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 one combined Nursery and 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 EYFS Curriculum

EYFS Curriculum


In creating our curriculum for EYFS, we have considered
• the cultural capital our children bring with them to our setting and how we can build on this
• local contextual information
• trends in our school data including baseline and SEND data
• our aspirations for our pupils in later stages of education and careers
• progression of knowledge and skills across and between the Nursery and Reception years

Many of our children have limited access to outside at home  build in weekly visits to explore the natural world in school garden/Myatt’s Field Park and plan for daily time to develop gross motor skills outside visiting the big playground where there is more space for running, scooting, riding bikes, playing with parachutes, using trim trail.

Our children bring a love of music and dance when they join our setting  develop these areas in curriculum beyond ELG

Many of our children come from different cultures & speak different languages  learn about and celebrate these through our curriculum

10% of children aged 4-5years old in Lambeth are obese  develop cookery skills to promote healthy eating from young age

On entry, lowest area of learning is Communication and Language. 63% of pupils with SEND have Speech and Language Communication Needs, when combined with the number of pupils already receiving language interventions this is 18% of the whole school systematically planned language throughout areas of continuous provision as well as in direct teaching sessions plus Chatterbugs intervention for Nursery children and NELI for Reception children and Communicate in Print resources used throughout EYFS classes. Our curriculum reflects the milestones suggested in ‘Universally Speaking’ for children aged three, four and five.

Children require access to a range of technologies, both digital and non-digital in their early lives. Exploring with different technologies through play provides opportunities to develop skills that children will go on to develop in their lifetimes. Investigations, scientific inquiry and exploration are essential components of learning about and with technology both digitally and in the natural world. Through technology children have additional opportunities to learn across all areas in both formal and informal ways. Technologies should be seen as tools to learn both from and with, in order to integrate technology effectively within early years practice. To prepare our children for curriculum beyond EYFS and future jobs, we have included Technology as a separate area, focusing largely on programming, recognising that creating with technology takes place within other areas of learning.

To ensure our children have rich opportunities to develop their spatial reasoning skills across shape, space and measure, our curriculum has created this as a separate area of the Mathematics curriculum.

This curriculum has been written consulting guidance from a number of published reports including Non-Statutory Development Matters, Birth to Five Matters, Education Endowment Fund’s Improving Mathematics in EYFS and KS1, NCETM’s Typical Progression Charts for EYFS Maths as well as existing schemes of work such as the White Rose Maths for Reception and conversations with and contributions from specialist PE and Music staff.

How we deliver the Early Years Curriculum 

Direct Teaching
For carpet sessions, the children are split into a Nursery group and a Reception group, each planned for separately and led by a qualified adult.

Four carpet sessions are planned each day for both Nursery and Reception children. 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. We have devised word pyramids for each topic to explicitly teach children.

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 sessions are taught daily starting with phase 2 and reaching phase 4 by the end of the year. The remaining carpet sessions in EYFS are planned around the specific areas of the curriculum including modelled Reading, Writing and Maths sessions. Reception have weekly Tales Toolkit storytelling sessions to develop both their Literacy and their Communication and Language skills. EYFS also has 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.

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, including ‘wow moments’.

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.