St. Gabriel's Catholic Primary School

Early Years Foundation Stage

What is play?


Children are the foundation of the world’s future. Children have played at all times throughout history and in all cultures. Play, along with the basic needs of nutrition, health, shelter and education is vital to develop the potential of all children.

Play is communication and expression, combining thought and action; it gives satisfaction and a feeling of achievement. Play is instinctive, voluntary and spontaneous. Play helps children develop physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Play is a means of learning to live, not a mere of passing of time.


The New Early Years (EYFS 2014) Framework


Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and environments.


The EYFS (2014) sets out its purpose and highlights the overarching principles that should shape practice in all early years settings:

These four themes of the EYFS underpin all the guidance:  A Unique Child + Positive Relationships +Enabling Environment = Learning and development


There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.

Three prime areas are:


1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development


Within a supportive environment children will be encouraged 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 have confidence in their own abilities.


Children will develop their independence by choosing their own activities and resources.


They will develop their social skills enabling them to mix and make friends with other children in the group.


How parents can help at home- examples:

Share your children ‘s social as well as practical achievements with the setting – like sleeping in their bed, going dancing, football or swimming. Encourage your children to play games that involve turn-taking.

2. Physical Development


A range of equipment and opportunities both indoors and outdoors allows children to develop confidence and enjoyment in the use and development of their own bodily skills. While increasing control and co-ordination and an awareness of space and others.


They are supported in the development of fine motor skills required to use appropriate tools including pencils and scissors and to handle small objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with increasing precision.


Provide time to support children’s understanding of how exercise, eating, sleeping and hygiene promote good health.


How parents can help at home- examples:

Encourage your children to play throwing, rolling and catching a ball. Encourage your children to have a go at threading – cotton reels, beads or pasta on to string/wool or playing with dough to help develop their fine motor skills. 


3. Communication and Language


In small and larger groups with other children and adults, the children will be given the 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. Children will be encouraged to talk about their experiences with an increasing vocabulary and fluency and to listen to and respond to stories, songs and rhymes.


How parents can help at home- examples:

Encourage your children to talk about their experiences and give them time to put their thoughts into words.

Sing nursery rhymes and action songs with your children and share stories and book from other cultures.


4. Literacy


Children are encouraged to recognise and learn their names and recognise letters of the alphabet by sound and shape through the ‘Letters and Sounds’ activities and ‘Jolly Phonics Scheme’. All the children in the group will have a library book of their own choice, for shared reading at home.


Books, comics, and CDs are available everyday in a well stocked book corner. This allows the children to enjoy books and other written materials and learn to use them in a correct way, both for reference and as a source of stories and pictures. They learn that words and pictures carry meaning.

Children are provided with activities to experiment with mark-making, drawing and writing.

How parents can help at home- examples:

Encourage your children to recognise their own name.

Encourage your children to model mark-making and writing – shopping list, messages and listen and support what children tell you about the marks they make.


5. Mathematics


Through practical activities the children become familiar with developing their understanding of mathematics in a broad context such as counting, matching, sorting, sequencing, and ordering


They learn the language of mathematics to describe shape, size, volume and quantity and as they develop, they are encouraged to learn and begin to understand number value and number recognition. Mathematical activities, songs, rhymes, games and books all help children to learn mathematical operations such as addition.


Recognise the mathematical potential of the outdoor environment through their physical activity. Use mathematical terms during play and daily routines.


How parents can help at home- examples:

Encourage your children to use number names and language during play – such as counting pieces in a jigsaw, comparing the size of teddy bear – big and little. Ask your children questions such as – How many cars have you got? Have you got enough to give me two?


6. Understanding of the World


Our safe and stimulating environment allows children to explore and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials. They learn to explore and observe features of objects and substances, recognising similarities, differences, patterns and changes and to talk about their findings and sometimes to record them, also to ask questions to find out how and why things happen and work.

Children talk about where they live, their community, their families and past and present events in their own lives and learn the purpose of some features in the area. Children are encouraged to care for and to show respect towards the feelings of others.


Children learning English as an additional language will have the opportunity to express themselves in their home language.

They use technology where appropriate and use such skills as joining, folding, cutting and building.

A well-resourced computer corner gives the children the opportunity to begin to understand the basis of ICT, and to use a mouse and computer keyboard and have fun exploring a range of appropriate software.

Support children with sensory impairment by providing supplementary experience and information to enhance their learning about the world around them.

Use parents’ knowledge to extend children’s experiences of the world.

How parents can help at home- examples Talk to your children about the changing season- Spring, Summer, Autumn, winter.

Encourage your children to taste foods from other cultures


Expressive Arts and Design


All children are given the opportunity to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own feelings and ideas and to create something that is special to them. Art equipment such as glue, paint, crayons, pencils, clay, play dough, natural, discarded and man-made resources provide the children with opportunity to explore shape, colour and texture and develop their creative skills.


Children are encouraged to develop their imagination and to listen and observe and develop creativity through activities such as: - music, art, imaginative play, music and movement and drama.


How parents can help at home- examples:

Encourage your children to sing songs when you are out for a walk.

Encourage your children to listen to and investigate environment sounds and collect twigs, leaves and grasses.


Self Evaluation


We complete an ‘Self Evaluation Form’, to look at our progress, development and learning to determine what we do well and what areas still need improvement. We would also appreciate your input, so from time to time we may ask you to complete questionnaires.


Thank you for reading our Information Booklet. If you have any questions or comments concerning the information that you have read, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please contact: -


Mrs. Miller (Manager)

Mrs. Konopka (Deputy Manager)

Miss Mary-Jane Marshall (Assistant Manager)


Pre-School - 01827 250903    Mobile – 07980929259 



Copies of our Polices and Procedure will be given to parents throughout the school year and displayed on our Parents Notice Board.


The full copies of our Policies and Procedures are available for Parents to read at anytime, some policies are available on St. Gabriel’s Catholic Primary School website – link pre-school for parents to read.