St Thomas' CE Primary School

St Clement & St James CE Primary School

St Thomas' Federation - Stronger together

School Gateway
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Early Years

Early Years Foundation Stage


Our Early Years' Vision 


Our early years centre has love, faith and hope at its heart. We welcome and celebrate every child, helping all children to develop their character and a love of learning.  We are committed to inclusivity which encourages good relationships, mutual understanding and celebrates diversity. We believe that every child deserves the best possible opportunities to reach their full capabilities. Every child is intrinsically capable and we strive to foster warm, nurturing, trusting relationships so that they develop a strong sense of themselves, others and the world around them. We truly value the partnerships that we hold with parents and carers and know that these relationships are crucial to children’s development. Through positive interactions and stimulating learning experiences, children in our care build confidence, self-esteem, and resilience. 



Tour of Early Years Owlets Centre- St Clement & St James

EYFS Welcome Video- St Thomas'

Our Early Years Curriculum 


We will provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will enable each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, creatively and intellectually to their full capabilities. This curriculum will set in place firm foundations for further learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond. 

We acknowledge that children develop, learn and play in different ways and at different rates. At our schools, we see all the areas of learning and development as equally important and interconnected.


The Early Years Curriculum includes 7 areas of learning which are interconnected. These are broken into prime areas, which lay the foundations for learning, and specific areas. 


Prime Areas 

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


Specific Areas

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


Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning


Our federation uses three characteristics of effective teaching and learning to reflect on our children’s development, inform our planning and guide their learning. 


These 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.





As part of our practice we:

  • provide a broad and balanced curriculum, based on the EYFS, across the seven areas of learning, using play as the vehicle for learning.
  • ensure that there is an appropriate balance of child-initiated and adult-led activities.
  • promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, providing early intervention for those children who require additional support.
  • work in partnership with parents and within the wider context.
  • plan challenging learning experiences, based on the individual child, informed by observation and assessment.
  • provide secure and safe indoor and outdoor learning environments. 
  • provide a practical play based curriculum.
  • ensure that there are high quality interactions between adults and children that support learning and development in all areas.






Play underpins the delivery of all the EYFS. Children need to have the opportunity to play indoors and outdoors. Through play, children learn to explore, develop and represent learning experiences that help them make sense of the world. Play helps children to practise and build upon ideas, concepts and skills. Play enables them to see a need for rules, take risks and make mistakes. Play allows children to think creatively and imaginatively and it also helps them to communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.





The EYFS has principles which guide the work of all practitioners and they can be grouped into four distinct yet complementary themes. Together these principles provide a context for the requirements and describe how best to support the development, learning and care for young children.


1. A Unique Child

  • We recognise each child is an individual and competent learner. 
  • We encourage children to become capable, resilient, confident and self assured by ensuring each individual is valued for their unique character, abilities, interests and cultural heritage.  
  • We believe that every area of children’s development is equally important and take into account children’s range of life experiences when planning for their learning.  
  • By working closely with parents and carers, staff are available to meet each child’s needs and support their development.

2. Positive Relationships

  • Parents and carers are a child’s first and foremost enduring educators.  
  • Young children are eager learners and all adults have an important role to play in sustaining this eagerness.  
  • Every member of staff  respectfully acknowledges and supports children’s learning, needs and feelings, and those of the family. This helps us provide an environment where children learn to be strong and independent through the formation of secure, warm, trusting relationships with each child and their family.  
  • We also believe that working as a team with external agencies and professionals is essential and benefits the children significantly.
  • There is a strong partnership between staff, parents and carers which supports children in being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, and making a positive contribution. 
  • We welcome parents’ involvement in their children’s education and care through discussions (formal and informal), shared morning reading sessions, and their contribution to children’s learning profiles.
  • We build upon each child’s personal development through our entire provision, ethos and in their everyday learning. Examples include regular class based nurture groups, sharing assemblies, celebrating festivals and expeditions in the local community.


3. Enabling Environments

  • We believe that stimulating and safe indoor and outdoor environments which encourage children’s independence, are central to their learning and development.  
  • We observe children closely in order to tune into their interests, needs and abilities and then use this knowledge to support our planning. 
  •  A rich and varied environment is carefully planned to ensure all children learn and develop well, are engaged and making progress at their own pace.  
  • Children develop the confidence to explore in a safe, yet challenging environment that we offer.


4. Learning and Developing

  • The EYFS is made up of seven areas of learning and development. We are committed to supporting each individual child, including children with special educational needs, disabilities, those from varying ethnicities and cultures and those who have English as an additional language.
  • We encourage creative and critical thinking in a sustained way for all children. 
  • This is done through specific adult involvement and intervention via a wide range of resources so that links are made between the areas of learning and children can transfer and generalise their knowledge and skills.