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Anytown Academy

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Early Years

The Foundation Stage for Early Years Education covers the seven areas of learning and the three Characteristics of Effective learning.


The seven areas are split into the Prime Areas and the Specific Areas.

The Prime Areas are seen as the building blocks for all learning.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning is looking at HOW the child learns.


Prime Areas

Area of Learning


Personal, Social and Emotional Development


Managing Self

Building Relationships

Communication and Language

Listening, Attention & Understanding


Physical Development

Gross Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills

Specific Areas

Area of Learning




Word Reading




Numerical Patterns

Understanding the World

Past & Present

People culture and communities

The Natural World

Expressive Arts and Design

Creating with Materials

Being Imaginative and Expressive






Characteristics of Effective Learning


Playing and Exploring

Active Learning

Creative and thinking Critically

How we develop children's learning

  • In Early Years, we strongly believe that a child learns best when they are interested, motivated and engaged.
  • We strive to pick topics and activities based on the children’s interests. We find this out by having class discussions and drawing upon the observations we have made of the children throughout their time in class. 
  • The children have a mix of Adult Led Activities (where a specific skill will be taught or practised) and PAL (Play and Learn) time activities, which the children can access independently.


PAL time 

PAL (play and learn) time is really important as it allows children to explore the environment, make choices, have their own ideas, and develop imagination and confidence while making friendships or playing on their own. 


During this time, adults will be interacting with the children, playing alongside them, observing them, building confidence with praise, encouraging them to learn by trial and error, helping them to build on their own interests, and develop their understanding.


We will constantly be helping to develop children's confidence by celebrating their unique contributions and ideas, and teaching them that it is okay to make mistakes, thereby extending their play to develop their learning all of the time. 


We believe that all of this will develop their independence and enable them to have their own thoughts and ideas, which they can feel proud about.




We follow the Early Letters and Sounds programme to teach phonics.


In Nursery, the children play lots of listening and sound games to get them ready to hear the different sounds which make up a word. By the end of the year, we start teaching the sounds of the letters in the alphabet.

In Reception, we recap the letter sounds and start to practice blending words, so that the children are able to read and write simple words and then move onto sentences.  


We integrate phonics into our daily routine. 

It is taught in a concrete session and then the children are encouraged to use what has been taught during PAL time through a range of different resources and games.


How we assess children

We assess how well the children are doing through our observations of what they are doing during PAL time.  This is recorded in their learning journal or on Tapestry.


Tapestry is the online Learning Journal system we use to record each child’s learning, and shows snap shots of children’s achievements and progress in relation to the EYFS curriculum.  Not every activity they do will be recorded - as a rough guide, there should be a new entry once a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less!

As soon as an observation is published by the adults in the class, parents will receive a notification email and will be able to view it on an app on their mobile phone.

Using your secure username and password, you will be able to see photos, videos and samples of work your children have done.  It is interactive, so you will be able to comment, like or even post your own observations from experiences out of school.


Next steps will be noted in some of the observations, which will give parents an idea of what needs to be worked on next.  


We also welcome observations and feedback on Tapestry observation.  If you see your child doing something new and amazing at home, please record it onto Tapestry so that we can celebrate it at school with the rest of the class.


Please see below a welcome booklet with pictures of our environment and an example of what a typical day would look like.


If you would like a tour of the Nursery, please phone the school office to arrange a visit.