Home Page

Early Years

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 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.  The Early Years Curriculum fosters three characteristics of effective learning:


  1. Playing and exploring – engagement

  2. Finding out and exploring

  3. Playing with what they know

  4. Being willing to ‘have a go’


  5. Active learning – motivation

  6. Being involved and concentrating

  7. Keep trying

  8. Enjoying achieving what they set out to do


  1. Creating and Thinking Critically

  2. Having their own ideas

  3. Making links

  4. Choosing ways to do things


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 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.



This area of learning and development focuses on numbers and 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 everyday 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.