Saint Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Early Years (EYFS)

At Saint Joseph’s Catholic Primary School we follow the Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage published on 31 March 2021. Within this framework there are four guiding principles that shape our practice.

These are:  

  1. Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured. 
  2. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. 
  3. Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.  
  4. Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

In both Nursery and Reception there are 7 areas of learning - the prime areas and specific areas. 

Prime Areas

These areas underpin all that we do in the EYFS. These areas lay the foundations for a child's success in all areas of learning.  

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development 
  • Communication and Language 
  • Physical Development

Specific areas

These areas provide the experiences and opportunities to broaden your child's skills and knowledge.  

  • Literacy 
  • Mathematics 
  • Understanding the World 
  • Expressive Arts and Design 

You can click here to view the 'Early Learning Goals' (ELGs). The ELGs summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that we want your child to have gained by the end of the reception year. 

Throughout their time in Nursery and Reception, our children partake in an ambitious curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the Early Learning Goals (ELGs)  

Our curriculum incorporates learning through play, learning by adults modelling, by observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching. It is also important to highlight that our plans are flexible to allow us to respond quickly to children’s new interests and/or needs. 

Teaching and Learning 

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction. 

As children grow older, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led activities to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for Year One.

We believe it is essential to have a balance between adult-led and child-initiated learning in Nursery and Reception. A mixture of adult and child-led learning allows children to practise new skills and take ownership of their learning by applying it in different situations. Carefully planned adult-led activities are important to ensure that children learn specific skills and knowledge. Through children’s carefully structured play, they can practise these skills and we can then see how much of this learning children have embedded. Reception follows a daily timetable which provides set times for adult-led sessions and time for children to learn through continuous provision. Teachers plan for both adult-led and child-initiated sessions based on the children’s needs and requirements to enhance their learning. Staff make on-going assessments of the progress and attainment of each child and use this information to aid future planning.

The Learning Environment 

 Our learning environments are organised to enthuse children to explore and learn securely and safely. The classroom is arranged into learning areas, where children are able to find and locate 

equipment and resources independently. Children have the opportunity to free flow between the Nursery and Reception environments during parts of the day. We plan activities and resources for the children to access indoors and outdoors that help the children to develop in all seven areas of learning. 

We track children as either at the  Emerging or Expected level of development.


 Click here for the EYFS Curriculum map