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West Denton Primary School

‘A Stepping Stone into the Future’

Early Years Curriculum

Early Years Curriculum


Our Nursery and Reception classes are all part of WDPS Early Years Foundation Stage.  We follow the Early Years curriculum which outlines how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development.
In Early Years, children learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and
  All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.  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.   The three prime areas are:


  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development.


These prime areas are most essential for children’s healthy development and future learning.  As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in four specific areas.  These are:


  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design


Much of the learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage is done through playing and exploring and being active and creative, both indoors and outside.  The Early Years framework recommends daily outdoor experiences for children’s learning and development.  At WDPS learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement.    This also promote a sense of well-being.  It gives children contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons.  Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.  Early Years children at WDPS actively take part in whole school initiatives such as Bushcraft and developing our allotment area.
In Early Years there is a mix of adult-led, child-led and child-initiated activities.   As children go through into Reception class, the balance will gradually shift towards more activities led by adults.


Curriculum Overview

Children will be taught to:


Personal, Social & Emotional Development


  • Build confidence to choose activities and discuss ideas
  • Build awareness of needing help, and confidence to ask for help
  • Develop confidence to speak in a group of familiar peers
  • Work as part of a group, following rules where appropriate
  • Form positive relationships with peers and adults
  • Play co-operatively, taking turns


Communication & Language


  • Listen attentively, including while completing tasks
  • Listen to stories and respond to prompts and ideas
  • Follow instructions to carry out activities
  • Express ideas, including real-life and fictional ideas
  • Use past, present and future forms of language


Physical Development


  • Develop control and coordination of movement
  • Handle equipment and tools, including those used in writing
  • Learn about healthy diet and exercise
  • Manage their own hygiene and personal needs




  • Use phonics to decode straightforward words
  • Read simple sentences
  • Discuss what has been read
  • Use phonics knowledge to write simple words and sentences




  • Count reliably with numbers up to 20
  • Use counting on and number knowledge for simple addition
  • Begin to recognise and describe simple patterns
  • Use everyday language to talk about size, position, time, etc.
  • Use mathematical language to describe shapes and objects


Understand the World


  • Talk about events in their own lives and that of their family
  • Know about similarities and differences between communities
  • Talk about similarities and differences between objects
  • Make observations of plants and animals
  • Recognise that technology is used in homes and schools


Expressive Arts & Design


  • Experiment with songs, music and dance
  • Use a range of artistic materials, tools and techniques
  • Work imaginatively to create new works
  • Represent ideas through art, music, role-play, dance and stories


The characteristics of effective learning run through and underpin all seven areas of learning and development, representing processes rather than outcomes.  Children will play and explore and ‘have a go’ at using available resources; developing their experiences.  Children will develop resilience and enjoy achievements through active learning and will make links, explore their ideas and develop strategies for problem solving through creating and thinking critically.   
At WDPS we support the children in developing these characteristics through play alongside children, and where necessary, scaffolding and supporting their thoughts.  The characteristics of learning are complimentary to the WDPS Core Values (‘Attitudes to Promote’ and ‘Learner Profile’) and the WDPS Life Skills Challenge modules.  Through our many praise mechanisms in Early Years, we reward children who represent the WDPS ‘Core Values’ and who demonstrate characteristics of effective learning.