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Early Years Curriculum



Play is the beginning of knowledge.


  • Our Intent
    In the Early Years at Prince Bishops Primary School, children learn and play together in a caring environment and are offered opportunities and experiences which develop their skills and knowledge, foster independence and a love of learning, and prepare them well for the next phase in their education.
  • The Curriculum
    When starting at Prince Bishops Community Primary School, children enter the Early Years which runs from Nursery (for 2, 3 and 4 year olds) to Reception (for 4 and 5 year olds).  The document ‘Early Years Statutory Framework’ covers the education and care of all children in early years from birth to five years of age including children with special educational needs and disabilities.  It sets out the correct welfare requirements and ratios for teaching young children and states that education should follow four principles:
    1. A unique child – every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
    2. Positive relationships – children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
    3. Enabling environments – children learn and develop well in enabling environments in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners, parent and carers.
    4. Learning and development – children develop and learn in different ways.  Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.  These areas form the Early Years curriculum.
    The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
  • Characteristics of Effective Learning
    The Early Years Curriculum fosters three characteristics of effective learning:
    Playing and Exploring - curiosity, representing ideas and experiences.
    Active Learning - concentration, persistence, sense of achievement
    Creativity and Critical Thinking - having own ideas, making links, reviewing
  • Prime and Specific Areas of Learning
    In the Early Years curriculum there are three prime areas of learning:
    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
    • Communication and Language
    • Physical Development
    There are four specific areas of learning:
    • Literacy
    • Mathematics
    • Understanding the World
    • Expressive Arts and Design
  • Personal Social and Emotional Development
    This area of learning and development focuses on making relationships, developing self-confidence and self-awareness, and managing feelings and behaviour.  Throughout the Early Years, pupils are encouraged to become independent learners.  They will develop confidence in making choices, forming positive relationships with other children and adults, sharing and playing cooperatively.  Children are supported to express and control their feelings and emotions, to develop respect and consideration for other people’s needs and will learn to follow rules. 
  • Communication and Language
    Communication and Language comprises listening and attention, understanding and speaking.  Children are provided with lots of opportunities to develop their language and extend their vocabulary.  They learn to listen attentively to stories and conversations, and to understand and follow instructions.
  • Physical Development
    This area of learning and development encompasses moving and handling as well as health and self-care.  Pupils are given opportunities to develop control and co-ordination of their large and small movements.  Large movements include those used in running, jumping, climbing, balancing, throwing, catching and kicking. Small movements are used when handling tools such as scissors and writing implements, and during activities such as manipulating malleable materials and threading.  Children will develop an understanding of the importance of good health, exercise and a healthy diet.  They will be encouraged to become independent with managing their own hygiene and personal needs, including going to the toilet and dressing themselves.
  • Literacy
    Literacy focuses on reading and writing and pupils have access to a wide range of books and opportunities for mark-making and writing.  They are taught to read some common irregular words and to use their phonic knowledge to decode regular words.  For younger children, pre-writing skills are developed through a range of media such as pencils, paint, crayons, foam and sand.  Older children are taught to write some common words and eventually simple sentences.


  • Mathematics

This area of learning and development focuses on developing a deep understanding of numbers and number patterns as well as shape, space and measures.  Through play and practical, first-hand experiences, children develop an understanding of mathematical concepts and language.  Pupils are taught to count objects, order numbers and to add and subtract numbers.  They will have opportunities to develop and use every day and mathematical language to talk about shape, size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money, and will learn to solve problems.


  • Understanding the World
    This teaches children about people and communities, the world and technology.  Children are given opportunities to talk about past and present events in their own lives and to know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, including other families, communities and traditions.  When exploring the world around them, pupils find out about their own immediate environment, investigate changes and make observations of animals and plants.   Children are introduced to information technology through using computers, tablets, robotic toys, cameras and microphones and are taught to select and use technology for particular purposes.
  • Expressive Arts and Design
    Expressive arts and design encourages children to explore and use media and materials, and to use their imagination.  Pupils sing songs, make music, dance, and use and explore a variety of materials tools and techniques.  They have opportunities to experiment with colour, design, texture, form and function and to use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways.  Children can represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.



Assessment of children is carried out daily with staff working and playing alongside children and making regular observations of what children do and say. Photographs, jottings, annotated pieces of work are collected to record children’s individual progress and inform future plans for learning. We keep this evidence in individual children’s learning journals. Reception children also have a Maths book and Phonics book in which they record their learning.


  • Learning Journals
    Each child’s learning journal builds up during Early Years to become a lovely document showing how your child has grown and progressed in our care.  We encourage parents to become involved with learning journals by sharing observations, stories and photographs about your child from home.
  • Key Person
    Each child is Early Years is allocated a ‘Key Person’.  For Reception pupils, the Key Person is their class teacher. Your child’s key person has responsibility for a group of children and their role is to support your child’s emotional wellbeing by caring for them.  They are there to help your child feel safe and secure and to settle into the environment. The Key Person responds to your child’s needs by planning and delivering activities and experiences which will help them to learn and develop new skills.  They also observe your child as they play and write about what they have seen in the child’s learning journal.  Each term, they assess your child and tell you about the progress they have made.
    When your child starts school, their Key Person will write to parents to introduce themselves.  They would love to know what your child is interested in outside of school, and what they have been doing.  You can let your child’s Key Person know by sending in photos. 
    The Key Person is the first point of contact for anything you need us to know about your child.  You can catch your child’s Key Person at the beginning or end of the session, telephone the school, or make an appointment to arrange a meeting.  They also provide support for parents with information or advice about how to help your child learn and develop at home, and with specific advice on issues such as potty training or bedtime routines etc.


  • Your Child's Progress in Reception

Within the first six weeks of starting Reception class, pupils will undertake the Reception Baseline Assessment. Further details can be found at Formal parents' consultations are held in the autumn and spring terms and parents receive a written report in July. These meetings give parents an opportunity to look at children's work recorded in their work books and learning journal. Teachers will discuss children's progress, highlight areas for development and set targets for future learning. At the end of Reception, pupils are assessed for the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. If pupils are working at expected levels in all of the Early Learning Goals (ELGs), they will be given a Good Level of Development (GLD).


  • Your Child’s Progress in Nursery

Formal parents’ consultations are held in the autumn and spring terms and parents receive a written progress summary or school report in July.  Observations of children's learning experiences are collated in their individual learning journals.  Your child’s Key Person is also available at the beginning and end of sessions to chat to you about your child’s progress.


  • Progress Check for Two-Year-Olds

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requires that parents and carers must be supplied with a short, written summary of their child’s development in the three prime learning and development areas of the EYFS: Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development; and Communication and Language; when the child is aged between 24-36 months.


The aims of the progress check are to:

  • review a child’s development in the three prime areas of the EYFS;
  • ensure that parents have a clear picture of their child’s development;
  • enable practitioners to understand the child’s needs and plan activities to meet them in the setting;
  • enable parents to understand the child’s needs and, with support from practitioners, enhance development at home;
  • note areas where a child is progressing well and identify any areas where progress is less than expected; and
  • describe actions the school intends to take to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate).