01889 228735

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

With God in Our Hearts We Love and Learn.

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Learning in Early Years


The Early Years Foundation Stage is a play based Curriculum. Children learn through play!  


I would love to tell you a little about learning in Early Years. Our team is very enthusiastic and passionate about early learning! We love teaching and playing and so the Early Years Foundation Stage is the perfect place for us!  

The Curriculum 

The Early Years Foundation Stage has been updated this school year (2021). 

The seven areas of learning remain the same. 

7 Areas of Learning

 Communication and Language 
English as an additional language 
Personal, Social and Emotional Development 
Physical development 
Understanding the world 
Expressive arts and design

The main changes to the updated curriculum are...

-The new curriculum allows the adult to spend more time in play, developing and impacting learning as it happens. Before staff members were being required to take lots of observations which took them out of play. Now adults take observations of new learning and new achievements. Teacher assessment is taken into consideration, we know your children from playing with them and talking to them, we are always assessing where they are in their learning and planning develop their skills and learning. This is shown in our planning.

-The new curriculum has focused statements for Birth-3, 3-4 and Reception. This has replaced smaller bracket statements, for example 22-36 months. This meant the curriculum for one class could be very varied. Now we look at the statements for our class bracket and we make sure we plan to teach to meet the statements. We also make sure children have the prior knowledge needed by creating long term plans across our phase to ensure children have the tools and skills they need to make good progress. 

- Assessment at the end of each class will look like 'on track' and 'not on track'. If you child has demonstrated good confidence of the statements in a range of situations they will be assed as 'on track'. If your child is working toward the statement or is relying on support from the adult, they will be assessed as 'not on track'. It is important to note, all children learn at their own pace! We make sure that we give your child the support they need to make progress within their own learning journey, whilst making sure they access the learning for their class. We give interventions during play and also plan specific interventions where needed. We offer challenges to children showing confidence. By delivering learning through Objective Led Planning we are able to target your child on a one-to-one basis to apply their learning, making sure to offer intervention and challenge where needed. All children should feel challenged within their ability. 

If you would like to look at the Early Years Foundation Stage Development Matters, the link is below.  I have inserted a print screen from the document so you can see how it looks. 
If you have any questions please ask! 

Development Matters - Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage (publishing.service.gov.uk)


Below I have inserted part of the document to show you how it looks. I have taken parts of the Physical Development guidance. You can see the first image is part of the Birth to Three guidance, second image 3-4 and third image is Reception. 

As you can see at the top the age/ class is noted. To the left are the statements of expected development and to the right is some guidance on how to support, teach and facilitate this learning. 


National Curriculum Links

We ensure that as the children complete their Early Years Journey they have the foundation skills needed to prepare them for their next step in learning. We provide children with experiences and practical learning so they can build upon this throughout KS1 and then onto KS2! To see how Early Years links into the National Curriculum subjects please visit the subject pages.

Writing in the EYFS

In Early Years children will be writing for purpose in play. At the start of their journey this might look like mark making whilst singing Nursery Rhymes building up to Reception where children would be writing for purpose in their play, examples may be instructions or stories to their play. Adults will scaffold writing in play and promote a love of writing and mark making.

In Nursery, children develop their mark making skills. They learn to make lines and marks with a pencil and begin to copy the letters of their name by themselves. 

In Reception, children will start to learn how to form letters correctly. They will be encouraged to use their knowledge of phonics to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. By the end of the year, they will be expected to write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others


Early reading begins with an introduction to Phonics in Nursery. Children continue their phonics journey throughout Reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (where necessary). Please see the 'Phonics' tab for more information about Phonics at St. Joseph's. 

Reading in the EYFS

In Nursery, children become familiar with books and how to handle them. They are encouraged  to retell stories in different ways, for example using puppets or acting out the story. 'Story time' takes place daily.

In Reception, children are taught Early Reading strategies which include applying phonics skills, using the pictures, reading on, going back to a word and re-reading a sentence. Children will start to recognise sounds, learn to blend and then learn to read and understand simple sentences. One-to-one reading sessions take place regularly and reading skills are modelled by an adult on a daily basis.

 Reading Approach Butterflies.docxDownload
 Reading Approach caterpillars nursery.docxDownload
 Reading Approach in Reception.docxDownload
Showing 1-3 of 3

Maths in the Early Years

Maths in Early Years is very practical. Children are taught skills practically and then supported and encouraged to demonstrate their Maths skills in play. It is important that Maths for children at this age is meaningful and relatable, adults play with children and scaffold Maths challenges and questions into play to give context and purpose to learning. Children build on their skills throughout the foundation stage following a long term plan we have created. Our long term plan is planned from the Early Years Foundation Stage and ensures progression.

In our Caterpillars Nursery children explore and develop an understanding of concepts such as big/ small, in/ out, up/ down, lots / all gone or none left. Children learn number names and counting patterns through songs and start to develop Mathematic language of number and shape through play.

In our Butterflies Nursery the children continue their Maths journey, they will lean about 2D shape, numbers to 10, pattern and measures including capacity and length. They will deepen their understanding of counting and number, they will compare two objects or quantities, children will begin to learn to subitise. We will continue to build and develop Mathematic vocabulary. Reasoning skills at this stage would begin with sorting objects based on different criteria. Practitioners may start to ask ‘Why?’ ‘How do you know?’

In Reception we will begin to explore number on a deeper level. Children will learn to fine more and less than numbers to 10, they will learn number bonds, addition and subtraction using practical methods which will be moved onto pictorial and mental methods. They will learn to double and halve numbers to ten. Children will build confidence in counting beyond 20. Children will develop their understanding of Mathematic vocabulary which will include add, more, equal to, equals, minus, take away, share equally, total, less and more. Children will build on their knowledge of shape, pattern and measure and will use an expanding vocabulary to compare and describe. Children will be challenged in their thinking by answering questions like “Which is the odd one out? How do you know? Can you estimate? What is the same as? Why do you think that?”

Support Maths in Nursery and Reception by counting with your child and drawing/showing them the numbers 1-10. Count whenever you can so that your child becomes familiar with the number names, sounds and order. This is a fun and engaging way to develop number understanding and it really will make a difference to your child's learning.

It couldn't be easier to count steps for example when you're walking to school or out in the garden so count steps, hops and jumps- it's all beneficial! As a challenge, try counting backwards or starting from a different number to zero (0).

Look out for numbers within an everyday environment.. price labels, bar codes, number plates, doors, signs, numbers are everywhere! So are shapes, search for them and point them out!

Playing games with a dice will help children become confident in subitising numbers to 6. Board games are also great for counting spaces, using language about how many more spaces needed and counting totals.