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The Early Years Foundation Stage 2 (Reception) Curriculum

Throughout their time in Foundation Stage 2 (FS2), each child will be carefully observed to see how they approach their learning and development. In planning for and guiding what children learn, we reflect on the different learning styles and interests of our cohort as well as the rates at which they are developing and adjust our practice accordingly.

We understand the links between provision, practice and impact and strive to develop a clear, coherent and reflective pedagogy (the art and science of teaching, understanding how learning occurs and how to support and promote learning) to ensure that all children experience joyful and playful learning with adults who can support, scaffold and extend the shared learning opportunities.


The characteristics of effective teaching and learning’ 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 wellbeing and involvement within the setting to offer greater understanding of how life events can impact on learning.


We want our pupils to be independent in thought and action, able to self-regulate and be confident in themselves and their abilities. They need the skills to be able to be part of an exciting and changing world where everyone is respected for who they are and to be able to live in harmony with others and to understand the need to look after our world and all that it provides.


Our ambitious curriculum is a play-based approach as play is the best vehicle for learning. The Early years foundation stage statutory framework, 2021 states, “Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.”


With this in mind, the pupils in Foundation Stage 2 – Reception Year at Boyne Hill, have free flow access to stimulating and well-planned inside and outside learning environments. There will be time for them to choose their own activities, invent their own play or consolidate skills in a playful way with an adult. Pupils in the early years also learn through planned, specific group work where teachers and support staff guide their learning. We work in different sized groups throughout each day. Our curriculum has broad themes across the year but our ongoing planning for the children’s learning priorities comes from the observations and knowledge of the pupils that staff are reflecting on each day. We guide their development through warm, positive interactions coupled with secure routines for play and learning.


We value all the learning that our pupils have done prior to joining us and recognise the lifelong learning benefits of high quality early years provision. It is important that our parents/carers and families are involved in the learning of their children as together we can support each child to flourish.


The areas of learning and development

There are seven areas of learning and development that shape our curriculum in Foundation Stage 2. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. These areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.

The prime areas are:

  • personal, social and emotional development
  • communication and language
  • physical development


Our curriculum also supports 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


The Early years foundation stage statutory framework, 2021 outlines the educational programmes, describing the types of activities and experiences children must have for each of these areas of learning and development. These can be found in the document below.


Throughout the Reception year, the following experiences take place to support the pupils' learning and development in each of the 7 curriculum areas:


Personal, Social and Emotional Development (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.


Communication and Language (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.


Physical Development (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.


Literacy (L) - sharing a wide variety of books and texts, 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.


Mathematics (M) - 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.


Understanding the World (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.


Expressive Arts and Design (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.


Early intervention is key to ensuring that children do not fall behind in their learning journey. We understand that their development varies greatly so we will use our knowledge to gather information on pupils who present with a possible additional learning need. Prompt identification and appropriate targeted intervention is essential in supporting all children to have a successful time in Foundation stage 2. Our observations of pupils are shared with parents/carers so they are informed of their child’s learning and development.


The level of development children should be expected to have attained by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage is defined by the early learning goals (ELGs) and these can be seen in the document below. The ELGs should support teachers to make a holistic, best-fit judgement about a child’s development and their readiness for Year 1. This is done towards the end of the Summer term in FS2. There are 17 statements, linked to the 7 areas of learning outlined above.


The Early Years Foundation Stage runs from birth to 5 years. At Boyne Hill Infants, we have Foundation Stage 1 (FS1) – Nursery, with children aged 3-4 years and Foundation Stage 2 (FS2) – Reception, with children aged 4-5 years. FS1 and FS2 work in close partnership with one another and throughout the year, participate in some shared learning experiences together. Towards the end of each phase, we are very mindful of the importance of smooth transitions so we work closely across the setting to ensure the children are confident to continue their learning journey, either from FS1 to FS2 or moving up to Year 1.


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 more information on curriculum planning and progression, please see the folders above.

Our Early Years Library and quiet reading area