabulary.
  • Identify any specific needs early through effective observation and assessment, so we can address any potential barriers to learning to ensure all children can make good progress from their different starting points.
  • Provide quality systematic synthetic phonics teaching daily through the use of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to provide children with a good foundation to reading and writing.
  • Develop a love of reading through the use of quality books in Literacy which inspire learning across other areas including enhancements within our continuous provision, and through reading a diverse range of quality storybooks, nursery rhymes, poems and non-fiction books just for pleasure.
  • Provide quality early maths teaching which includes practical activities in different contexts to master number skills and develop their use of maths vocabulary and reasoning skills when problem solving.
  • Develop children’s confidence and independence through enabling environments, child-led experiences and responsibilities in the classroom.
  • Provide children with a good understanding of their own and others emotions, and the impact of their behaviour on others through discussion and direct teaching of School values linked to British values, use of well facilitated circle time and modelling to teach how to resolve friendship issues and minor conflicts and direct teaching of vocabulary to help children explain their emotions.
  • Enable all children the best opportunity to meet the Early Learning Goals across all 17 areas of Learning and Development.

Our EYFS curriculum design has been informed by: 

  • Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021
  • Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021 (Non-statutory Guidance)
  • Letters and Sounds Phase 1 (Nursery) and Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised (Nursery/ Reception)
  • White Rose Maths Hub and Numberblocks

Implementation of the EYFS curriculum

Communication and Language

Speaking and listening are key skills for enabling children to communicate with others. Our children are encouraged to listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions. In Nursery, the children regularly take part in small group Speaking and Listening activities, which are designed to develop both receptive and expressive language, as well as developing each child’s confidence to speak in a group. As all children develop at different rates, some children in Reception may also be offered additional opportunities to take part in speaking and listening activities to boost their confidence and language skills.

We actively support the development of children’s language and communication skills, including their use and understanding of vocabulary through:

  • playful interactions which encourage talking,
  • open-ended questioning,
  • modelling listening and turn taking in conversations,
  • modelling speaking in whole sentences,
  • speaking and listening activities in smaller groups,
  • reading and listening to a range of books, rhymes and songs,
  • asking ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions in different contexts,
  • providing opportunities for children to follow instructions and to give instructions to others.

We refer children requiring additional support or assessment to the Speech and Language Therapy service and work in partnership to follow the recommendations provided by specialists, for example providing additional 1:1 support in school where required and supporting parents with ideas and information to develop their child’s language within the home environment.

Personal and Social Development

We use our classroom rules to encourage a consistent approach to behaviour within our classroom and regularly use circle time to help resolve behaviour or friendship issues as they occur and help the children to develop their emotional literacy so they are able to talk about how they are feeling.

We use quality picture books and stories to explore a range of social and emotional issues, often returning to these books throughout the year.

We talk to the children about their successes and encourage them to reflect on their own learning and review how well things went. We model how as adults we can make mistakes or find things difficult and how we can overcome these problems. We use puppets and storytelling techniques to teach social skills, for example how to be a good friend.

We ensure that there is time and space for children to focus on activities and to develop their own interests and we design opportunities for children in groups to practise and develop their social interactions.

We plan activities which promote emotional, moral, spiritual and social development and provide positive images, for example, in books and displays that challenge children’s thinking and help them to embrace differences in gender, ethnicity, religion, special educational needs and abilities. We make links to our school values and talk about ways we can bring these values to life within our own classroom.

We explore and promote British Values through linking them to what we already do within the classroom. For example, to promote the value of democracy, we might vote as a class on changes to our role play area, or practise making decisions as a group when solving a construction problem, or share our views and ideas about ways to improve school life with the school council.

Physical Development

To support children’s physical development, we provide a range of opportunities for them to use gross (large-scale) movements and fine motor movements. All children in Nursery and Reception take part in a range of activities which helps them develop movement around important pivot points: shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers; develop hand and finger strength and hand-eye coordination. Children also take part in ‘Funky Finger’ play dough activities which are designed to develop fine motor control including pincer movement and tripod grip.

We have a range of ride-on vehicles like scooters and tricycles and balance-ability bikes (no-pedal bikes) to help children develop co-ordination, control and the ability to safely negotiate space. Children also have access to large-scale wooden blocks and other apparatus so they can create their own obstacle courses to practise balancing and negotiating space, as well as managing risk.

In Reception, children take part in more formal PE sessions twice a week, some of which are led by specialist coaches e.g. dance, football, tennis etc.


In Nursery we focus on developing the children’s ability to discriminate sounds including: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds and body percussion sound, and on developing their general phonological awareness. We focus on listening to and remembering sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and voice sounds.

