Neville's Cross Primary School & Nursery

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Early Years Curriculum

Our Nursery and Reception Classes follow the curriculum as outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) document. This framework defines what we teach – we also use the Development Matters guidance to support our curriculum. The EYFS framework includes seven areas of learning and development, all of which are seen as important and interconnected. Three of the areas are referred to as the Prime areas. These are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving (Early Years Framework 2021).

Prime areas:

  • Communication and Language – Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Self regulation, Managing Self and Building Relationships
  • Physical Development – Fine Motor and Gross Motor

The Prime areas are strengthened and applied through the further four areas which are referred to as the Specific areas.

Specific areas:

  • Literacy – Comprehension, Word Reading and Writing
  • Mathematics – Numbers and Numerical Patterns
  • Understanding the World – Past and Present, People, Culture and Communities and the Natural World
  • Expressive Arts and Design – Creating with Materials and Being Imaginative and Expressive

Characteristic of Effective Learning

The EYFS also includes the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ which help practitioners identify a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them. The three characteristics are;

  • Playing and Exploring- children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’
  • Active Learning- children concentrate and keep trying if they encounter difficulties, they enjoy achievements
  • Creating and Thinking Critically- children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things


Typical Learning Activities

So what will our children be doing to have the experiences and learning they need?  Learning across the EYFS is predominantly through play.

Communication, Language & Literacy:

Children will spend time listening to stories; talking about their interests; immersed in imaginative play, writing lists, filling in forms, using technology.  Opportunities for speaking and listening are included daily through role play, puppets, songs and rhymes and circle time chats.  Children have access to books throughout EYFS and are given regular opportunities to handle them.  As they progress, children use their phonic skills to decode words, read them aloud and begin to read and understand simple sentences.  Children start from mark making to drawing letter shapes. Then use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which they match their spoken sounds. We provide a range of opportunities to write for a purpose.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development:

Children will listen to stories which model positive behaviours, show respect for others, and promote self-control.  They will learn to work co-operatively, sharing and taking turns in play and activities which is carefully modelled by adults in our setting.  They will also be given opportunities to dress up and put on their own clothes and shoes.

Physical Development:

Fine motor skills are developed through activities such as modelling with playdough, clay, foam, junk materials; cutting, writing and drawing, building with various blocks and construction sets.  Children will also practice and use gross motor activities on climbing frames, slides and wheeled toys.  As they become more aware of space and movement they will participate in more focused PE sessions with equipment such as balls, beanbags, hoops and benches.


Maths may initially look like playing with containers in sand and water; beanbag numbers game; jigsaws; lotto; dominoes; counting songs and rhymes and many more play based and open ended tasks.  Throughout their time in EYFS, children are given opportunities to count reliably and to secure their number knowledge from 0 – 10, place numbers in order, subitise numbers and know some number bonds.  They will develop a mathematical vocabulary through play and talk.  Activities are provided both inside and outdoors.

Understanding the World:

Children will have opportunities to look at plants, plant seeds and bulbs; watch butterflies hatch; play and build with materials; talk about home, holidays, families and festivals; play with road safety equipment; talk to visitors to our setting such as police, paramedics, nurses, fire and rescue.  Children will also have opportunities to participate in visits to enhance their learning for example, to the farm, the beach or to the park.

Expressive Arts and Design:

Children will explore painting with pre-mixed paints, water colour blocks, dry paint mixes, making prints with sponges, vegetables, rollers, marbles, bubbles.  They will spend time singing, playing instruments, dancing and moving to music.  Children will have opportunities to explore activities on a large and small scale and to refine their ideas as they become more confident.

What do we learn in Early Years?

Have a look at our plans to find out what we will be learning and when!

Nursery Literacy

Nursery Phonics

Reception Literacy

Nursery Maths

Reception Maths

Early Years Planning Overview

Our EYFS Curriculum and how it links to National Curriculum Learning

Please have a look at the documents below to see what our EYFS Curriculum looks like across Nursery and Reception and how this prepares our children for their future National Curriculum learning.

Spoken Language














Assessment in the Early Years

Assessment in EYFS is predominantly done through observations which are recorded and documented on Tapestry. Every child in the EYFS has an online journal in which written work and other examples of activities may be gathered. Children in Reception class also record work in English and Maths books as they move through the year.

Observations of children playing and learning which are made by EYFS staff must be purposeful and meaningful. They will be completed when new learning or ‘WOW’ moments are identified. When assessing our children, staff will use these observations as evidence but the main source of evidence will be our staff knowledge of each individual child.

Statutory Assessment

On entry to Reception Class, our teachers must assess children using the new National Baseline Assessment within their first six weeks.  This provides no specific feedback or information regarding outcomes to school and will be used as a future measure of progress of your child’s journey through school by the DfE.

At the end of EYFS all children are assessed against the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP). The EYFSP provides a summary and describes children’s learning. It provides children’s outcomes in relation to Early Learning Goal descriptors. Staff will also complete a short narrative describing the child’s characteristics of effective learning. The outcome of the profile will be shared with parents.

A Good level of Development

Children are defined as having reached a Good Level of Development (GLD) at the end of the EYFS if they have achieved at least the expected level for the Early Learning Goals ELGs in the prime areas of learning and the specific areas of mathematics and literacy. This helps teachers and parents to understand broadly what a child can do in relation to national expectations.

Please have a look at the expectations within the Early learning Goals below.

Early Learning Goals