Message sent from:

Early Years Curriculum

At Cold Ash St Mark’s, the EYFS curriculum is the first step on a journey of living and learning through the school’s vision:

Boiler House Sign. words and actions


We want to provide experiences and opportunities which enable every child to love learning, to care for each other and the environment. Each child is part of a house team, the class family, the school community and the wider world. We work to build bonds at each of those levels and that ‘belonging’ creates the safety required to learn and thrive. We follow the seasons closely and spend lots of time outside to develop our understanding of living things, how they grow, change and adapt. This time outside is essential for good physical development and supports the children’s growing physical strength and skill through the movement and manipulation of objects, negotiating the environment and handling and caring for living things.  We learn about different countries, landscapes, cultures and traditions, focusing on events and places that fascinate the children. We use core texts, poetry and non-fiction to build language skills and the vocabulary for the children to be able to articulate their thoughts, ideas and fascinations. Discreet and cross-curricular maths and literacy learning focuses on building the skills and knowledge laid out in the Statutory Framework as well as providing understanding of shape, space and measures. Creativity is celebrated and encouraged across different media as well as in sharing ideas and problem solving.

What do we want the children to experience, know and be able to do during their reception year?

  • Feel proud of who they are, celebrate and respect similarities and differences between themselves and others.
  • Engage in, explore and discuss a range of poetry, core fiction texts and non-fiction which supports their interests.
  • Observe, experience and be able to describe and discuss the local environment, our weather, and the cycle of the seasons.
  • Experience the process of sowing and nurturing plants, observe and describe animals, plants and natural objects, handle and care for animals, plants and the environment.
  • Read and write simple sentences.
  • Have a deep understanding of numbers to 10.
  • Develop a growing understanding of their own well-being through discussions, breathing exercises, yoga and relaxation sessions.
  • Develop physical skills which enable them to achieve their goals and promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • Experience and explore different media and develop the skills and confidence to realise their own ideas.

     Communication and language

  We focus on developing listening skills throughout the year, from quick listening games, simple instructions, poems and short stories in the autumn to being able to concentrate for longer periods in the summer term.

We teach a range of vocabulary to be able to name, describe and compare the natural phenomena that we observe throughout the year, including different types of weather, seasonal changes, wildlife and natural objects. Our learning about different cultures and countries, places and times will broaden our vocabulary, as will our focus on regular poetry, termly core fiction texts and the non-fiction that we use to support the children’s interests. We will learn the vocabulary for processes, including PE skills, creative, scientific and technological endeavours. Our nine core fiction texts incorporate traditional tales, familiar ‘classic’ stories and titles that encourage discussion on diversity.  


Personal, social and emotional development

We learn about what makes each of us special and work to support every child to feel proud of who they are. We will focus on developing strong bonds within the class, promoting the language and behaviour of kindness, respect and friendship. Over the course of the year, we will support the children’s growing ability to work with others and to wait for the things they want, to express their feelings and find ways to deal with negative emotions. We will encourage children to become increasingly independent in their self-care, choices and in the face of challenges. We will talk about the different things that contribute to a person’s well-being and promote lots of time in nature as well as teaching breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.


Physical development

We provide access to different environments to explore, including the field, wild garden, secluded wooded area, play area and classroom. We have some permanent climbing structures, mounds and dips as well as lots of large and small open-ended resources and loose parts to move and manipulate. Construction toys, mark making and creative resources further develop the children’s physical skills. Twice-weekly PE sessions follow a programme to develop core skills of balancing, dynamism, agility and ball skills. Weekly focus on different yoga positions will help children to build strength. We focus on ensuring that children are able to use mark making tools and scissors effectively throughout the year.



We start the year with a range of sound games. We will build up to blending and segmenting activities and start to learn to recognise and form letter sounds. As we build up the range of sounds we know, we will start to read words and phrases. We teach children some common exception words to enable success in reading simple sentences. We read and re-read books that are phonetically decodable to promote success and enjoyment. We provide a range of mark making and writing materials throughout the year and encourage and celebrate the children’s attempts to communicate in this way. We learn the formation of lower case and capital letters and teach children the skills needed to write simple sentences. We teach children to read and check what they have written.



During maths teaching, we work in sequence from 0 to 10 to develop the children’s deep understanding of each number. We learn to match numerals to amounts, to subitise and to know number bonds for numbers to 5. For numbers from 6 to 10, children will be taught the composition of each number, including some number bond facts. We explore the counting system, learn one more and one less in relation to consecutive numbers to 10 and explore the pattern of numbers beyond 10. We learn the names, properties and composition of simple shapes. We explore and create repeating patterns and compare length, weight and capacity.


Understanding the world

We share and explore our understanding of ourselves and the people around us, learning that we all come from different homes and families. We challenge stereotypes of family, community and society to grow our understanding and acceptance of difference. We immerse the children in the seasonal cycle through daily engagement with the natural world and the weather. We plant bulbs and sow seeds, look for animals, observe changes and promote an attitude of care and respect for the environment. We will make use of the different habitats on the school site, including wooded area, wild garden and pond to develop the children’s understanding of natural processes. We explore topics based on the children’s interests (e.g. dinosaurs, vehicles) and take opportunities to compare past and present. We learn about different countries, comparing cultures, landscapes and habitats to foster respect for the world as a whole and an understanding of our place within it.


Expressive arts and design

We will provide a wide range of open-ended resources and loose parts for children to develop their own models, games, sounds and artwork. We will teach the children a range of techniques for using art and music resources. We will explore the arts of our own culture through the ages as well as exploring those from around the world, encouraging discussion and providing the vocabulary for talking about our own creative choices and processes.


Hit enter to search