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Early Years

Early Years Curriculum

In the Early Years Foundation Stage children learn best when they experience learning first hand, through meaningful interactions with others, through physical activity and through play. The Early Years curriculum emphasises three prime areas of learning:


The prime areas are:


  • Communication and language (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 (providing opportunities for our 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 food choices).

  • Personal, social and emotional development (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; and to have confidence in their own abilities).


The specific areas are:


  • Literacy (reading and writing – encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write).

  • Mathematics (counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, describing shapes, spaces and measure). 

  • Understanding the world (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 (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, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology).


Learning in our setting is organised through a range of approaches and provides a balance of child initiated and adult-led activities:


  • Planned focused activities where adults work with a small group of children at a time. We differentiate the activity to meet the needs of every child participating.

  • Small group teaching of early reading and writing through a phonics based programme called Read Write Inc. Phonics

  • Whole class teaching for short periods of time such as shared storytime, direct teaching (for example of maths and writing), songs and rhymes, discussions.

  • Opportunities for teachers to work alongside children as they develop their own interests in particular areas of the curriculum.


The Early Years’ team work closely to deliver a curriculum which provides a balance across the areas of learning from nursery to the end of the reception year.


Observations are undertaken regularly, which then inform the Foundation Stage Profile. This is a national assessment tool and allows teachers to summarise children’s progress towards the Early Learning Goals. Through the use of regular assessments, we plan and deliver learning opportunities according to children's needs. These assessments allow us to adjust the teaching programme for individual children and groups.

*****Silverdale Primary Academy Learning Units 2020/2021 (link)*****

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