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The Foundation Stage Curriculum


Throughout their time in the Foundation Stage, each child will be carefully observed to see how they approach their learning and development. We are looking for the specific ‘characteristics of effective learning’ and these are:

  • playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
  • active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements
  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things


These are the tools which we encourage and promote throughout the daily activities to support the holistic development of each child. We also regularly monitor a child’s well-being and involvement within the setting to offer greater understanding of how life events can impact on learning.


The Foundation Stage is play based as play is the best vehicle for learning. The children have free flow access to a stimulating inside and outside environment and there will be time for them to choose their own activities or have the opportunity to work with an adult. We work in different sized groups and our curriculum has broad themes but our planning for activities comes from the observations that staff make during each day.


The Foundation Stage curriculum covers 7 areas of learning:

1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

2. Physical Development (PD)

3. Communication and Listening (CL)

4. Literacy (L)

5. Mathematical Development (MD)

6. Understanding the World (UW)

7. Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)


PSED- self-help skills, putting on shoes and socks, doing up and undoing buttons and being able to find, put on and take off their own clothes. Playing games and beginning to understand rules and manage their behaviour positively.


PD- lots of opportunities to run, jump, scoot and cycle to develop their gross motor skills. Fine motor skills using scissors, paintbrushes, felt tips and developing their finger muscles for future writing.


CL- lots of opportunities to develop spoken English and to develop listening and attention skills. To develop turn taking in conversations and build from simple sentences to more complex ones.


L- sharing different books, both fiction and non-fiction, exploring poems and rhymes, looking at picture clues and retelling stories orally. Beginning to recall the letter sounds in order to blend for reading. Developing good pencil grip for letter formation and emergent writing.


MD- lots of counting, giving the next or previous number and estimating. Looking for shapes in the environment. Problem solving, for example, 'How many cups of water will fill a bottle?' Practical activities such as cooking.


UW- talking about the world and following any interests shown. Talking about family life, maybe cultural or religious experiences. Looking at the different technology the children experience in their lives.


EAD- this includes the arts and crafts, collage and exploring paint. Also music, dance and drama which are vital for the development of the whole child.


The Foundation Stage runs from birth to 5 years. We have Foundation Stage 1 (Nursery) children aged 3-4 years and Foundation Stage 2 (Reception) children aged 4-5 years. Towards the end of each phase, we are very mindful of the importance of smooth transitions so we work more closely across the setting to ensure the children are confident to continue their learning journey.


We really understand the vital role that parents and family play in the development of their children and we are available to discuss matters with you as they arise. We are always happy to share ways in which you can support your child as they move through this important early stage of their education.

For weekly curriculum updates and suggested home activities, please see the class pages for Apple and Pear in the Nursery area; Oak and Maple in the Children area.