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The Early Years at Asquith Primary School



Our EYFS curriculum and pedagogy aligns with our school vision of care, opportunity and success. These three words lie at the heart of everything we do at Asquith. Our school intent of oracy, life skills, reading and experiences are woven into everything we do. We awaken and nurture a love of learning that will last a lifetime and provide the skills to pursue that learning independently and collaboratively. We enable all children to make progress no matter what their starting points and provide an ambitious and bespoke curriculum to ensure children reach the Early Learning Goals and are ready for the next phase of their education.


Our aim in the EYFS is to start the transformation journey, by building strong foundations that will enable our children to be successful, happy, curious, life-long learners.


Purpose of the Policy


To ensure a consistent approach to all aspects of our Early Years practice from Nursery to Reception by:


  • enabling all staff in Early Years to provide a curriculum that takes account of children’s starting points and enables children to make progress no matter their starting point.
  • enabling all staff in Early Years to quickly identify children who might be disadvantaged and who may require intervention to catch up and keep up.
  • enabling all staff in Early Years to quickly identify children who may have SEND and who may require intervention to catch up and keep up or require individualised targets.
  • enabling all staff in Early Years to teach through recognised early years methodology.
  • enabling all staff in early years to recognise the importance of working with parents.
  • enabling all staff in early years to formatively assess regularly and frequently and to understand early years summative assessment methodology.
  • enabling all staff in early years to prepare all children for the next phase in their education


The Best For Every Child

At Asquith, we ensure we provide the highest quality education for all children in early years by

  • Completing an assessment when children start Nursery and Reception and using this to plan a curriculum catered to the needs and interests of our children.
  • Completing the statutory Reception Baseline Assessment.
  • Seeking information from parents and previous early years providers to ensure that we are providing a curriculum and an environment that will allow all children to achieve their full potential.
  • Working closely with parents and families.
  • Completing a speech and language assessment and providing daily speech and language sessions for those that need it.
  • Using a variety of teaching strategies including whole class, small group and 1 to 1 teaching, adult led and child-initiated learning.  
  • Ensuring that children feel happy, safe, valued and confident. We understand that children learn best when they feel settled and secure.
  • Forming good relationships with children. 
  • Understanding the importance of a high-quality early years education.
  • Planning a well-sequenced, coherent curriculum that enables all children to make progress through knowing more, understanding more and being able to do more.


From assessment, children’s starting points are quickly identified and those that may be disadvantaged or SEND are highlighted for additional observation and intervention. Children with SEND are referred to the school SENCo and relevant outside agencies. The aim for these children is that the intervention enables them to catch up quickly. For example, in reception, children with specific needs around speech and language receive well planned, well resourced, daily speech and language sessions catered to their needs. In nursery, language is scaffolded and supported to develop and enhance language. Assessment shows us that children make accelerated progress enabling them to meet the early learning goal in speaking.


Parents and carers are helped to support their children at home through suggested activities at our welcome meetings, weekly RWI videos sent home that link to the learning taking place in school, homework activities, reading books which match the child’s level of reading and regular conversations with parents during the school term and at parent meetings. Our half termly newsletters, let parents know what learning will be taking place that half term, the books we will be using and some vocabulary that will be covered. This ensure parents know what their children are learning and can support their children with this at home.


We are passionate about making transition as smooth and fluent as possible. We meet with the next teacher to discuss all children. We talk about the child as a whole, including their likes, dislikes, things that make them happy and comfortable. We talk about their home life, their achievements, progress, gaps, additional needs and outside agencies involved. We spend time with the children in their current setting, to get to know them better and to see how they play and interact. Teachers write a letter about themselves, for children and parents, to introduce themselves and begin forming those strong relationships that we cherish. In reception we have a staggered start, gradually increasing their time at school from a half day to a full day. This gives children time to adjust to the longer day gradually. We prioritise transition sessions, giving children time to explore their new classroom and spend time with their new teacher. We create social stories for our SEND children to support their transition. When children start nursery, we offer their first day as a stay and play session; parents can stay with their child whilst they settle in. This works really well and usually parents choose to leave mid-way through the session as their children are settled and happy.


We hold welcome meetings for parents to inform them about the journey their child will embark on. We keep the website updated so that parents can see what their children have achieved. Through Tapestry, the school App system, Facebook and newsletters we keep parents fully informed of what their children are learning and how they can support this at home.   


