The Early Years Foundation Stage - What will your Child be Learning?

The Early Years Foundation Stage covers the period from birth to five years. The two years in the Nursery and the year in Reception constitute the Early Years Foundation Stage and form the basis of our Early Years Education at Brookham.

The curriculum is divided into seven areas of learning:

Communication and Language

The development of speaking and listening skills is of primary importance to young children and a wide range of games and activities are used to encourage this.  Children learn to listen attentively in a range of situations, responding to what they have heard with relevant comments, questions or actions.  They begin to answer how and why questions about their own experiences.  Children develop the ability to follow sets of instructions and speak confidently in a familiar group, such as during our weekly show and tell.

Physical Development

This can be divided into activities which encourage gross motor skills and those which are aimed at fine motor skills. For the former, the Nursery and Reception children are able to use the extensive grounds where walks, the Nursery garden, the main play area and the sports fields are all available to them. There is also a weekly swimming lesson, PE lesson, games lesson and Forest School session all with specialist teachers. Fine motor skills are developed through activities incorporating construction toys, play dough, scissors, bead threading, pencil and paper and so on, on a daily basis.

Physical Health and Self Care

The children are encouraged to become independent. They need to be able to manage their own coats, zips and buttons, to dress themselves after P.E. and swimming, to blow their noses and use the toilet without assistance.  

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

They learn to take turns, share and help tidy up, as well as developing an awareness of other people’s needs. Self-esteem is built up through Circle Time and by the caring environment in general. Good manners are encouraged at all times, both in class and in the school as a whole. The children learn how to interact with other children through our personal and social system called “Circle Time”.  All the children at Brookham also take part in our House System and meet with children across the year groups.


Phonic sounds and handwriting are learnt through 'Letters and Sounds', whilst a range of reading schemes encourage early reading skills.  Children enjoy a wide range of books both within the classroom and book corner.  The children learn a text using 'Talk 4 Writing' where they learn pictures and actions.  This helps to develop their language.  


Practical activities based on number, measures, shape and space form the basis of the children’s mathematical development. Cookery, sand, water, play dough, counting rhymes and many other every day activities, teach the children mathematical concepts and vocabulary.  We use the outdoor environment to support the children's numeracy.

Expressive Arts and Designs

This covers all forms of art and craftwork for which a huge range of materials and media are explored. It also encompasses role-play, drama, dance and music, all of which are important elements in the Foundation Stage curriculum. Suzie Song Time visits the nursery each week.  The Reception children use the music facilities at Highfield and are taught by a specialist teacher.  Within the shared area the children have access to a creative workshop to create their masterpieces.

Understanding the World

This encompasses the world, people, communities and technology. Special festivals and celebrations are shared so that the children can learn about each other’s family values and faith.  During the Forest School session, the children explore the natural world.  In our shared area the children have access to a range of technology.

Our Style

Early Years at Brookham is organised in a semi-structured style where children are encouraged to take responsibility for choosing their own work experiences as well as working closely with our experienced teachers to master new skills.

All the resources are at low level on open shelving, for the children to access independently. We also encourage the children to be responsible for their area and to make considered decisions about the resources they are using.

Work in the classrooms is a balance of adult/child interaction. Time is set aside to explore new experiences and learn new skills. The inclusion of adult-led activities offers the chance for children to tackle new challenges, for new materials to be introduced or to practise a new skill.

The adults’ role is to provide an enabling environment which promotes active learning and which encourages children to think and talk about their actions and activities. At the end of their work time the children often gather in small groups to review their work. This is an opportunity to share what they have been doing with their peers and adults.

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