Foundation Stage (Reception)

Our youngest children, in the Reception year, follow a differentiated curriculum based on “The Early Learning Goals,” which set out what most children are expected to achieve before they move on into Year One. The foundation stage curriculum is organised into seven areas of learning:

Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment so as to build their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to enable them to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical development provides opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, in order to improve their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children will also begin to understand the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal, social and emotional development helps children to gain a positive sense of themselves and others. They learn how to form positive relationships and to develop respect for others, whilst building confidence in their own abilities. They develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings and to understand appropriate behaviour in groups.

Literacy development encourages children to link sounds and letters and as they begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

Mathematics provides children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

Understanding the world helps children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design allows children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials and provides them with opportunities to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through activities such as art, music, movement, dance, role play and design technology. 

When planning and guiding children’s activities, we also take account of the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practice. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

    • 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; and
    • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.


In the Early Years of education the children learn a great deal through “PLAY” – “The Business of Childhood.” Such young children should not be subjected to pressures. Activities will be appropriate to the age of the children. Through play, a child can:

  • try out new skills and experiment with familiar ones

  • explore new and familiar situations

  • experiment with new and familiar materials without fear of failure

Purposeful and Structured Play, supported by appropriate classroom organisation, helps the child to develop socially, emotionally, morally, physically and intellectually. Our task as teachers is to provide a stimulating, structured and exciting learning environment.

We encourage each child to do as much as possible for themselves, so that they can become independent learners.

Phonics teaching in Reception.
We use Essential letters and sounds phonics scheme. Below are some videos that show the correct pronunciation of each grapheme. There is also a link for parents that explains more about how we teach phonics at Finstall First School.
Powerpoint following the phonics workshop for parents.
Watch the video to show how we teach maths in the EYFS at Finstall First School.