to our Early Years Foundation Stage

Welcome to our Early Years page; here you will be able to meet the team, find out about our curriculum and any events that have taken place in Early Years.

We will provide a range of links to useful websites to support your child with phonics, maths, reading and much more.

Any letters that are sent out will be uploaded here to ensure that you are always kept up to date with the latest news in school, specifically in Early Years.

Please take a look at our Early Years gallery, here you will be able to see photos of our stimulating environments and the learning that takes place within our setting.

Meet the Team

We have a new Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum framework that became statutory in September 2021. We have created an exciting, well sequenced curriculum that is aspirational for all of our children. It allows them to engage in a range of topics to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for them to become exceptional learners. The named person with responsibility for the EYFS curriculum is Rebecca Pearson.

It is vital that your child’s prime areas of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language are focused on during their earliest years and as these become well embedded the children move on to focus on the specific areas of Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Throughout all of the above topics, children are given the opportunity to develop within all areas of learning.

Our Environments

The Seven Areas of Learning

Below is a breakdown of the seven areas of learning and what children will be taught throughout their time in the Early Years. Children will be assessed against each of the 17 Early Learning Goals at the end of their Reception year.

The Prime Areas

Communication and Language

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development.  The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.

ELG Listening, Attention and UnderstandingELG Speaking
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions;
– Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding;
– Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary;
– Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate;
– Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.

ELG Self-RegulationELG Managing Self
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly;
– Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate;
– Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge;
– Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly;
– Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
ELG Building Relationships
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others;
– Form positive attachments to adults and friendships with peers;
– Show sensitivity to their own and to others’ needs.

Physical Development

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practise of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.

ELG Gross Motor SkillsELG Fine Motor Skills
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Negotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others;
– Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing;
– Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing.
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases;
– Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery;
– Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing.

The Specific Areas


It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).

ELG Word ReadingELG Comprehension
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.
– Read words consistent with their phonic
knowledge by sound-blending.
– Read aloud simple sentences and books that are
consistent with their phonic knowledge, including
some common exception words
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Demonstrate understanding of what has been
read to them by retelling stories and narratives
using their own words and recently introduced
– Anticipate (where appropriate) key events
in stories.
– Use and understand recently introduced
vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role
ELG Writing
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.
– Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters.
– Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.


Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding – such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting – children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.

ELG NumberELG Numerical Patterns
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number;
– Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5;
– Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system;
– Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity;
– Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.

Understanding the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

ELG Past and PresentELG People, Culture and Communities
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society;
– Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
– Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps;
– Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
– Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and, when appropriate, maps. 
ELG The Natural World
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants;
– Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
– Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter. 

Expressive Arts and Design

The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.

ELG Creating with MaterialsELG Being Imaginative and Expressive
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function;
– Share their creations, explaining the process they have used;
– Make use of props and materials when role-playing characters in narratives and stories.
Children at the expected level of development will:
– Invent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher;
– Sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs;
– Perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others, and, when appropriate, try to move in time with music. 


We ensure there is a consistent and engaging approach to our phonics, following the validated Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) SSP. We believe every child should leave The Vale Primary Academy with the skills of a confident, fluent and efficient reader and writer. Children being to learn through the ELS approach in Reception.

In Nursery, children will begin to learn phase one phonics supported by Launchpad for Literacy.


Our Nursery provides the best start for our pupils through a play based curriculum which follows their interests and caters for their ongoing developmental needs. Our pupils have access to high quality provision both indoors and outdoors which is carefully planned and led by a qualified Teacher alongside a team of skilled support staff. Within our provision, our Nursery pupils are able to play, enquire, explore, create, experiment, learn and develop their social and communication skills. Following their excellent start with us, the majority of our Nursery pupils enrol in our Reception classes as they continue their academic journey.

At The Vale Primary Academy, we accept pupils into our Nursery from age three. New pupils can enrol in September, January and April or after their third birthday, depending on the availability of class spaces.

Mornings: 8.45am until 11.45am

These places are offered on a first come first served basis and more details are available upon request.

This website has a range of printable resources as well as fun interactive games that can support children through all phases of phonics. Please speak to your child’s class teacher to find out which phase of phonics they are currently working on.

This is our online reading system we use in school. Children have their own account with books assigned to them, they can read these books and have a go at some comprehension questions. We ask that parents read with their children a minimum of four times a week, either through Oxford Owl or physical books sent home. Please speak to your child’s class teacher for their log in details.

This website has a range of interactive games that cover many aspects of the curriculum, particularly maths. If you search Early Years it will bring up a range of activities appropriate for children up to 5 years old.

This website has a range of interactive games that cover many aspects of the curriculum, particularly maths. If you search Early Years it will bring up a range of activities appropriate for children up to 5 years old.

Home Learning

We feel that it is hugely important for parents to be as involved as possible with their child’s education and for us to form an effective home school partnership. Doing this allows you to keep up to date with what your child is doing in school and it provides opportunities for this learning to continue at home. We will regularly provide activities that you can do with your child to help them practise and apply their skills using a real-life context. Teachers will also set challenges for children to complete at home to complement their learning in school. Here are some examples of how the children have responded to their home learning challenges.


Please check Class Dojo regularly see what has been uploaded.

Key Upcoming Dates

Please see you child’s Class Newsletter below for more information.