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Overall Approach for Early Years 

The Early Years Foundation Stage

All children in Foundation classes are taught from the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.

The Foundation Stage starts at birth and is followed by child minders, nurseries and pre-schools and continues until your child leaves Foundation.

The Foundation Stage Curriculum is split into seven areas of learning; three Prime Areas and four Specific Areas. All seven areas of learning are taught in our Foundation Stage classes at St. Andrew’s.

Prime Areas


Communication and Language


Physical Development



(Personal, Social and Emotional Development)

Specific Areas



(Comprehension, Word Reading and Writing)



(Number and Numerical Patterns)


Understanding the World


Expressive Art and Design 

By the end of their time in the Foundation Stage all children in England are expected to have reached a certain level of development. There are 17 statements, under the headings above, called Early Learning Goals (ELGs), which children are assessed against. At the end of the school year parents and carers receive a written report about their child. This report will comment on the child’s level of development in relation to the ELGs. In order to meet a ‘good level of development’ (GLD) they need to meet all the Prime Area and most of the Specific Area ELG statements, as judged by their class teachers.

At St. Andrew’s children are offered rich learning experiences in our Foundation Stage unit. Children learn though play in their ‘Explore and Learn’ sessions and also through adult directed whole class, group and individual learning.

During Explore and Learn time, children are free to explore carefully selected activities linked to our topics and open-ended resources that allow them to follow their own interests and fascinations. Adults in the environment observe what the children say and do in class and provide appropriate next steps to build on their understanding and learning. The teachers in the St. Andrew’s Foundation Stage classes work together and regularly discuss how the children are progressing, which areas the children are confident in and which areas need more practice. The teachers then adapt the classroom environment and learning opportunities to support this.  At St. Andrew’s we recognise the importance of and value the many ways we interact with children to help them learn. These could include: interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities, communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing and facilitating and setting challenges.

Our Foundation stage teachers also use the Characteristic of Effective Learning (COEL) to shape their interactions with the children. These help children to develop their understanding of what makes a good learner. The characteristics are:

Playing and Exploring (Engagement)

Active Learning (Motivation)

Thinking Creatively and Critically


  • Finding out and exploring
  • Playing with what they know
  • Being willing to “have a go”
  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keeping on trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
  • Having their own ideas (creative thinking)
  • Making links (building theories)
  • Working with ideas (critical thinking)


While we want to ensure that the majority of our EYFS teacher’s time is used for interacting with the children in class, we use Tapestry online learning journal to record significant pieces of evidence against the curriculum.  Parents are also encouraged to add observations of learning at home.

For more information about the Early Years Foundation Stage please visit: