Early Years

At William Reynolds Primary School and Nursery, we adhere to the four overarching principles that shape our practice within Early Years settings. These are central to us creating a Foundation Stage that starts with the child, supports, and develops the role of parents who we build good relationships with, offers a high-quality environment, and provides pupils with exciting contexts for their learning. We believe all children including SEND and PPG should have the same opportunities, encouraging them to be curious, to play and explore, actively engage in their learning, and develop skills of creativity and critical thinking. Our aim is for the majority of children to gain or exceed the Early Learning Goals but for all children to make good progress and reach their full potential.


Our four overarching principles – from the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage- are:

  • Every pupil is a unique child, who is consistently learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.
  • Pupils learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  • Pupils 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. Pupils benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  • Pupils develop and learn at different rates so the curriculum offered caters for each child’s individual needs.


The core of our EYFS curriculum is the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, which is supported by Read, Write, Inc, Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (2021), Development Matters, Birth to 5 Matters and the Seven Features of Effective Practice. 

Nursery and Reception follow one year cycle curriculum maps linked to the rest of the school. They outline the seven key areas which ensures that adequate amount of time and coverage is allocated to each key area through well planned themes. So, all children learn more and know more.

Our curriculum maps are carefully planned to have breadth and depth and introduce quality core concepts, bodies of knowledge and key concepts which will be built on in Year 1. The ambitious curriculum is a carefully devised sequential offer to ensure the children become fluent in essential foundational knowledge necessary for reading, writing and mathematics. Vocabulary is taught through teacher directed and teacher led learning which the children use in their child-led play. This enables our pupils to know more and remember more ready for future learning. End points are identified across all seven areas of learning in the EYFS progression document.

We cover the seven areas of learning to ensure that pupils experience a curriculum that is broad and ambitious that develops their vocabulary and prepares them for their next stage of learning. We have heavily invested in books (stories and non-fiction) for Understanding the World which we reread as this deepens familiarity with a story and greater emotional engagement, so children know and remember key concepts which follow through school. Children will learn about the lives of those whose experiences and perspectives differ from their own. Daily reading will ensure children develop a love of reading.

Our pedagogical approach to learning begins with Medium Term Planning which supports teachers to plan a board, balanced and sequenced series of lessons documented on the progression grids. The curriculum enables pupils to build on previous learning and have opportunities to master new concepts whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Systematic well planned lessons are taught through teacher directed and teacher led which leads into play-based learning where children can access a language rich environment through all 7 areas of learning independently inside and outside.

The curriculum provides a play-based and experiential learning environment, combined with teacher directed and teacher led teaching to ensure pupils make rapid progress before moving onto Year 1.


  • Pedagogical approach – how learning is taught - timetable, teacher directed, teacher led, play-based learning
  • Teacher directed – directly imparting new knowledge from our progression documents (whole class and small group).
  • Teacher led – working with children to reinforce and apply new knowledge (small group and 1:1).
  • Child led – children use the skills we have taught them in their play-based learning.
  • Play-based learning – children are given responsibility and autonomy in their learning which allows them to take the lead, make mistakes and form their own decisions in a safe space at their own pace.

The children in both Nursery and Reception are provided with ample opportunities accessible in our indoor and outdoor provision. They engage in planned, focussed activities as well as child-led activities. Structured well established routines are timetabled. Pupils investigate and experience the world around them by being willing to always have a go. Pupils need to be active and this active approach to learning supports their ability to concentrate and to keep persevering when they encounter challenge and difficulty.

The pupils will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge, and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

All staff are experts in teaching systematic, synthetic phonics (Read, Write, Inc). Daily RWI lessons and half termly assessment ensure all pupils practice their reading from books that match their phonics knowledge. Our school’s approach to teaching early reading and synthetic phonics is systematic and ensures that pupils learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of Reception. Opportunities to develop maths skills are carefully planned using concrete resources and build on prior learning and real-life experiences across a theme and the year. Daily maths lessons planned using Power Maths and White Rose embed repetition which ensures our children will become confident mathematicians who can apply the knowledge they have learnt to real life experiences. Teacher directed and teacher led lessons teaching higher knowledge through careful steps in subjects such as maths, phonics, handwriting, and basic grammar enables children to use their taught knowledge.

On entry to nursery a comprehensive observation is carried out to carefully observe the child’s skills and knowledge as well as their strengths and interests. The reception baseline assessment will be carried out within the first six weeks and is an activity-based assessment of pupils’ starting point in language, communication and literacy and mathematics. Throughout the nursery and reception years as part of the learning and teaching process, children will be assessed in relation to their progress towards Development Matters, Birth to 5 Matters and the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made based on cumulative observations and in-depth knowledge of the pupils acquired through ongoing assessment. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all pupils throughout the year and any specific interests to fill in knowledge and skills. End of year summative assessments are finalised during the summer term, summarising each pupil’s development at that point against the Development Matters, Birth to 5 Matters and the Early Learning Goals, which are the curriculum milestones that link to the progression documents.

The impact of our curriculum is that pupils:

  • Have positive relationships with staff and peers.
  • Understand the importance of good health (oral, food and exercise).
  • Develop detailed knowledge and skills across the 7 areas of learning in an age-appropriate way.
  • Develop their vocabulary and use it across the EYFS curriculum in preparation for KS1.
  • Use their knowledge of phonics to read and write accurately and with increasing speed and fluency.
  • Have gained knowledge in key concepts to make them ready for the next stage of education.
  • Have the personal, physical, and social skills they need to succeed such as high levels of curiosity, concentration, and enjoyment of learning ready for the next stage of their education.
  • Enjoy, listen attentively, to their peers and adults and respond with comprehension to familiar stories, rhymes and songs that are appropriate to their age and stage of development.
  • Demonstrate their positive attitudes to learning through high levels of curiosity, concentration, and enjoyment.
  • Are resilient to setbacks and take pride in their achievements.
  • Can manage their own feelings and behaviour, understanding how these have an impact on others.
  • Have a clear sense of right from wrong.
  • Impact of our well-planned curriculum is that children know and remember their learning ready for KS1.
  • Have a deep understanding of early numbers and the ability to recognise the pattern of the counting system as well as key aspects related to shape, space, and measure.
  • Automatically recall number bonds to 10.
  • Have attained well in RWI. 64% reception children at ARE in July 2023
  • Have attained well by meeting the Early Learning Goals. 67.8% reception children achieved ELG’s July 2023