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Reception - Early Years Foundation Stage

Our EYFS Curriculum Rationale

At Stoke Prior First School our youngest children follow the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).  The framework supports an integrated approach to early learning and care and outlines a set of principles and commitments to deliver quality Early Education and childcare experiences to all children.  The framework has seventeen areas of learning which can be seen in the table below.  The areas are split into Prime or Specific areas of development. 

The Prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The Prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS.  The Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. Once the foundations of the Prime areas have started developing the Specific areas will develop.

The ways in which the children engage with their peers, adults and their environment are known within the Early Years as “Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning” (CETL).  The CETL can be seen the second table. 

Area of learning and development

Prime Areas

Communication and Language

Listening, attention and Understanding


Physical Development

Gross Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills

Personal, Social and

Emotional Development

Self -Regulation

Managing Self

Building Relationships

Specific areas



Word reading




Numerical Patterns

Understanding the World

Past and Present

People, Culture and Communities

The Natural World

Expressive Arts and Design

Creating with Materials

Being Imaginative and Expressive

Within the framework each of the seventeen areas of learning is broken down developmentally. It is crucial to recognise that children develop at their own rate, and in their own ways. The development statements within the EYFS and their order should not be taken as necessary steps for individual children.  The age/stage bands overlap because these are not fixed age boundaries but suggest a typical range of development.  Children develop in the context of relationships and the environment around them.  This is unique to each family, and reflects individual communities and cultures.

Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning

What the Reception Team are looking to see the children doing in their environment

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.



At Stoke Prior First School on-going formative assessment is at the heart of effective Early Years practice.  The children will have opportunities to develop within the areas of learning through two approaches.  Firstly teacher led activities and secondly child initiated.  Our child initiated learning is where children take charge of their learning by participating in COOL activities. 

COOL is an acronym for Carrying On Our Learning.  

As mentioned previously the EYFS is a framework, however as long as your child is developmentally ready the expectation is that they will reach the ELG (Early Learning Goal) for each of the seventeen areas of learning.  Should you wish to look in more detail at the Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) document please follow the link at the bottom of the page*. 

During COOL (Carrying On Our Learning) the children are able to play.  Play allows children to immerse themselves in their interests.  Play allows children to build friendships, explore, take risks and challenge themselves.  Children have a right to play and the opportunity to play both indoors and outdoors is a fundamental commitment to children throughout the EYFS.  At Stoke Prior First School our children are fortunate to have an exciting and inviting classroom, a large, vibrant outside area with lots of lovely areas to play in and a wonderful Forest School.  COOL is an essential element which supports a child’s wellbeing and development.  When the environment is enabling and stimulating and supported by responsive and knowledgeable adults, children will be learning as they play. 

“Play is the work of the child”-Maria Montessori

Please also see our sections for Areas of Learning and Development in the 'related' area.