Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

child looking at traffic lights

At the ACE Centre Nursery School, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (the EYFS): Development Matters in (EYFS)

We provide regular opportunities to listen to parents and carers’ knowledge of their unique child and to share our observations of their child’s experiences, learning and development. By developing a close dialogue with a child’s important adults, we can respond effectively to children’s fascinations, needs and aspirations.

Mud kitchen

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is made up of seven areas of learning that are defined as Prime or Specific areas. The Prime areas of learning and development are fundamental, work together, and begin to develop in response to relationships and experiences. They continue to underpin learning throughout the EYFS. The three Prime areas of learning and development are:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This includes the following aspects:

Making Relationships: the importance of children forming good relationships with others and working alongside others companionably.

Self-confidence and Self-awareness: children having a sense of their own value and understanding the need for sensitivity to significant events in their own and other people’s lives.

Managing Feelings and Behaviour: how children develop a growing understanding of what is right and wrong and why, together with learning about the impact of their words and actions on themselves and others.

Communication and Language

This includes:

Listening and Attention: how children develop their skills in to tuning into sounds and language around them and their ability to focus and concentrate on things that are happening around them.

Understanding: how children make sense of language and talk to communicate with others, to relate to other people and to follow instructions and stories.

Speaking: how children develop their ability to use a rich variety of words, language and talk to express themselves. It is how they become able to make themselves understood by others and grow in confidence with these skills.

Physical Development

outdoor play area

Play equipment and space for adventures

This includes the following aspects:

Moving and Handling: how children develop their co-ordination, control and movement through opportunities to move and be active. It is about large scale gross motor movement and control such as mastering crawling, walking, climbing, hopping and the fine motor control developed through activities with the hands and fingers such as drawing, cutting, managing buttons.

Health and Self-care: how children develop control over their bodily functions and how they learn to take of themselves and their health through hand washing, healthy eating and exercise.

The specific areas grow from the Prime areas to provide contexts for learning. Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to engage with and participate in society. The specific areas are:


This includes:

books and sofa

Cosy reading area

Reading: how children start to recognise words, signs and symbols around them such as shop signs, road signs and their own name. It is about how children develop a love of books, both fiction and non fiction, an understanding of characters and the language of stories, how books can answer questions and, thorough the teaching of phonics, how the sounds that letters make can be put together to make words that can be read.

Writing: how children start to experiment with making marks that mean something to them and that they can talk about. It is about children beginning to experiment with shapes that look like letters, moving to letters that are personal to them. It involves children in ‘writing’ for real reasons in their play; a shopping list, a story, a card, an invitation, a sign. It is about children beginning to recognise letters and to match them to the sounds so that they can ‘sound out’ words that they want to write.

Mark making


Table with early number resources

Exploring maths through play

This includes the following aspects:

Numbers: how children gradually know and use numbers and counting in play, and eventually recognise and use numbers reliably so that they can develop mathematical ideas and solve problems. Children develop an awareness of the relationship between numbers and amounts, and know that numbers can be combined to be ‘added together’, can be separated by ‘taking away’ and that two or more amounts can be compared.

Shape, Space and Measure: how through talking about shapes and quantities, and by developing appropriate vocabulary, children use their knowledge to develop ideas and to solve mathematical problems.

Understanding the World

Small world play

This includes:

People and Communities: how children begin to know about their own and other people’s cultures in order to understand and celebrate the similarities and differences between them in a diverse society.

The World: how children become aware and interested in the natural world and find out about their local area, knowing what they like and dislike about it. This aspect also provides children with many opportunities to explore and investigate objects, materials and their properties, learn about change over time and patterns, similarities and differences, and question why things happen and how things work.

ICT: how children find out about and learn how to use appropriate information technology such as computers and programmable toys that support their learning.

Expressive Arts and Design

Art workshop

Expressive Arts and Design is about children responding in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch or feel and how, as a result of these encounters, they express and communicate their own ideas, thoughts and feeling. This is made up of the following aspects:

Media and Materials: children’s independent and guided exploration of and engagement with a widening range of media and materials finding out about, thinking about and working with colour, texture, shape, space and form in two and three dimensions. This is also about children’s independent and guided exploration of sound, movement and music. Focusing on how sounds can be made and changed, how they can form a rhythm, matching movements to music and singing familiar songs. Also included in this area is the way that children learn about the construction process and the tools and techniques that can be used to assemble materials creatively and safely.

drawers containing clothes

Role play resources

Being Imaginative: how children are supported to develop their imagination through stories, role-play, imaginative play, music, design and art.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning

The process of learning, and not only the end result, is valued in itself. We promote the characteristics of effective learning in all that we do so that we develop engaged, resilient and confident learners who are ready not only for the next stage of their education but for the challenges of life in a modern multicultural world.

blocks for children

Varied opportunities for block play

The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe HOW children learn rather than WHAT they are learning. These characteristics are the attributes needed to become a successful learner. Research shows that how children learn has more long term impact on future achievement than what they learn.

“Research is also demonstrating that these characteristics can be strengthened or hampered by the experiences children meet. When they are encouraged and supported to follow their curiosity, to feel the satisfaction of meeting their own challenges, to think for themselves, and to plan and monitor how they will go about their activities, they become self-regulated learners who later outstrip children who may have developed more early subject-based knowledge but are more passive in their learning.”
(Understanding the Revised EYFS by Helen Moylett and Nancy Stewart)

Sensitivity to each child’s developing view of themselves as an effective learner is particularly important as they lay the foundations for a lifetime’s love of learning.
We understand that what we offer children in the experiences we provide will set up their attitudes and dispositions and determine what they feel, not just about learning, but also about themselves.