Our school progression maps for all subjects, work from the beginning of reception to the end of year 6. This ensures that what children learn in EYFS gives them the skills and knowledge they need for year 1.    


Children with English as an additional language are fully supported to access the curriculum and develop their English. We have daily sessions which teach vocabulary. We model vocabulary and sentence structure. We sign using Makaton and we use pictures, signs, puppets and real objects to support understanding. We support parents with their understanding through the use of Google Translate. A strategy we have found really helpful, is sending home the following week’s class story in children’s home language the week before. In this way children can enjoy the story, with their parents, in the language they are more confident with. Children and parents have given us very positive feedback about this and our EAL children have been more engaged and excited when they engage with the story in school. We talk about and celebrate the diversity of languages and cultures that we have at Asquith. Children often enjoy showing us where they were born on our world map. They also enjoy teaching us words in their own language. In Reception, we use the Neli program to support our teaching of language.


High Quality Care


High quality care and education is provided for all children in line with the early years foundation stage statutory framework and accompanying school policies.


The Curriculum


We provide a bespoke curriculum, covering the 7 areas of learning defined by the EYFS. We ensure that our curriculum is language rich and based around high quality text. All staff are ambitious for every child and our aim is that every child reaches the ELG and achieves a good level of development. This aim has guided the development of our progressive and well sequenced curriculum. Children learn essential skills and knowledge and every effort is made to engage and motivate them to want to learn.


We want children to experience the awe and wonder of the world. Our curriculum complements children’s instinctive desire to investigate, explore and ultimately understand how their world works.


  • We teach children respect for the environment and a love of the natural world through our forest school sessions which are taught by a fully qualified forest school expert.
  • We use Read, Write Inc as our systematic, synthetic phonics program. We have regular training and support from the Read Write Inc team. Progress meetings and half termly assessments ensure that children are grouped correctly to receive the teaching they need and are making good progress. RWI interventions support children when needed ensuring progress is boosted and gaps are addressed.
  • We use White Rose Maths to teach all areas of the mathematics curriculum. We also embrace the training from Karen Wilding recognising the importance of subitising, using concrete experiences and making essential connections within their learning.
  • We have a specialist PE coach who delivers weekly PE sessions for both nursery and reception. Sessions follow a clearly mapped scheme, building skills and knowledge each week.
  • We use the Neli program to improve language skills.
  • We build on childrens’ interests and respond to their ideas for play incorporating the in the moment planning ideals.
  • Concepts and skills are introduced through hands on activities.
  • We passionately believe in learning through play and provide an environment that supports this.
  • We embrace the curiosity approach, providing open ended resources throughout our environment. Through these open-ended resources children are able to explore, investigate and further their learning. It enables children to use their imagination, have their own ideas and use their critical thinking to adapt as necessary and make links in their learning. We understand that more can be learnt through a failure and trying again and that this builds resilient learners. We provide the support and encouragement children might need to have another go.   
  • We carefully consider what children need to learn over time, so they are able to reach ambitious end points by the end of their time in the early years.
  • In reception we use Greg Bottrill’s Drawing Club as well as Talk for Writing to develop children language. We explicitly teach vocabulary linked to stories, topics and experiences and also model new language and sentence structure during play. We fully support our EAL children through the use of Makaton, pictures, photographs, puppets, real objects and clear speech. Before we teach traditional tales we send the stories home in childrens’ home language. Parents and children really love this as they are able to enjoy the story together and learn the story before it is introduced at school in English. We have noticed children are more engaged in the sessions as a result of this and are better able to contribute and show their understanding.
  • In nursery we use Greg Bottrill’s Story Dough! to immerse children in the worlds of story dreaming, chat, mark making and finger strength.  
  • We incorporate activities to develop fine and gross motor skills. These are within our environment for example tweezers and small loose parts as well are large spades and climbing equipment. These skills are also taught directly for example through Dough Disco, Pen Disco and yoga. 


