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Year R Curriculum

“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.”

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, DfE, 2021


Through the EYFS our practitioners aim to deliver high levels of learning and care for our youngest learners giving them the best possible start in life. By following guidance set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE 2021) and Development Matters (DfE 2023), we offer exciting, enriching and educational opportunities within our environment, underpinned by the four themes of the EYFS-

A Unique Child + Positive Relationships + Enabling Environments = Learning Development

The Early Years curriculum is divided into seven areas of learning; three Prime Areas and four Specific Areas all of which are taught within the context of effective teaching and learning which allow the children to play and explore, engage in active learning and create and think critically. These areas are as follows-

Prime areas-

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

Specific areas-

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design


We aim to create an ambitious Early Years curriculum across all areas that will foster a love of learning for all children, will build on what they already know and will provide them with the knowledge and skills they will need for when they move into Key Stage 1, as well as giving them the knowledge and experiences they need to succeed later in life. Through our curriculum, we    aspire to develop the individual qualities of all pupils whatever their gender, race, or belief, building on what they know and can do, and work hard to ensure that all pupils feel confident, secure, safe, valued and special. We ensure that we evaluate our practice and environment in line with our current cohorts and therefore review our practice in-line with pupils who may need extra support or have special educational needs or other individual specific needs. We do this through planning, moderation and year group meetings as we believe that every child has the right to access the full curriculum.

A key focus for EYFS is to develop children’s vocabulary by creating a language-rich environment, alongside skilled adults who encourage children to communicate what they experience in the world around them. Through direct teaching and modelling of a wide range of vocabulary, and the sharing of a wider range of stories, books, songs and rhymes throughout the day, we aim for our pupils to develop a lifelong love of reading, as well as broadening their rich and varied vocabulary. Through our high-quality, systematic teaching of phonics using the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ program, we are determined that all children will be readers by the end of EYFS and provide bespoke interventions for any child who needs additional support to achieve this.

In order to provide our pupils with a high quality, balanced curriculum, our days are carefully planned to ensure that all pupils access many areas of learning. Throughout the day practitioners provide opportunities for both child initiated,    directed child initiated and teacher lead learning, and we place a high value on structured and unstructured play opportunities as this is a core component of early child development. Our curriculum is planned through a variety of different themes, each of which offer experiences in all 7 areas of learning.  Themes are chosen taking into account the needs of our learners, our school context and pupils’ interests and abilities, for example an ‘Into the woods’ theme in Autumn 2 in order to develop pupils’ cultural capital and make use of our local environment.

Our mornings typically include opportunities for fine motor practice, phonics lessons, handwriting, English and Mathematics, with Guided Reading at the start of every afternoon. While our Prime areas of learning are interwoven throughout all areas of our curriculum, specific teaching time is given to the knowledge and skills that pupils need to learn and understand through direct teaching each afternoon, as well as those of Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

Every afternoon, pupils have the opportunity for continuous provision both inside and outside of the classroom environments, including adult lead and child-initiated opportunities across all areas of the curriculum. As Reception is made up of 3 different classes, we work together across the whole year group during continuous provision sessions. During this time the children can explore areas across the whole environment, working wherever their interests take them, including classrooms, the tent and the outdoor garden. Our learning environments are well planned, providing opportunities for pupils to explore new learning and experiences, to practice and refine their existing skills, engage in active learning and create and think critically. These areas encourage and support our pupils’ independent skills, curious thinking and perseverance. All areas of learning are represented across the tent and outdoor environment, and staff and pupils have access to a wide range of resources that can be used to enhance learning and develop their own interests.

As the Reception year progresses, the format of our day and expectations for our pupils also progresses in order to prepare pupils for the move to KS1 (see document below).

Direct teaching in EYFS is based upon our agreed teaching sequence, with lessons beginning with opportunities to assess what children already know, and to retrieve and revisit prior learning. This regular practice enables children to commit learning to long-term memory. New content is taught explicitly through small steps to ensure that pupils secure knowledge and understanding as they progress towards attaining new learning. The use of ongoing assessment through targeted questioning allows teachers to ensure that pupils are secure before moving on. Regular opportunities for application of new learning occur throughout the day.

Assessment in EYFS takes place in a range of forms. As well as ongoing formative assessment throughout the day, pupils also undertake a range of summative assessment activities. On entry to school, pupils complete the Statutory Baseline Assessment, as well as internal activities that enable adults to assess pupil starting points. Half termly phonics assessment identifies pupils’ strengths and gaps, enabling bespoke intervention plug gaps and accelerate progress.  At the end of Reception, teachers complete the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) for every child, assessing all 17 Early Learning Goals and whether they have achieved a Good Level of Development (GLD). This information is shared with parents and receiving Year 1 Teachers to ensure that the strong foundations that pupils receive in their first year of school lead to continued good outcomes as they move through KS1.