Early Years Foundation Stage

What does the Foundation Stage look like at Jerry Clay Academy?

The Foundation Stage follows a unique curriculum that enables every child to have the best possible start in life. We understand that children develop from different starting points and will be working at different stages to one another in the early years and we believe that our curriculum celebrates this. At Jerry Clay Academy we know that children bring their own very unique experiences and interests into our school and we believe that it is our role to bring these out and to develop them even further. We offer a personalised curriculum that follows the interests of each individual. We believe that children in the Early Years have a powerful voice so therefore we use their ideas to help plan their future learning. We know that children learn best when they are given practical and first-hand experiences.


Key principles of the Foundation Stage

  1. Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
  2. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
  3. Children learn and develop well in enabling environments in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and
  4. Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.


The importance of learning through play in the EYFS

Providing high quality planned experiences for children’s play is an important way for adults to support children’s learning that is both enjoyable and challenging. When children play, they are learning at the highest level. Play can extend certain areas of their learning – for example, developing language skills by promoting talk between children or introducing new vocabulary that they use and act out in their play. One example of a planned experience for older children in the EYFS would be setting up a health centre in a classroom. Children enjoy finding out about stethoscopes and Xrays, role playing different jobs, diagnosing a sore throat and even bandaging a pretend broken arm. Such a playful approach to learning builds on children’s interests and responds to their ideas for play and also allows scope for structured activities to teach specific skills and knowledge.


The 7 areas of learning in the EYFS

There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS. 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, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • communication and language;
  • physical development; and
  • personal, social and emotional development. We also provide support for children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
  • literacy;
  • mathematics;
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design


Prime Areas of Learning

  • Communication and language development involves 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 involves providing opportunities for young 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 choices in relation to food.
  • Personal, social and emotional development involves 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; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


Specific Areas of Learning

  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write using our Read, Write Inc. programme. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the world involves 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 involves 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.


Starting Points for Learning in the EYFS

We feel it is important that we provide inspiring starting points for children’s learning which provoke the children to take the lead in their learning.


Starting points each term are as follows:

Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
Marvellous Me Into the Woods Frozen Planet The Circle of Life Under the Sea Miniature Worlds


Safety in our EYFS classroom

EYFS Curriculum Overview

Parent Guide for Children EYFS