Early Reading


Our ambition is that all children will reach the early learning goal in reading by the end of Reception. To maximise children potential to achieve this goal we:

  • Sing rhymes and songs daily. In nursery these are chosen and prioritised for key vocabulary and sentence structure to develop communication and language skills. More complex vocabulary and sentence structures within rhymes and songs are introduced as children move into Reception.
  • High quality texts, which include fiction, non-fiction and poetry are carefully selected to align with the school reading spine which is also progressive. In early years we read to the children daily. We enjoy sharing stories as a whole class, in small groups and 1 to 1. We have a love of reading and want to pass this onto our children. We engage in book talk, supporting children to understand the text and express their own ideas, making links to other things they have seen or heard.    
  • We use the RWI scheme in both Nursery and Reception. This begins with developing vocabulary, listening skills and understanding through talking, modelling, engaging in back-and-forth conversations and rephrasing and extending as needed.
  • In Nursery children are prepared for Reception through the practice of oral segmenting and blending.
  • In the early years children are taught to orally retell rhymes and stories.  
  • Reading develops through the early years. Children learn the concepts of print and practise their phonics and comprehension skills from what they have read and also what has been read to them.
  • Home reading begins with a story book to enjoy with their family at home. We want children to experience the joy and comfort of being read a quality book at home. We want them to be excited and eager to know what will happen next. We also have a school lending library where children can choose an additional story book to enjoy at home. Once ready, children receive a reading book weekly which is closely linked to their phonics ability. We still send story books home for them to enjoy and to boost their vocabulary and feed their imaginations. During our parent meeting we model how to support children to blend sounds together to read words. Staff receive regular training provided by RWI and regular support with reading and passing on to children the joy of reading for pleasure. We also send RWI video links home for parents. These recap the learning children have experienced at school helping to embed phonics knowledge into the child’s long term memory whilst also supporting parents with phonics.
  • Children will choose books as part of their continuous provision and books are available in all areas of the classroom.
  • We create an inviting, comfortable book area that children are drawn to with carefully chosen stories, rhymes and non-fiction books to enhance children’s learning. We promote the use of the reading area by inviting children into the space to read for pleasure. We make sure the space is cosy and appealing. We draw children in by providing interesting small world characters, puppets and props to enhance their interest in books.




Our pedagogy is a mix of approaches including:

  • Adults promote and model positive interactions and a loving environment where children feel safe, valued and secure.
  • Adults develop positive relationships with children which encourages and enables them to flourish.
  • Adults continually model high quality interaction, relationships, collaboration and children are praised when they demonstrate these skills.
  • We teach skills and knowledge through whole class sessions and group work and we encourage and support children to apply and experiment with their learning during independent work and play.  
  • We follow the RosenShine Principles of retrieval, small steps, narrating the process, modelling and questioning. We use questioning to ensure all children are engaged and participating in the lesson and to check understanding and identify any misconceptions. We plan review activities to help children retrieve previously learnt information which we can then built upon. We break tasks down into small steps teaching children how to complete each part of the process. We model how to complete tasks and use equipment. We talk aloud through our thought process so that children learn and understand more for example why certain vocabulary is chosen or why a finger space is added. We give children the knowledge and skills they need to move their learning on.   
  • The indoor and outdoor learning environments are planned to respond to the childrens’ learning and development needs. We use the mantra ‘why this, why now?’ when adding things to the areas. Resources are added to extend learning, to follow their interests and to address gaps or weaknesses. We also respond to children’s interests. If they decide that it is the teddy’s birthday today then we will follow this interest, helping them to set up the house for a party and provide resources to make cards and party invitations.
  • We like children to have access to free flow learning between the indoor and outdoor classroom. We understand that some children love to be outside, whereas others are much happier indoors. To cater for this we make sure that both the indoor and outdoor environments support the curriculum.
  • We use the curiosity approach when planning our environment, embedding a culture of curiosity, awe and wonder at the heart of our setting. By incorporating authentic resources, we create a rich and engaging experience that promotes exploration, imagination, and a deeper connection to the world around them. We have moved away from plastic pretend toys preferring real-life experiences and materials.
  • We like open ended resources which provide opportunities for open ended learning. We don’t want children to enter an area of the unit knowing that they have 1 set task to complete such a making a tower of ten bricks. This limits both the learning that can take place and the children ability to use and develop their imagination. Such a closed task would be too simple for some children, not supporting them to progress whilst being too advanced for others leading them to give up or experience the feeling of failure. Instead, if the area is filled with open ended loose parts and things for them to explore then their learning opportunities are endless.
  • The resources and materials we offer provide a broad range of possibilities which allow children to learn and develop by using them over an extended period of time. We have taken this approach on board following training with Early Excellence who state that ‘Changing resources on a regular basis will not support the children’s independence and it won’t lead to a progression of ideas’.
  • During continuous provision adults model play, language, social interactions and use of equipment. We extend learning, add new language and support children to have a go.    
  • In Reception the timetable is more structured as the year progresses in preparation for Year One.
  • Snack times are structured so children sit together to enjoy their snack socially.
  • For children that are disadvantaged or who have SEND, adaptations are made to the implementation of the curriculum to ensure children continue to make progress. This might mean joining in with others, or it could involve more 1 to 1 work catering for their needs.
  • Children with English as an additional language are supported to access the curriculum as well as with their acquisition of the English language.
  • Every effort is made to ensure parents are kept informed of the curriculum content and their child’s progress. We produce a half termly newsletter letting parents know what areas of learning we will be covering, what books we are focussing on and additional information about the half term. We also have termly parents evening meetings to inform parents about progress and how they can further support their child at home.   
  • We keep up to date with current research, attend staff meetings and training days. We follow influential people in the world of Early Years such as Karen Wilding, Greg Bottrill and Alistair Bryce Glegg and make changes to our practice as necessary.  As such our practise is continually developing to the benefit of their childrens’ leaning and skills acquisition.




