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Chiddingstone Church of England School

Educating for life in all its fullness - John 10:10

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) explained


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. It ends when a child enters KS1. The EYFS is the framework by which all children in England have a focus placed on the their well-being and development as they grow and prepare for their entrance into compulsory education. The standards ensure all children will learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. 


In summary, the EYFS comprises:

  • The seven areas of learning and development and the educational programmes (ie the curriculum).
  • The Early Learning Goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of YR.
  • The assessment requirements.


The EYFS framework outlines seven areas of learning and development and educational programmes. There are three prime areas, which are seen as being particularly important for a child's development and future learning. These are:

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


There are four specific areas of learning, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are:

  • Maths
  • Literacy
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design.


In addition, the Characteristics of Teaching and Learning are an important part of the EYFS curriculum and describe how a child learns. The three characteristics are:

  • playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things and "have a go".
  • active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things. 

Our Curriculum


Our curriculum is what we want the children to learn during their time in our reception class. It is based on the statutory EYFS and this gives the framework we build on through the seven areas of learning outlined above. Throughout the year we consider every child's needs and interests to plan challenging and enjoyable activities and experiences through a rich and varied curriculum. We use the Curriculum Maestro creative curriculum to teach through topics that are carefully sequenced, interconnected and progressive. The topics we currently use are:


  • Me and My Community
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Long Ago
  • Animal Safari
  • Ready Steady Grow
  • Big Wide World
  • Moving On


As well as teaching through the above topics, we teach early reading using the Little Wandle phonics programme and we start this during the first term of school. We teach maths using the Maths No Problem scheme with the aim of instilling a deep and secure understanding of maths concepts and this scheme is used throughout the school. The children also take part in weekly Forest School sessions, PE, French and RE lessons and we join the rest of the school for Act of Worship.


Child Initiated Learning


As well as delivering the curriculum through a range of adult led and adult directed activities, an important element of the delivery of the EYFS curriculum is "child initiated learning". Child initiated learning is an important element of the early years and in our school we call this "Children’s Choice". The children can choose to play indoors or outdoors and we have a lovely new canopied area so the children are able to access the outdoors whatever the weather. Child-initiated play has an important role in children's learning and development, because children explore and learn from their own thoughts and ideas through the freedom and creativity that child-initiated play enables. Through play we help and support children to extend their vocabulary and develop their communication skills. 


A greater focus on teaching specific skills will occur as the children progress through Reception year, which will help them prepare for Year 1.


The Early Learning Goals are the level of development the children should be expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS and can be viewed in the attached document. 

Reading and Phonics


Reading is an essential skill for lifelong learning and has a direct effect upon progress in all areas of the curriculum. Children need to learn to read, to then read to learn. In the EYFS we begin our learning to read journey with daily phonics lessons using the validated phonics scheme 'Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised'. Pupils are assessed regularly, throughout the year to ensure that they are making the right progress. The Collins Big Cat Phonics books are used alongside the phonics scheme to provide each pupil with a stage appropriate, decodable, book which directly links to the sounds they are learning in school.


The children also take home books from our class library to share at home and foster a love of reading. We also take part in other activities such as Roald Dahl Day, Word Book Day and one of our termly topics "Once Upon A Time" is directly linked to  developing a love of stories and reading through learning, retelling and acting out familiar and traditional tales. The children all have a Year 6 buddy who they share books with once a week. They are also encouraged to join in with the local library Summer Reading Challenge in the summer before they join us. 


More information on this and how to support your child on their reading journey can be found under the "English" tab on our web page. 

Supporting your child with phonics


Follow the link below to the Little Wandle web page for support with phonics for parents. This also helps you to pronounce the sounds correctly and explains how we teach blending and tricky words.