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St Luke's

Church of England Primary School

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The Early Years Foundation Stage at St Luke's School


The Early Years at St Luke's provides a warm, safe environment for all children both physically and emotionally. It is a place where all learning is valued and where children can lay the foundations for a lifelong love of learning and reach their potential.


This happens through:


  • An imaginative and inviting learning environment that provokes curiosity, stimulates enquiry, provides appropriate risk and challenge, encourages independence, allows children to make decisions and promotes problem solving. This enables children to become self motivated learners and to develop the characteristics of effective learning that are essential for success.
  • A curriculum rooted in play that provides children with meaningful, enjoyable and challenging learning experiences including a core body of knowledge, skills and understanding as a base for future learning.
  • Developing children’s resilience through a focus on building a “growth mindset”.
  • A key person system that is underpinned by a knowledge of attachment theory and ensures all children feel emotionally secure and settled and ready to learn.
  • Adults who are alert to the individual needs and interests of children and respond to these through careful observation and planning that builds on previous knowledge and takes account of children’s next steps in their learning to maximise progress.
  • High quality interactions between adults and all children that encourage sustained shared thinking and allow children to reflect on their learning.
  • Close working with parents and carers, recognising that they are their child’s primary educator and that working together in partnership will provide the best outcomes for children.


How Children Learn in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)


What is the EYFS?


Children in Nursery and Reception follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. This is a framework which supports children’s development from birth to the end of their Reception year. The EYFS is based on 4 important principles.


  • A Unique Child


Principle: Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.


  • Positive Relationships


Principle: Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.


  • Enabling Environments


Principle: The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.


  • Learning and Development


Principle: Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and interconnected.


The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum consists of the Characteristics of Effective Learning and seven areas of learning and development which are interconnected. More information on the EYFS is available here


How do children learn?


Young children learn best through multi sensory play based experiences. All the children in the EYFS at St Luke's learn through a mixture of child and adult initiated play. The classrooms are organised into workshop areas to promote independent learning and children have access to both indoors and outside for most of the day. Learning which takes place outside is of equal value to that which occurs inside and reflects all areas of learning.


How do children learn English and Maths in the Early Years?


Children are introduced to early skills in reading and writing and maths at a developmentally appropriate level. Children’s love of books, stories and rhymes are developed from the moment they enter St Luke's to promote a lifelong love of reading. Children follow the Letters and Sounds programme from Nursery upwards to ensure a structured approach to learning the technical skills of reading using synthetic phonics. We offer a reading workshop for parents to attend in the Autumn term of each year to enable parents to support their children with reading and writing at home. All children are encouraged to be mathematical thinkers and we provide children with concrete mathematical learning experiences that enable them to be secure in basic skills but also to apply these skills in play and other everyday activities.


Planning in Nursery and Reception


In Nursery and Reception medium term planning takes the form of seasonal themes and reflects settling-in, the seasons and time of year, the major festivals and celebrations, favourite stories and the interests of the children. It ensures that all areas and aspects of the curriculum are experienced over the year and identifies learning possibilities (attitudes, knowledge and skills) within each area of learning. These plans are intended to be guidelines and have the flexibility to respond to children’s changing needs and interests.


Autumn Spring Summer
Cycle 1 Into the Woods All about Me In the Garden
Cycle 2 Food and Festivals Imaginary Worlds About Town


Weekly planning is based on observation of children’s learning needs and interests. This ensures each child is offered the experiences s/he needs to access the curriculum fully and ensures a responsive and flexible approach to the curriculum.