Early Years

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum sets the standards for the learning, development and care of your child, in the Foundation Stage, here at St John’s.

Our Early Years consists of a Nursery Class and a Reception Class. Through the Foundation Stage curriculum your child will develop a broad range of skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the National Curriculum and Key Stage One.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is broken down into 7 different areas of learning.  These are as follows:

  • Communication and language
  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Expressive arts and design
  • Understanding the world

The first three areas are known as ‘prime areas’ and are our main focus as these areas lay the foundations necessary for success in the other four, known as ‘specific areas’.  Over the course of the year we will provide a wide range of materials and experiences that will support and enhance your child’s skills and knowledge in all 7 areas.  Through continuous observation we will create ‘next steps’ for each child, ensuring all staff know how best to best support individuals in the class to reach their full potential.


Our Reception class now have their very own Twitter feed – follow them @SJTDReception 


How we deliver the Early Years Curriculum 

Direct Teaching

Four carpet sessions are planned each day for both Nursery and Reception classes. These sessions are timed and planned to meet the needs of the children. Morning carpet sessions include the register, date, timetable and word of the day linked to the children’s topic. The final carpet session of each day is story time in both classes. The remaining sessions are dedicated to different areas of learning in the Early Years curriculum. Each term, a topic has been chosen that reflects children’s interests. High quality core texts have been chosen that link with these topics. Many carpet sessions throughout the term are linked to the topic.

Communication and Language features heavily in EYFS carpet sessions to address the low starting points children join us with in this area of the curriculum. Physical development is also planned for weekly in Nursery, with the rest of the carpet sessions dedicated to specific areas of the EYFS curriculum. Phonics is taught weekly in Nursery, focusing on phase one in the whole class carpet sessions and moving into phase two for children who are ready. In Reception, phonics teaching occurs daily moving from phase one to phase three or four by the end of the year, depending on children’s readiness. The remaining carpet sessions in Reception are planned around the specific areas of the curriculum including modelled Reading, Writing and Maths sessions. Reception have weekly Helicopter Story sessions to develop both their Literacy and their Communication and Language skills. Reception also have discrete PE and music sessions each week. EYFS classes visit Myatt’s Field Park weekly to deepen their understanding of the natural world. Both EYFS classes have weekly RE sessions based on the SDBE unit for the term.

Children with additional needs also receive planned interventions to meet their needs. In Nursery, children with Communication and Language needs are part of Chatterbugs intervention groups. While children in Reception with Speech and Language needs are part of groups set up by the Speech and Language therapist and run by a TA.

Teaching in the Moment

Driven by the aim to raise engagement levels in Early Years, we undertook a change in approach to Continuous Provision in Nursery and Reception. The environment is arranged so that all pupils can select and access all resources throughout the day both inside and outside. Children direct their learning, while highly-skilled practitioners teach within the child’s play by modelling language, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, providing a narrative for what they are doing and facilitating further learning opportunities for children. The day is arranged so that carpet sessions, which include pre-planned adult-led interactions, are timetabled for the start and end of the morning and afternoon thus allowing a long, uninterrupted period of child-led learning throughout both morning and afternoon sessions. Each child is a ‘focus child’ once every half term which results in a greater number of observations during that week. During the rest of the term, poignant moments are recorded for each child. These observations are recorded in each child’s learning journey book. Parents and Carers contribute to this book through home learning activities, ‘wow moments’ and the planning sheet for the ‘focus child’ weeks.

Maths in Our Early Years

Maths is everywhere and children develop their mathematical understanding in a variety of ways. The pictures below show the children in our Reception recognising patterns, doubling and halving and counting using money.


Outside Learning

Botanists in the making in our Reception Class – Observational drawings in Brandon Gardens.