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Early Years

Holdbrook Primary School is committed to providing the highest quality setting for all children. We value the importance of promoting young children’s individuality and allow for opportunities of exploration, challenge and curiosity, in a safe and stimulating child-centred environment.

In Nursery and Reception, we follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage issued by the Department for Education (DfE). It has four main themes expressing important principles which underpin the children’s learning and development:

  • A Unique Child – every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
  • Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
  • Enabling Environments – children learn and develop well in enabling environments in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between Practitioners and Parents and/or Carers;
  • Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Curriculum

The curriculum consists of seven areas of learning. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

There are four Specific Areas through which the three Prime Areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

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 involves guiding 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 involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.

There are then 17 Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which are part of these areas of learning. If a child achieves these goals by the end of the Reception year then they are said to be working at the expected level.

To support children with working towards these ELGs we use a document called Development Matters. This breaks down each goal into different age bands and is used by staff throughout the year to assess how close children are to reaching the goals.

The characteristics of effective learning

The experiences that our children meet often enable them to develop a number of competencies, skills and concepts across several areas of learning at a time.

In planning and guiding children’s activities, staff reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their 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
  • Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.

In the classrooms

Early Years learning and development is provided through purposeful play and through adult led structures and routines that build confidence and provide intellectual stimulus and challenge.

Throughout the day, children have direct teaching sessions for maths, literacy and phonics, either as the whole class or in small groups. The rest of the time they take part in activities inside and outside the classroom. Free-flow activities encompassing all seven areas of learning are always available to the children. Teaching staff engage with the children during these activities and help to support their learning and development. Children’s learning is assessed by observing what they say and do during these times. This is recorded and shared with parents. Parents can add their contributions to the children’s learning journal, adding any new learning they have seen at home.


The Department for Education, as part of the new Primary National Curriculum (2014), stated that Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education would remain non-statutory. It did, however, guide that ‘All schools should make provision for PSHE education, drawing on good practice.’

At Holdbrook Primary School, we teach Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education through the comprehensive scheme of learning called ‘Jigsaw’. During the year, all classes from Nursery through to Year 6 benefit from a weekly, engaging PSHE lesson.

The ‘Jigsaw’ approach has children at its heart and helps them to understand and value who they are and how they contribute to the world. Celebration Certificates are awarded in a weekly assembly, to pupils in each year group, to recognise their contribution to a particular aspect of each theme.


Lessons are based on a theme (Jigsaw piece). In Reception, Jigsaw Jennie will help children learn about: Being Me in My World; Celebrating Difference; Dreams and Goals; Being Healthy; Relationships; and Growing Up.


Autumn Term

The lessons in Reception in the Autumn term cover this learning:


The lessons in Nursery in the Autumn term cover this learning:


Spring Term

The lessons in Reception/Nursery in the Spring term cover this learning:


Summer Term

The lessons in Reception in the Summer term cover this learning:


The lessons in Nursery in the Summer term cover this learning:






In EYFS activities are planned as open-ended activities in a technology rich environment. This enables the children to have a variety of opportunities to explore, tinker and develop their ideas through active learning.  Exposing the children to problem-solving situations during investigations provides opportunities to practise the skills of sequencing, pattern recognition, problem identification, abstraction, decomposition, prediction and debugging.


Adults work with the children to model the use of subject specific vocabulary, show a specific skill or have

a concept explained, an idea discussed or developed through questioning and to help the children to

use computational thinking. This further enhances the pace, breadth and stamina to overcome

difficulties during other learning.


Basic Computing Skills

  • Capture still and moving digital images using different image capture devices; share as information.
  • Use simple graphics and drawing/painting software and tools to create digital drawings.
  • Use simple software to change the content and appearance of digital images.
  • Print their work with support, talk about why we choose to print.
  • Save their work with support, talk about why we choose to save.
  • Use digital devices and software to listen, respond to and talk about songs, stories, rhymes and sounds.
  • Use various keyboards (onscreen and physical), increasingly able to locate and type letters and numbers.
  • With increasing independence, type their first name, adding to digital work and beginning to use in logging on to the school network.
  • Using simple software with speech support to help them in their reading.
  • Use various computing devices and different input tools, including mouse, touch pad and touch screen, with increasing accuracy and independence.
  • Use simple digital devices and applications appropriately and with increasing independence; select a resource for a chosen activity.
  • Increasingly understand some of the differences between digital and non-digital devices and approaches.
  • Using technology equipment correctly and with care.
  • To make a choice between different types of technology for a particularly purpose.
  • Use onscreen and other digital resources, often pictorial, to discover information; share what they find out.
  • Use technology that can sense conditions such as light, sound and temperature; share what they found out.


Computing Vocabulary

  • Begin to share their experiences of technology at home and school.
  • When engaged with digital tools or applications, give attention and respond to what others say.
  • When using digital tools/applications request help when they need it and say when they do not need help.
  • Talk about differences they have noted in some of the digital tools and software they use.


Computational Thinking

  • Create and run programs on simple physical and onscreen programmable devices.
  • Describe and compare onscreen objects, finding patterns and differences.
  • Sequence, sort, organise and/or classify onscreen objects (image, words, and sound) to meet specific criteria.
  • Show their understanding that buttons and controls in digital devices/applications have specific functions and often need to be used in a certain order.
  • Investigate real, play and pretend digital devices, and explain, in simple terms how they think they work.



  • Tell a trusted adult if any use of technology makes them feel worried.
  • Understand they should ask permission when capturing an image or recording a sound of others.