The Early Years Foundation Stage

At Great Coates Village Nursery school our curriculum is based on The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This is the curriculum that the Government sets for all early years providers (0-5 years) to make sure that ‘all children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe’. (Department for Education) There are 17 early learning goals to be aimed for by the end of the Reception year in school.

The Framework is divided into 3 sections;

1.  Characteristics of Learning
2.  3 prime areas of learning
3.  4 specific areas of learning

Characteristics of learning

Playing and exploring, which is about finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to ‘have a go’.

Active Learning, which is about being involved and concentrating, persevering and enjoying achieving, what they set out to do.

Creating and thinking critically, which is about having their own ideas, making links and choosing ways to do things.

Prime areas

Personal, Social and Emotional Development, which is about making relationships and getting along with other children and adults, having confidence and self-awareness, and being able to manage their feelings and behaviour.

  • forming meaningful relationships with other children and adults
  • having respect for other people
  • being an individual and also belonging to a community
  • being able to express and cope with your feelings and emotions
  • becoming independent and helping others
  • being able to make choices and taking responsibility
  • developing a sense of fairness, what is right and wrong
  • understanding appropriate behaviour
  • respecting and being able to empathise with others
  • having feelings of wonder and joy
  • sharing and celebrating festivals, traditions and special occasions.

Communication and Language, which is about developing good listening and attention skills, to have good understanding and also speak and express themselves clearly.

  • developing confidence to be able to express your opinions and make your own choices
  • talking, listening, discussing and recalling experiences in a range of different situations
  • being able to describe and explain things in your own words, using your own ideas
  • listening to stories, anticipating what might happen and responding appropriately to the story
  • listening and following instructions, and being able to answer questions appropriately.

Physical Development, which is about large and small movements in a variety of ways, having good control and co-ordination, handling different tools and equipment well. It also covers health and self-care, looking at ways to keep healthy and safe.

  • developing confidence and independence through achievement
  • learning to use tools competently
  • learning co-ordination and control
  • building confidence, stamina, energy and strength
  • learning to move in a variety of ways
  • expressing yourself through movement
  • understanding the importance of exercise
  • learning to make healthy choices about food, and taking care of ourselves and our healthy body

Specific areas

Literacy, which is about stories, rhymes, books and reading, and also mark making/writing.

  • believing in yourself as a reader and writer and developing the skills to become one
  • enjoying stories and a wide range of reading materials e.g. books, poems, print in the environment
  • learning to recognise letters and the sounds they each make
  • learning to make marks and give meanings to those marks.

Mathematics, which looks at numbers, counting, shape, space and measure.

  • appreciating pattern, and relationships in mathematics
  • logical thinking
  • exploring, comparing and describing shapes, quantities, height, etc.
  • finding ways to solve mathematical problems e.g. estimating, measuring
  • learning to use and understand mathematical language
  • understanding and using number
  • counting, understanding and using numbers
  • calculating simple addition and subtraction problems

Understanding the World, which is about people and communities and helps children understand about the world they live in, including ICT.

  • exploring the local environment
  • finding out about the past
  • developing an understanding of travelling to other places, distance and maps
  • using technology – making models in a variety of ways
  • planning, making and designing things
  • exploring and solving problems
  • using I.C.T. for a range of purpose
  • exploring, experimenting and having ideas
  • being curious – wondering why, how, what, if?
  • understanding why and how things happen
  • observing carefully and closely
  • experiencing and changing materials
  • sharing the joy of finding things out with your friends

Expressive Arts and Design, which develops different forms of expression, exploring music, dance and song, encouraging children to be creative in all respects. It also focuses on media and materials and imaginative/pretend play.

  • representing and communicating your thoughts, ideas and feelings in a variety of ways e.g. art, music, movement dance, language and design and technology
  • expressing yourself through a wide range of media e.g. paint, clay, drawing, 3D materials
  • experiencing and enjoying beauty
  • imagining, expressing and creating
  • having original ideas and thoughts

The staff plan to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that touches on all aspects across the year, based on the observations of children’s play and what their interests are. This appears in the weekly enhancements to the continuous provision, as well as in the adult-led focuses and group-time work.

A copy of the EYFS documents can be downloaded here:

During induction all parents are given a copy of ‘What to Expect, When?’ which explains the EYFS further and provides ideas how to support their child’s learning at home.

If parents or members of the public would like more information about our curriculum they can either ring the school on 01472 231231 or email and a member of staff will provide advice and further information.