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Early Years



EYFS Policy & Philosophy

At Wateringbury CE Primary, all teaching staff deliver an EYFS curriculum through immersion in high quality teaching alongside an enriched environment.

Our philosophy is to nurture every child’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, developing both skills and confidence as they take their first steps on their own unique journey of lifelong learning.

At Wateringbury Primary School, the Early Years Foundation Stage is viewed as a distinctive and vital phase of education which integrates the care and education of our youngest children. We believe that the Early Years must provide every child with a feeling of security, being valued and the confidence to explore new learning


The intent for our children is to enter the next stage of their education ready to tackle new challenges with confidence and a positive mindset. 

ENGAGE our pupils in a stimulating environment led by the children yet carefully organised and managed by adults. Providing a curriculum responsive to individual starting points and needs.

INNOVATE our children to take the lead in their own learning, encouraging confidence to explore new ideas, think about problems, take risks, make links and seek challenge. 

DEVELOP high levels of engagement, curiosity, collaboration and cooperation. Highly adept at managing their own behaviour in the classroom and in social situations. 

EXPRESS themselves with confidence in a meaningful way. Respecting the opinions and values of themselves and others.

“The education of even a very small child does not aim at preparing him for school but for life” 

Maria Montessori, 1967



Our approach is influenced by the work of educationalists, researchers, psychologists and practitioners who have guided our knowledge of how young children learn and how adults can support their learning. 

“Knowledgeable practitioners appreciate that adult-led learning offers a child something different from, but complementary to, child led learning and it is one without the other that leads to an impoverished educational experience.” Fisher, 2016. 

At Wateringbury, EYFS provision is underpinned by a complementary relationship between adult led, adult-initiated and child led learning. (Definitions in glossary) We are ambitious in our approach using a continuous cycle of observation and assessment, planning/teaching, alongside structured and systematic lessons and guided group work.

Shared Input

Three times a day as a whole class covering the specific areas of literacy, math’s and phonics objectives. These objectives follow our Curriculum outline, identified next steps of the class, ‘Development Matters’ 2021, White Rose planning scheme and the Floppy’s Phonics Curriculum. 

Adult led focused groups 

Short focused groups are planned for writing, reading and maths and immediately follow a shared input. These sessions are planned with care, meeting the needs of all children, using prior knowledge of the child’s learning experiences and guidance from the EYFS document ‘Development Matters’, 2021.The amount of focus groups carried out within a week reflects the needs and interests of the class and can vary each week. 

Continuous Provision

“To continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult.” Alistair Bryce-Clegg, 2013 

Time to explore continuous provision is known as ‘Exploring Time’ and we aim to maximise this time each day. Indoors and outdoors resources are organised to develop children’s skills in personal interaction and exploration and are linked to current assessment data. Resources are carefully selected to meet the development needs of the children in order to enhance potential for new learning and consolidate prior learning. Resources are dressed/displayed to reflect children’s interests – discover, experiment and explore our key themes. Continuous provision transcends all areas of learning and provides children with the opportunity to demonstrate the three characteristics of effective learning. Children are given the freedom to make independent choices and are encouraged to be active learners and take control of their own learning.


EYFS learning and development requirements

Our curriculum encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships, and thriving.

These are called the prime areas:

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

Four areas help children to strengthen and apply the prime areas.

These are called the specific areas:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  •  expressive arts and design

Throughout their time in the Reception Year our children partake in an ambitious curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the end of reception goals. These goals are defined as Early Learning Goals (ELGs) The descriptors for these can be found in the appendix.

As previously outlined our curriculum incorporates learning through play, learning by adults modelling, by observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching. It is also important to highlight that our plans are flexible to allow us to respond quickly to children’s new interests and/or needs.

Weaving throughout the EYFS curriculum at Wateringbury are three Characteristics of Effective Learning.

  • 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 elements underpin how we reflect on each child’s development and adjust our practice accordingly. Supporting children in their individual learning behaviour and observing the context of children’s play is essential.

Our EYFS Curriculum is outlined in our Reception Long Term Overview which allows us a flexible outline of the year to plan against, learning steps for each area and links to the KS1 National Curriculum to support transition and our mixed age group classes.