Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage at Dodworth St John’s Primary Academy!

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework sets standards for children’s learning, development and welfare from birth to five years old. These standards, which must be met by school and childcare providers, were created to make sure that young children develop and learn safely.

Play and more importantly, learning through play, is an essential part of the early years foundation stage. As children move into the reception year, a greater emphasis is placed on learning skills that will support and prepare children for the learning expectations in year one.

The EYFS is based upon four guiding principles:

  • 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.

The EYFS ensures that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning and gives children the wide range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

The EYFS builds on the learning that children will have gained already from their families and home environment and continues as a partnership between practitioner, parent and child.

Many of our children enter our setting just after their 3rd birthday (F1 or Nursery), this is 3 intakes per year, September, January and April. Parents/ carers can choose from am or pm sessions or if eligible a

30-hour place.

Some children will join at the start of Foundation Stage 2 (full time) from surrounding early years providers with just 1 intake in September.

What are the EYFS seven areas of learning and development?

These are what the children will be learning throughout the EYFS. At our school we base all our learning on ‘themes’ or ‘topics’ throughout the year, all are thoroughly planned and implemented through the 7 areas of learning.


  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
  • Communication and Language (C+L)
  • Physical Development (PD)
  • Literacy (L)
  • Mathematics (M)
  • Understanding the World (UTW)
  • Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

Personal, social and emotional development, communication and language, and physical development are the prime areas of learning and development in EYFS. These areas are important as they form the foundations upon which all further learning is built.

Literacy, mathematics, understanding the world, and expressive arts and design are the specific areas of learning and development in EYFS. It is through these areas that the prime areas are further applied and strengthened.

Each of these areas is as important as the other and all are interwoven. At the end of the reception year, children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). The purpose of these assessments is to ascertain whether children have achieved the expected level of progress within each area of learning and development.

The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning.

This is how children learn in the EYFS.

A common misconception that occurs within EYFS is that children ‘just play’. It encompasses being able to understand that play can lead to valuable learning. The characteristics of effective teaching and learning (CoETL) within the statutory framework allows us to ensure that children gain the skills that underpin their learning and development across the prime and specific areas of learning. The CoETL also allow practitioners to ensure learning is tailored to each child by considering their own individual level of development when planning for learning.

The CoETL are:

Playing and exploring:

This represents how children engage as they investigate and experience new things firsthand.

Active learning:

This aspect represents how children stay motivated to keep on trying when they encounter difficulties, or how they enjoy personal achievements.

Creating and thinking critically:

This element represents the process of thinking behind children’s learning, how they develop their own ideas, and how they create strategies to test these ideas.

Characteristics of Effective Learning.

All areas of learning are delivered through a balance of adult initiated and

child-initiated activities and play based learning. Through play and practical experiences children learn about the world and their place in it. We set realistic yet challenging expectations that meet the needs of our children.

At the end of Reception, the teacher will assess whether a child is meeting the level of development expected for each Early Learning Goal within the EYFS curriculum.

How will the children be learning at our school?

Children learn through a variety of experiences to help them to learn and make progress.  All children learn best from experiences that are suitable for their stage of development, rather than their age alone. This is carefully planned, implemented and assessed through thematic learning. We use books / stories to develop learning across each week based on our themes / topics for the half term (see additional information for F1 / F2 planning and topics).

At Dodworth St. John’s, we recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. This begins by observing the children and assessing their interests, development, and learning, before planning challenging but achievable activities and experiences to extend the children’s learning. At Dodworth St. John’s, it involves offering a rich and varied environment which is safe, secure, and challenging to support children’s learning.

The environment is organised to best meet the learning needs of the children and therefore is frequently changed. We have a separate Nursery and Reception classroom and share an outdoor learning space.

Reception Framework

click to review the entire document

If you like to find out more about Dodworth St. John’s Early Years Foundation Stage, please take a look at our website and twitter feed. Below are few links that you may find useful about the EYFS and what it is all about.

Useful Information and Websites


A Parent’s guide to the EYFS Framework

Statutory framework

Development matters

Development Matters – Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage

The main policy is The St Marys Academy Trust Early Years Foundation Stage policy.

Our EYFS Leader is Mrs Taylor. If you would like to know more about our EYFS, please email j.taylor@smat.org.uk.