We begin to ‘write’ sounds using large scale movements in the air, and large-scale movements on different surfaces e.g. using paintbrushes onto paper, chalk on the ground. We then use smaller scale movements in different mediums e.g. using fingers in paint, sand, cornflower, couscous etc. Children then move onto writing with pencils on paper.

In Reception we continue to develop the children’s phonological awareness including rhythm and rhyme and move from oral blending and segmenting to written blending and segmenting.

We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our phonics programme to teach children to hear, say, recognise, write blend and segment sounds from Phase 2 and 3. Phonics inputs are delivered as a whole cohort input. If any children are finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of whole cohort teaching and/or are struggling to orally blend sounds they are supported through small group and 1:1 ‘keep up’ sessions on a daily basis. We regularly assess children so that we are able to quickly identity any gaps in their learning and we then support them appropriately. Once the children can orally blend sounds they take part in three group practise reading sessions a week. They read books that are fully decodable so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.

Reception take part in structured Literacy sessions usually 2 or 3 times a week. These sessions are designed to develop a shared love of reading, whilst developing the children’s ability to explore and understand stories at a deeper level. They also provide the inspiration and stimulus for a wide range of responses, including written responses, to the story. We encourage the children to demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary and anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories. We also encourage children to use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.


Throughout their time in Nursery and Reception, we provide our children with as many opportunities as possible to develop their mathematical knowledge and skills in order for them to develop a deep understanding of numbers to 10, including the composition of each number, to be able to recognise quantities without counting up to 5 and automatically recall number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.

Children are also taught to verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system; compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity and explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.

In order to teach Maths, we use resources from the White Rose Maths Hub and Numberblocks.  An important aspect of our approach to teaching maths is to actively develop our children’s ability to talk about maths when solving problems.

Understanding the World – Past and Present

We provide opportunities for children to talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members and to share with us family customs and traditions. We encourage them to know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now and understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.

Understanding the World – People, Culture and Communities

Understanding the world is all about investigating, exploring and making sense of the world around us and is a very important part of a child’s learning and development. Children in Nursery and Reception are given a range of opportunities to explore their immediate environment in order to observe and describe it using knowledge from discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.

We teach children about different cultures and traditions through looking at cultural celebrations such as Chinese New Year, and through storybooks which explore the lives, beliefs and experiences of people from other countries, including for example the experiences of refugees. We help children to understand that we are all unique individuals and model ways to respect each other’s differences and to be sensitive to the different needs and interests of other people. We link our learning to British values and Christian values, through actively promoting these values within our classroom.

We encourage children to use our excellent outdoor provision in all weathers and provide many opportunities to do so. We grow potatoes and vegetables in our EYFS area, or visit our school garden, to help the children understand how to grow their own healthy food. We also learn about the animals and plants that live in our local environment and how to take care of them.

Through geographical topics we help children to develop a sense of place through exploring our own immediate environment including geographical features and landmarks, and then making comparisons with other places.

Understanding the World – The Natural World

Our children are given lots of opportunities to explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants. We encourage children to use our excellent outdoor provision in all weathers and provide many opportunities to do so. We grow potatoes and vegetables in our EYFS area, or visit our school garden, to help the children understand how to grow their own healthy food. We also learn about the animals and plants that live in our local environment and how to take care of them.

The children learn about some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class. Through geographical topics we help children to develop a sense of place through exploring our own immediate environment including geographical features and landmarks, and then making comparisons with other places. We teach them about processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.

Expressive Arts and Design

In the EYFS, children experience a wide range of opportunities to safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function construct with a purpose in mind, using a variety of resources. The design process is often intuitive and the making process is fluid. Children can independently access our creative area and choose their own resources to follow their own interests and ideas. They are encouraged share their creations, explaining the process they have used. Sometimes the context for design is set by the teacher in order to challenge and help progress the children’s planning and construction skills and resourcefulness. Children are encouraged to make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories.

We encourage children to invent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher. We teach children to sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs and encourage them to perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others, and – when appropriate – try to move in time with music.


From their different starting points, children progressing from their first year in Nursery to transitioning into Year 1 make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically. Evidence and observations of the children’s progress is recorded via each child’s Tapestry online learning journal. We use our ongoing observations of the children to make formative assessments of their attainment and to inform future planning by building upon the children’s current knowledge and planning their next steps.

By the end of Reception, the majority of our children will have acquired the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to successfully access the Year 1 Curriculum. Support is put in place for those children who, due to their different starting point or additional needs, are not yet ready to access the Year 1 Curriculum independently, so that they can still make a confident start to Year 1.

We endeavour to ensure that our children leave the EYFS ready to move with confidence and excitement into KS1 and lifelong learning.