Early Years Foundation Stage


Intent - What we want for our EYFS curriculum?

At Horn’s Mill Primary School, our EYFS curriculum is specifically designed to encourage independent, inquisitive and happy learners. Children’s wellbeing is at the heart of our curriculum and a strong emphasis is placed upon children feeling safe and secure, whilst building positive relationships with teachers and peers. We recognise children’s prior learning and various starting points, and create a holistic curriculum that maximises cross-curricular links, supports vocabulary and language development and builds strong foundations for their future. Every child is recognised as a unique individual and our curriculum provides them with the opportunities to follow their imagination and creativity.

Our EYFS curriculum is based upon exciting topics, stories and vocabulary that ignite children’s interests, however, our curriculum is not set in stone as with each new cohort of children, it will veer in different directions in order to address children’s current interests, curiosities and needs. We provide vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, that follow children’s interests, to support learners in investigating and developing their skills, through the three ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’

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We work in close partnership with parents and carers throughout the year to support their learning and to encourage children to reach their full potential. We also aim to promote a smooth transition from EYFS to KS1 by providing children with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to succeed throughout their education.

We have ensured that our EYFS curriculum is ambitious and designed to give children, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Children’s experiences over time are consistently and coherently arranged to build cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for their future learning.

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Implementation - How is the EYFS curriculum delivered?

Engaging Environments – Indoor and Outdoor

Our classroom environment is much more than just a physical space, it is a place for children to feel safe, develop positive relationships with staff and peers and express their feelings freely. It is an environment that is carefully planned to accommodate the children's changing needs and interests, as well as support the intentions of our ambitious and coherently planned and sequenced curriculum. High quality and open ended resources are provided for children to use on a daily basis, which reflect their curiosity and encourage independent learning opportunities. These high quality resources ensure children develop the ability to be deeply engaged in their learning and sustain high levels of concentration. Every resource has its place and we teach the children to use the resources respectfully and tidy away when they are finished. Children take pride in their learning environment and are taught to us it to its full capacity.

Our outdoor area is set up to develop children's physical development, problem solving, creativity and teamwork. This area is accessed directly from our indoor environment and children engage in free flow, independent access. Reflecting the indoor environment, resources are open ended and allow children to create their own learning and play. We encourage the children to take calculated risks and extend their potential.

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Continuous Provision - Child Led Learning

Children use our environment during continuous provision time each day, to apply, extend and challenge their independent skills. We provide two long sessions of continuous provision as part of our daily timetable, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to ensure that children have the opportunities to develop their skills through all areas of characteristics of effective learning. We call continuous provision, ‘Learning Time’ and children use this language confidently. We use the plan-do-review sequence during continuous provision and this is built into our pedagogy in the early years.

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We developed our plan-do-review sequence based upon the work of Greg Bottrill and his text ‘Can I go and play now’?’. When planning, adults use the language of adventure and children discuss what adventures they would like to go on in our learning environment today. Children plan adventures, tasks and activities and share these with their peers and teachers using different strategies. A few children are selected a day to share their plans, with the aim to give all children the opportunity over the week. Those children who need further support with their plans, will be targeted by support staff daily. Planning strategies that are currently used are displayed on the classroom plan-do-review display.  These strategies change throughout the year and are dependent on the cohorts needs. However, the use of talking partners is always used to support the development of communication and language skills.  Our basic provision is enhanced each week, based upon the children’s interests, needs and next steps and these enhancements are shared with and explained to children during planning time.

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Children then put their plans into action and enter the environment to ‘do’ what they have planned. All adults within the EYFS team will be in the environment to support children with their plans, model new plans, as well as guide and challenge. At the end of the continuous provision session, children will review their plans with their talking partners. Children who shared their plans with the class initially with tell their peers/teachers what adventures they have been on and show anything they have made or created. Adults will review their plans too, modelling correct language choice and sentence structure.

