Early Years Foundation Stage

The learning objectives for Early Years Foundation Stage children in Nursery and Reception are taken from the Department of Education’s Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. All children make progress from their own individual starting points, and move towards the Early Learning Goals at the end of their Reception year.

Every day children spend time on short focussed activities with an adult, to develop their skills in number, prepare them for reading and writing, and make progress in all areas of the curriculum. As children move through the Foundation Stage these activities are extended and take up more of the child’s day.

In Foundation Stage lots of learning is child initiated. We provide areas which offer open-ended opportunities for children to investigate, discover and imagine. All areas can be planned indoors or outdoors, so that through their time in Foundation Stage children will experience a wide range of activities which help them to learn and practise skills and knowledge, whilst having a fantastic time. Adults support children’s learning by modelling and extending play, talking and questioning.

Reading area

Encourages children to listen to and enjoy stories, develop preferences, and talk about books. They learn to retell stories and discover that books can provide us with information. Eventually they recognise letter and words in the text, and begin to read for themselves.

Writing area

Provides children with opportunities to develop pencil control by drawing and writing. They learn that writing has a meaning, and move from “play writing” to forming letters, writing their name and familiar words, and eventually sentences. Children are given lots of opportunities to write in other areas, e.g. making shopping lists in role-play, drawing the models they build or using clipboards and pens to record things they find outdoors.

Maths area

Gives children a chance to practise their developing skills in counting objects, recognising numbers (e.g. by making number jigsaws) and explain their mathematical ideas. They also investigate shapes and measurement, and learn mathematical vocabulary.

Role Play area

Areas set up to look like a shop, house, vet’s clinic etc. Allow children to use their imagination to act out situations related to their lives, and help them to think about the jobs that people do. These areas are very important for developing children’s speech and vocabulary.

Small World area

Using small figures, animals and landscapes gives children the opportunity to tell stories and act out real life situations, developing communication skills and imagination.

Construction area

As children build models they develop problem solving skills, learn to make choices about tools and materials, and learn about shape and measurement. Getting a model just right requires patience and resilience.

Art area

When children paint, print and make collages they are not only developing their creativity, but also building fine-motor control which they will need for writing.

Play-dough area

Squeezing and rolling play-dough develops muscles in little hands and encourages imagination and creativity. Helping to make our own playdough teaches children about changes in materials.

Sand area

Building with sand gives children an opportunity to make decisions (e.g.how wet does the sand need to be?) as well as allowing them to create imaginary landscapes and make up stories about what happens there.

Water area

Although it can be messy, this area is important for developing hand/eye coordination as children pour and squirt water. They learn to use vocabulary related to measurements and count and estimate quantities. The water can also spark their imagination by becoming the sea, a pond or a doll’s bath.

Investigation area

Children are natural scientists, always curious and needing to know “Why?”. Investigation areas help them to observe objects and living things and  ask and answer questions about them. They learn about how things work, and bout changes over a period of time.

Large equipment area

Climbing and balancing equipment, wheeled vehicles, hoppers etc. Help children to develop strength and control. This is important for fitness, but also children who can perform large movements with good control find it easier to progress to smaller movements such as writing.


No matter which area they are working in children are constantly developing:

* social skills - learning to form friendships, share and cooperate

* communication skills - learning to express their needs and opinions, listen to others and understand the language around them

* physical skills - learning to control movement and manipulate equipment.

Our curriculum also supports the “Characteristics of effective learning” which are part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.

They are

*Playing and exploring

 *Active learning

*Creating and thinking critically