Early Years Foundation Stage – Nursery and Reception

‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential… 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’

Source: Statutory Framework for EYFS (2022).

At Lyonsdown School, EYFS refers to the Nurserys and Reception classes. Our Early Years spaces provide a safe, secure environment for the girls in which to interact and explore rich and diverse learning opportunities.

Good early practice provides a variety of experiences. We believe that children learn in a variety of ways; through investigation, experimentation, listening, watching, social interaction, questioning and exploring.   Each girl at Lyonsdown, has her own individual journey laying the foundations for future learning.  Developing skills and understanding of the world around them through a range of planned and child initiated activities both in and out of the classroom.

Early Years Principles

There are four main principles in the EYFS.

  • Every child is unique
  • Children learn to be independent through positive relationships
  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments
  • Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates

The EYFS is split into seven areas of learning and development.

Three Prime areas- Personal, social and emotional development, Physical development, Communication and Language.

Four specific areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design.

Lyonsdown staff recognise that the Characteristics of Effective Learning underpin all seven areas of learning, these are:

  • Playing and Exploring – finding out and being willing to have a go.
  • Active Learning – being an active learner, getting involved, concentrating and keep trying.
  • Creating and Thinking Critically- having their own ideas and choosing ways to do things.

Throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage, the girls will work towards achieving the 17 Early Learning Goals. Please see the areas of learning to find out more about these goals.

Teaching and Learning in our Early Years

The Lyonsdown approach to the EYFS supports ‘purposeful play’.  Encouraging independence, exploration and creativity, the learning environment (both indoors and outdoors) is organised accordingly. Areas for the girls to enjoy include:

  • Loose parts
  • Mud Kitchen
  • Large scale water challenge
  • Indoor and outdoor creative stations
  • Sand and Water trays
  • Book area/quiet area
  • Imaginative/role play
  • Construction area
  • Computing equipment
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Interest areas and displays
  • Equipment and activities to develop gross and fine motor skills

The learning environment is flexible, in response to the girl’s changing interests and abilities.  Emphasis is placed on adults in the environment listening to and talking to each girl as she plays, in order to judge the right time to step in, model language, model play or ask questions to deepen understanding and thinking.

Throughout the EYFS we recognise that girls develop and learn in different ways and at different rates, we provide each child time to learn through her environment using the toys and games available.  We help them develop their fine motor control, pincer grip, hand-eye co-ordination etc. through threading, using pegs, construction toys and various art and craft activities, to foster the ability to hold a pencil well.

The girls are given many opportunities for free play, guided by the staff who discuss with them what they are doing and how they are going to develop their ideas.  This encourages girls to extend vocabulary and develop communication skills. Large group activities such as singing, music and movement, games and action songs all help build confidence and communication skills.

We place high importance on circle time activities, which helps all girls develop their listening skills, increase concentration and build confidence.  We also instil in the children the concept of good manners, respecting others and being aware of feelings, both our own and those of others.

Reading and writing are introduced through phonics. Sounds are learned with a multi-sensory approach using body movement, ears, eyes and speech to help memory. Number work is approached in a similar fashion with songs, rhymes and games.

Each girl is treated as an individual.  If a child is happy, content and given the opportunity to develop their skills, then they will flourish within their environment.

Parental Partnership

A strong partnership with parents/carers is of paramount importance.  We aim to establish and maintain effective links between the EYFS staff and home in order to provide appropriate support of each girl’s learning and development.  We want parents/carers to feel welcome, relaxed and involved in the EYFS and aim to achieve this by:

  • Before a child starts in September we run settling in sessions in which parents and their daughters meet the key worker/class teacher and are given the opportunity to see their new classroom
  • Encouraging continual dialogue between parents/carers and staff.
  • Sharing each girl’s individual learning through the online journal Tapestry.
  • Providing good quality information about all aspects of the EYFS classes, practice and policies.  This is published on our website and given to parents when they join the school.
  • Providing opportunities for parents/carers to learn about the EYFS curriculum through meetings and literature sent home.
  • Class teachers being available for informal consultations at the start and end of each day by appointment.
  • Parents are offered the opportunity for formal consultations in the Autumn and Spring Term.
  • Written reports are sent home at the end of the Autumn and Summer Term.
  • Summer Term reports for Reception will inform parents about their daughter’s achievement with regards to the Early Learning Goals.  This information is also passed on to the Year 1 teacher as part of our transition process.

Most importantly, we want you and your daughter to enjoy our school as much as we do and become part of the Lyonsdown family.

How children are integrated into the EYFS classes

We aim to cater for each girl’s individual needs.  Our integration of the children is in line with the whole school policies for equal opportunities and supported by our PSHEE curriculum.  In addition to this, as an EYFS team we aim to provide support for EAL children and children with special educational needs with the support of the SENDCO.

“I enjoy playing with my friends”.