Learning to Live; Living to Learn

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old (the end of their Reception year at Primary School). All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS.

Our youngest children will begin by focusing on three prime areas of development, namely:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

As children get older and grow in confidence and competence, the other four areas, known as the specific areas, will be expanded upon. These are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

We also strongly promote the Characteristics of Effective Learning as we feel these are important to how children learn. These are:

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically

We firmly believe in a play-based curriculum as young children’s play is their ‘work’. We individually plan for each child, based on their interests and their next steps in learning.

We believe children learn best through open-ended resources so we have lots of crates, planks, blocks, etc, that can be turned into anything that interests a child. We also provide loose parts to support this, many of which are heuristic, every day materials as this is what children experience the most. We try to keep plastic toys to a minimum and children’s sensory experience with plastic is very low compared to ‘real’ objects. We use naturals materials as much as possible and we are very lucky to have a beautiful garden that children can access.

We believe it is important for children to experience and understand risk so they can manage it. We therefore use resources that promote this, such as having a climbing tree, using real crockery and having big block play. We very much teach children how to manage risk, such as questioning ‘do they feel safe?’ and teaching how to climb a tree safely. We feel the most important aspect of how a child develops it to encourage independence. We give as many opportunities to do this as possible as this is shown to really develop a child’s self confidence; one of the most important traits to possess in life.

We strongly promote equity in our resources and teaching, exposing children to the diversity of different families, avoiding ‘gender normative’ stereotypes, ensuring a ethnically diverse range of resources and celebrating festivals/celebrations that reflect our children. We believe this helps children to have a strong sense of cultural capital so they have experience of the diversity of our world.

We are a “soft technology” setting which means that we tend to keep screens for home use. We focus on other types of technology that have a purpose whilst encouraging fine motor skills and technological progress such as conker screws, old phones, old keyboards and helping adults turn the oven on. You may be aware of research showing how important it is to limit screen time so we do not want to ‘use up’ this time at Little Owls for families. We feel it is more important for children to spend their time with us learning in other ways that are more active and engaging with others.

More information about the EYFS can be found on our parent’s notice board in the car park or on the Department for Education’s website:

What to expect in the EYFS_16/09

Kayleigh or any member of staff would be happy to discuss any curriculum related issues with you.