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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.


Early Years (EYFS 2021 Framework)


Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.


The EYFS (2021) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.


The EYFS seeks to provide:


• quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind


• a secure foundation through planning for the learning and development of each individual child, and assessing and reviewing what they have learned regularly


• partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers


• equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported


Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years settings. These are:


• every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured


 • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships

 • 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.


 • importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. (See “the characteristics of effective teaching and learning” at paragraph 1.15). The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).


There are seven areas of learning and development three prime and four specific that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.


Three prime areas:

Communication and Language now only has two goals instead of three (Listening, Attention, and Understanding is one; Speaking is the other). It includes more focus on adult-child interactions.

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, do action songs and share daily story time with your children and books from other cultures using a rich range of vocabulary.

Physical Development is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. With a greater focus on the link between gross and fine motor skills. 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.


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 and pencil control.  They can also increase their independence as they get dressed and undressed like putting on their own coats and doing up zips.


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 respect. self-care, cognitive development and healthy eating.

How parents can help at home- examples:

Share your children ‘s social as well as practical achievements enabling them to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage their emotions, to develop a positive sense and confidence in their own abilities of self like – learning to look after their bodies, toileting needs, sleeping in their bed, going dancing, football or swimming.  Encourage your children to play games that involve turn-taking. 



Four specific areas:




It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before 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.




Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built.


In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.


How parents can help at home- examples:

Encourage your children to count things and repeat the last number. For example: “1, 2, 3 cars”. Point out the number of things whenever possible; so, rather than just chairs, apples or children say two chairs, three apples, four children. Provide objects in different sizes and encourage to talk about shapes and patterns.


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, important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. Children to visit parks, libraries and museums, talk about the 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 and will have the opportunity to express themselves in their home language.

Children use technology skills such as joining, folding, cutting and building.

We support children with sensory impairment by providing supplementary experience and information to enhance their learning about the world around them. We use parents’ knowledge to extend children’s experiences of the world. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.


How parents can help at home- examples - 

Talk to your children about the natural world changing season- Spring, Summer, Autumn, winter. Make treasure baskets with different textures, sounds smells and tastes. Explore different places like the beach, woodlands, walking through tall grass, splashing in puddles and looking for minibeasts.

Encourage your children to talk about differences they notice between people and families, skin colour, hair types and 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 about routines such as washing hands, or when you are out for a walk. Encourage your children to listen to and investigate environment sounds and collect twigs, leaves, and grasses. Talk to your children about artists from across times and cultures. Let them have ago at painting with different material and try colour-mixing techniques.





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

Miss Mary-Jane Marshall       Assistant Manager

Miss Amy Bishop                     Assistant Manager


Pre-school - 01827 250903    email:


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.                                         (July 2023)