St Michael’s, Church of England, VA, Primary and Nursery School

Early Years

Learning and teaching in nursery and reception classes is underpinned by the statutory framework for the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage). Children grow and develop towards the Early Learning Goals.

Planning for this curriculum is informed by practitioners’ observations of children’s interests, progress and enthusiasms, defined as ‘characteristics of effective learning’. These are

  • playing and exploring
  • active learning
  • creating and thinking critically.

If children move into Year 1 without having reached the Early Learning Goals they continue to be taught in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.  Transition to the Year 1 curriculum does not happen at a point in time but rather when children have reached that stage in their development.

Children will start in nursery or Reception having had a range of different experiences. We consider their individual needs and achievements and plan a range of learning experiences that will help them make progress. Well-planned play is a key way in which children learn with enjoyment and challenge, both within the indoor and outdoor learning environments.

We make sure children feel comfortable and cared for, that they can grow confident, feel valued and be able to make long lasting relationships. The curriculum is planned around seven areas of learning and development. All areas are important and inter-connected.

Prime areas

  • Communication and Language Development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


Specific areas

  • Literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive Arts and Design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music and movement.