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Early Years

Please find information below about our Early Years Curriculum. 


At Leafield CE Primary School, the Early Years curriculum aims to give children a strong foundation, where they feel rooted in the local community and begin to gain the knowledge and skills to thrive throughout their education and beyond in a modern, diverse Britain. We believe that every child should be given opportunities that provide them with the best possible start in life.  

We endeavour to:  

  • ensure a smooth transition into school; enabling children to feel safe, secure and confident  
  • enable all children to become independent and inquisitive learners, who are confident in taking risks in their learning. Children learn through play at Leafield, being carefully supported and extended by adults working alongside them;
  • support children to be able to recognise and manage their emotions and develop a caring and thoughtful attitude toward others;
  • ensure every child feels included, secure and valued, with no child left behind because of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, special educational needs, disability, gender or ability;
  • allow parents, carers and staff to work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, building on what children already know and can do;
  • prepare children to be ready for the next stage in their education.

The EYFS curriculum at Leafield has been written in accordance with the latest version of the ‘Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)’ (Updated January 2024).  We adhere to the ‘Statutory Framework for the EYFS’ and the four guiding principles that shape practice within Early Years settings:  

  • Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;  
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;   
  • 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/ carers;  
  • Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.  

As part of our practice, we endeavour to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, based on the seven key areas of the EYFS, using play as the vehicle for learning. We plan challenging learning experiences, centred on the individual child, informed by observation, assessment and by the children’s own ideas and interests.  

Our Curriculum provides opportunities for children to engage in a wide range of activities, with a balance of those that are adult-initiated, child-initiated and adult-supported. These opportunities: 

  • provide a secure and safe learning environment indoors and outdoors; 
  • promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practices; 
  • provide early intervention for those children who require additional support;   
  • work in partnership with parents and carers. 


We plan an exciting and challenging curriculum based on our observation of children’s needs, interests, and stages of development across the seven areas of learning, to enable the children to achieve the Early Learning Goals.  

All seven areas of learning and development are important and interconnected.  Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated play and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have adult-directed teaching as well as time to ‘learn though play’ which is carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for inside and outdoors and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. 

Prime areas 

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, both in the EYFS and into Key Stage 1. These three areas are the prime areas:   

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

We have developed the curriculum giving communication and language skills a high priority. This is in line with Development Matters 2020: 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.” We give all children the opportunity to engage in high-quality play experiences to develop interactions with peers and adults.  

Our Physical Development curriculum is delivered by incorporating both the indoor and outdoor provision within our learning environment. This is both through carefully planned learning opportunities within the indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as weekly PE sessions and Outdoor Learning. We ensure our physical learning opportunities encompass the key principles of development matters 2020  “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 practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.”

We underpin our EYFS curriculum with the Personal Social and Emotional Development of all our children. We strive to enable children to be safe, happy, confident individuals. We also encourage self-regulation as much as possible and introduce rules and boundaries through modelling respectful behaviour and reflection time. We give children the skills to recognise the importance of being a unique individual, building positive relationships and staying healthy, enhanced by using the Jigsaw PSHE curriculum. 

Specific areas 

Children are also supported through the four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:  

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

A high priority is also given to the teaching of reading. We aim to teach children to read and develop a love of books as soon as they arrive at Leafield School, and books are used to teach topics and to enhance our whole curriculum.  

We follow the Read Write Inc. systematic, synthetic phonics programme. We provide daily Phonics sessions to provide the children with the skills and knowledge to become confident early readers and writers. You can find out more about the RWI programme here

Our mathematics curriculum is taught through small, sequential steps following the White Rose Maths scheme of learning. We support this further, using the Mastering number programme: providing a variety of opportunities to develop a secure understanding of number, shape, measure, and spatial thinking.

Using Cornerstones as a basis, we create a series of topics as a focus for every term, each of which offers experiences in all seven areas of learning. At the beginning of each topic, the children are encouraged to share their ideas for learning experiences with us, which are then used to inform our planning, alongside our pupil observations, which identify areas to focus on and develop.   

We always remain flexible to allow for unplanned circumstances and children’s interests, to ensure that each child’s personalised learning needs are met.  


During the first term in Reception, the teachers assess the ability of each child using a mixture of the statutory government baseline and also through observations of the children. These assessments allow us to identify patterns of attainment within the cohort, in order to adjust the teaching programme for individual children and groups of children. This continues throughout the year, as part of our daily practise. Assessment in the Reception takes the form of both formal and informal observations and through planned activities. Assessment is completed regularly and involves both the teacher, teaching assistants, parents and children, as appropriate.  

Observations of children’s achievements are collated in their own personal, online ‘Target Tracker Link’ Learning Journal. Parents/carers receive a notification when an observation has been added to their child’s online Learning Journal, and they can then view this observation and any related photographs/videos and assessments. Parents/carers are encouraged to share their own comments as ‘Wow moments’, to show us what their children can do at home. 

We record each child’s level of development each term throughout the year and record whether each child is on track to meet a ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD) at the end of the year in July. At the end of the final term in Reception, we assess whether each child is ‘Emerging’ or ‘Expected’ in each strand within each area of learning. Parents receive an annual written report that offers detailed comments on their child’s progress, across all areas of learning.