Language and Vocabulary - Role of the Adult                                                                                                             

Our EYFS team are aware of the importance of their role of the adult during daily continuous provision time and have embedded the key principles from Julie Fisher’s text ‘Interacting or Interfering?’’ to our practice, to ensure our interactions are of high language quality and contribute fully to the intent of our EYFS curriculum. Our EYFS team ensures that their own speaking, listening and reading of English enables children to hear and develop their own language and vocabulary well. They read to children in a way that excites and engages them, introducing new ideas, concepts and vocabulary. We present information clearly to children, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught and model effective ways of speaking and listening. We communicate well to check children’s understanding, identify misconceptions and provide clear explanations to improve their learning. In doing so, we respond and adapt our teaching as necessary. We use the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), to support identified children who need further support with their language development. Our EYFS lead, continues to deliver CPD to the EYFS team, to ensure interactions remain of the highest quality and development of vocabulary is strong.

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Teaching Inputs and Focused Tasks – Adult Led Learning

Alongside daily continuous provision, children take part in short inputs and focused Literacy, phonics, mathematics and handwriting tasks. As the academic year progresses, our EYFS curriculum has been designed to extend the length, challenge and expectations of these focused tasks, in order to meet developmental standards and prepare children for Year 1.  Clear links to our phonics programme, Read Write Inc, are embedded into focused tasks where appropriate, to allow children to transfer knowledge and understanding across all of their learning. Children are encouraged to apply what they have learnt during these inputs and tasks during continuous provision, to showcase what they know.  


Parental Engagement

Parents are given regular updates on their children’s developments and have a good understanding of how their children are progressing. All children in Reception have a physical EYFS Learning Journey, that demonstrates each individual child’s achievements and developments across the academic year. Their Learning Journey is split into 6 sections for each half term of the academic year and contains a selection of photos, examples of learning moments observed in school and a termly progress summary report.

Parents are invited to parents evenings and open evenings, as well as ‘Catch Up and Cake’ sessions, where they have the opportunities to look through their children’s EYFS Learning Journey with their child, see their children in their classroom environment and chat to the EYFS team.  Parents are also invited to contribute to children’s leaning journeys, by informing school of any ‘WOW Moments’ of development that happen at home.  These form part of children individual Learning Journeys.   

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Impact - How do we know our EYFS curriculum is effective?

Our EYFS curriculum ethos is that children flourish into confident, independent and secure learners. Children develop detailed knowledge and skills across the seven areas of learning and use these in an age-appropriate way. Children develop their vocabulary and understanding of language across our EYFS curriculum and apply these skills consistently. This is evident through observations within our learning environment and pupil voice. Children articulate what they know, understand and can do in an age-appropriate way, holding thoughtful conversations with adults and their friends. Children consistently use new vocabulary that enables them to communicate effectively. They speak with increasing confidence and fluency, which means that they secure strong foundations for future learning, especially in preparation for them to become fluent readers.

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Summative and Statutory Assessment

Within the EYFS, summative and statutory assessment are conducted to review the progress of children’s developments. These are:

  • Reception Baseline Assessment – a short assessment which is taken within the first six weeks of a child starting their Reception year. This assessment gives an indication of children’s starting points.
  • Termly Assessment – Children are assessed against the Development Matters framework & the EYFS framework ELG’s using the stages: 0-3 years Working Within, 0-3 Developing, 0-3 Secure, 3-4 Working Within, 3-4 Developing, 3-4 Secure, Emerging, Expected. All data is recorded on our school’s chosen assessment platform, INSIGHT and an a termly progress report is added to the children’s individual learning journey.
  • EYFS Profile – a comprehensive assessment completed at the end of the EYFS to provide a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, attainment against the early learning goals (ELGs), and their readiness for Year 1.

The ELG’s that assessed are as follows:


To achieve a ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD), children need to achieve the expected standard in all areas of learning, apart from Understanding the World and Expressive Arts & Design. Children’s development and progress is discussed during our termly early years assessment meetings, where observations and pupil knowledge are discussed and judgements are made.

Internal moderation discussions are completed with SLT, to ensure our judgements are consistent and accurate. We also use the DFE Exemplification materials to support our assessment discussions and decisions; one of which we feature in. https://youtu.be/NtSTpie78xc

Further links about our EYFS curriculum at Horn’s Mill and useful EYFS documents are available below.

If you have any further enquiries relating to the EYFS curriculum, please email Mrs Davies  (Reception Teacher/EYFS Lead) on adavies@hornsmill.cheshire.sch.uk.

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