Appleton C of E Primary School

Early Years

What is it?

The Early Years are the foundations of learning that underpin all areas of the curriculum. Here, children have the opportunity to follow their interests and learn through a topic based curriculum. The teachers and practitioners spend time with the children to gain an understanding of each child’s next steps and carefully plan activities that enable the children to succeed. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success, as well as moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our pupils can build wisely for life as happy, curious learners.

Aims of Early Years Education

We aim to develop every child as a resilient, inquisitive, motivated learner and use the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ aspects of the ‘Birth to Five Matters’. This is grouped into the following areas:

  • Playing and exploring:

This represents how children engage as they investigate and experience new things first hand. 

  • Active learning:

This represents how children stay motivated to keep on trying when they encounter difficulties, and how they enjoy personal achievements.

  • Creating and thinking critically:

This represents the process of thinking behind children's learning, how they develop their own ideas, and how they create strategies to test these ideas.

How is it Taught? 

Reception children follow the Early Years Foundation Curriculum which consists of seven areas of Learning. 

Prime Areas: 

  • Personal and Social Development 
  • Communication and Language 
  • Physical Development 

Specific Areas: 

  • Literacy 
  • Mathematics 
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

The children have opportunities to explore these areas on a daily basis through our continuous provisions that utilise both indoor and outdoor activities.


Phonics/ Literacy

Our school teaches phonics using the’ Read Write Inc’ programme which includes a daily focussed teaching session of sounds and Red Words where we consistently track progress. We use this to develop each child’s reading and writing skills during the school day within a fun setting. We track progress using different forms of evidence to demonstrate learning. It is always a joy to see the children excited to add to their work portfolio. We also enjoy celebrating our writers of the week, which motivates and challenges everyone to be the best writers they can be. Children read every week in school and we ensure that a successful link of home and school reading is established to help improve this skill. 


Our maths learning is based on ‘Maths Mastery’ that we explore during our daily teaching session, followed by small group work to deepen that learning. Our initial group sessions focus on 'number' where we introduce a ‘number of the week’ to support place value skills. We teach the areas of maths through a mixture of games and tasks using concrete manipulatives, pictorial structures and representations to make maths a fun, interactive subject. 

Children who are finding their learning more challenging receive an additional daily intervention to maximise their opportunities for meeting their full potential at the end of the year. We collect evidence and assessments of our learning by gathering photographs and annotations that appear in our individual journals and collective class books. Children are involved in these and love talking about their experiences with learning. We share your child's work with you every term, but we also prioritise keeping in regular contact with you about your child’s day using our online Tapestry profiles which we really encourage you use with us.  


At Appleton C of E Primary School our curriculum is designed to motivate, inspire and develop a love for learning that will flourish with each child as they ‘build wisely for life’.  We do this by recognising everyone as an individual with different experiences, opportunities and starting points. We work closely on our relationship with parents and carers, learning about each child before they join. This provides the best possible start, and ensures each pupil is able to reach their full potential.

Our curriculum has a strong emphasis on the prime areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language, including Oracy. 

We believe that high levels of engagement will enable high levels of attainment. Therefore, we aim to provide a stimulating curriculum that incorporates a broad range of new experiences, yet also promotes the pupils voice by including areas of interest to share and develop. This is matched with high expectations so that by the end of the Reception year, all children make good progress from their starting points. With self-confidence and passion for learning, we aim to equip each child with the tools needed to transition into Year 1 effectively.


At Appleton C of E Primary School we base our curriculum on the ‘Birth to 5 Matters’ document during the Early Years of Foundation. This document provides a progressive guide for the learning and development in the EYFS, and provides the specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. Our timetable is carefully balanced to include directed teaching, child-initiated and adult-directed activities during the day. We dedicate equal importance to inside and outside learning to ensure all opportunities for learning are shared with the children so they can begin to make the decisions of what they’re learning based activity will be.


The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected when we see our confident, resilient and caring children becoming excited for their learning journey. 

We are able to enjoy and measure the progress each child makes throughout the year using formative and summative assessments which are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child, their learning records, and Tapestry evidence. This is formally shared with parents through parent evenings, open afternoons and an ‘open-door’ policy to communicate achievements and areas of support throughout the year. 

We aim to exceed the National and Local Authority data for children achieving Good Level of Development.  Almost all of our children surpass the 'expected progress' we anticipate from the beginning of the year. As part of our assessments we carry out moderation with other schools which ensures our judgements are secure and consistent with government guidelines. 

Safeguarding in the Early Years.

Safeguarding is essential for keeping all children at Appleton C of E Primary School safe. It is the responsibility of every member staff to report all concerns following our safeguarding policy. The Early Years lead/ Reception class teacher is a designated safeguarding lead and every member of the reception class team has up to date training in identifying and reporting safeguarding concerns. For more information, see our safeguarding policy.