Early Years

Our Vision for Early Years

Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at West Oxford Primary School. Our provision provides a strong foundation for the children’s future learning, including developing a positive attitude to learning. In giving the children a broad range of knowledge and skills we lay the foundation for excellent future progress throughout their school and life. To make this happen, learning and development opportunities are planned around each child’s needs and interests and regularly assessed and reviewed. Adults respond to individual needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interactions in an encouraging, stimulating and a well-resourced indoor and outdoor environment.

In the Reception year, it is the adult’s role to extend and provide further challenge to children’s learning. Here we seek to initiate and offer great depth to the children’s experiences. Adults skilfully interact and sensitively scaffold, support and enhance the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. In addition, we seek to help the children to develop their thinking through their participation in activities and with the skilled involvement of the staff.


We aim to meet each child’s needs by:

  • caring for the whole child’s health, both physical and mental, their feelings and their thinking and spiritual development
  • ensuring each child has the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding to achieve success and to build a thirst for lifelong learning
  • teaching the foundations of reading, writing and maths that will develop basic (essential) skills and to enable them to access the wider curriculum
  • providing a stimulating environment, indoors and out, providing many opportunities for children to be curious, ask questions and to be eager to discover and learn
  • providing opportunities, time and space for children to pursue their own interests, and time to interact and share with others
  • providing opportunities for each child to make choices and decisions to develop their independence
  • providing ethnically and culturally diverse experiences including resources and stories which reflect different cultures and values
  • creating a purposeful atmosphere, where teachers can focus on teaching and pupils on learning
  • working closely with parents/carers and respecting the fact that they are experts in the knowledge of their own child.

What children learn

The content of the Curriculum is planned in the seven areas of learning and development.

Three Prime Areas:

  • Communication and Language – children develop skills and confidence in speaking and listening in a range of situations.
  • Physical Development – children develop their co-ordination, control, and movement through being active.
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development – within clear boundaries and expectations, children form positive relationships, develop social skills and respect for others and understand appropriate behaviour.

Four Specific Areas:

  • Literacy – development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to 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. Opportunities are provided daily for developing fine motor skills and handwriting is formally taught and practised every day in reception.
  • Mathematics – involves providing 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 – finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive Arts and Design – exploring a wide range of media and sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

How children learn

Children learn through:

  • playing and exploring
  • learning actively
  • creating and thinking critically

In the Foundation Stage teachers make professional judgements about the balance between activities led or guided by adults and those led by children. This balance shifts towards more activities led by adults as children move from early years and towards Year 1.

Adult directed activities are those which are directed by the adult and are useful in the teaching of specific skills such as demonstrating how to use tools or equipment. In our Reception class, daily teaching of literacy and maths starts from the outset and is a key part of our curriculum.

Adult guided activities are those which the adult initiates. These activities are often playful or experiential. They are open ended and motivate a keen interest in learning.

Child-initiated experiences (5) take place within an environment the adult has set up and planned but will be wholly decided upon by the child, based on the child’s own motivation and remains under the child’s control.


Children have daily access to well-planned stimulating learning environments, indoors and outdoors. These environments give children opportunities to be active and physical as well as quiet and reflective. Each classroom has sufficient chairs and tables for children to be seated when appropriate, and also plenty of carpeted areas for children to engage in activities. There will be periods of time each day when all children in reception will be engaged in learning activities at their tables as class teaching is gradually introduced and developed throughout the Reception year.

The early years environment – inside and outside is viewed as a whole, providing different areas where resources, materials and activities are freely and easily accessible.

The areas of learning in the environment include:

  • role play area
  • book/reading area
  • mark making/writing area
  • mathematical area
  • construction area
  • small world area
  • music area
  • creative area
  • malleable area
  • ICT opportunities
  • sand/water areas

It is important to develop learning opportunities outside as outdoor learning provides opportunities for: the acquisition of gross motor skills, taking risks, fostering a love of nature and the environment, large (and possibly messier) play which is not possible indoors, learning experiences suited to the outdoor environment and physical fitness.

What you can expect to see during a week in Foundation Stage:

  • daily maths and literacy lessons in reception
  • cooking
  • Nature Detectives (outdoor learning)
  • circle time – PSED/CL
  • P.E indoors/outdoors
  • arts and crafts
  • role play corner/activities
  • sensory table
  • carousel of activities in reception (to support focus work)
  • 1-1 reading
  • guided reading
  • regular writing challenges
  • exploration of technology
  • regular maths and literacy opportunities

Additional activities/events

  • class trips
  • special event assemblies
  • visitors (specialist)
  • exploring local area

Parents should be involved in the assessment process on a regular, ongoing basis and be encouraged to participate in their child’s learning and development. At West Oxford we set weekly homework so that parents can be involved in their child’s learning.

Homework includes:

  • homework activity books
  • sound books (Reception)
  • reading books (Reception)



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