Formative and summative assessment give us a clear picture of where children are up to in their learning and development and enable adults to deepen and extend learning. We use a variety of method of assessment:

  • Before attending Nursery, parents will complete an ‘all about me’ document to let us know more about their child. We understand that parents are children’s first educators and we value the contribution they make.
  • Before attending Reception, information is gathered from previous providers and from parents.
  • The Reception baseline assessment is completed within 6 weeks of the child starting reception.
  • We use observations, informal chats and playing alongside and with children to build a broad picture of their likes, dislikes, knowledge and skills. All of this information gives us the child’s starting point and informs our planning.
  • Information is gathered daily through observations and next steps are discussed and planned for.
  • Summative assessment takes place each term. Information is gathered through observations, work children have produced and discussion between adults. Termly assessments are made against our I Can Document. This sets out what children should know and be able to do at the end of each term in order for them to be on track to achieve the Early Learning Goals. Our curriculum is then adapted to take account of gaps, barriers and strengths.
  • Assessments are made half termly in RWI and children are regrouped as necessary.
  • Children with SEND are assessed against individual targets and summary goals using B-squared. In this way we can see the progress they have made and identify their next steps.   
  • Children who are disadvantaged or falling behind are assessed against current learning to ensure gaps are addressed and children are supported to achieve accelerated progress.  
  • Misconceptions and gaps are identified and addressed for all children throughout their learning each day.
  • EYFSP assessments take place within the summer term and information is passed to the local authority and moderation takes place within our family of schools.
  • Detailed information is shared with Year 1 teachers when children leave early years.
  • Parents receive a written report and are invited to attend parent meetings throughout the year.


Self Regulation and Executive function


We understand that children need support to effectively self-regulate. We support children to be independent, resilient, empathetic and to take responsibility for their behaviour and their learning.

This is done through:

  • Teaching clear routines and setting boundaries.
  • Teaching children to use sentence such as ‘stop it, I don’t like it’ and ‘can I have a turn next’.
  • Self-regulation is taught and supported as children encounter difficulties, including conflict resolution, turn taking and sharing.
  • Supporting children to identify and name their own and others emotions. We use the zones of regulation to support children to understand how they feel and that these feelings are normal. We teach strategies that children can use in order to get back to the green zone and to de-escalate in emotional situations. We also use stories and role play situations to look at different ways to deal with difficult situations.
  • We also teach children how to share and take turns through modelling and through playing games together such as skittles, and board games.    
  • We support and encourage children to bounce back when things get difficult or go wrong.
  • We praise children when they have resolved difficulties, showed kindness, shared resources or taken turns fairly. We want children to feel proud of these accomplishments.


Partnership with Parents


We pride ourselves on the relationships we have with our parents.  We value parents as partners and always develop caring, respectful, professional relationships with the children and their families. Parents are encouraged to share information about their child’s learning and progress regularly and are supported in extending learning at home, through meetings and workshops, updates on Tapestry and the information they provide on their child’s admissions forms. We understand that the help parents give their children at home has a significant impact on their learning. We invite parents in for stay and play sessions, we support them with toiletings, stopping the use of dummies, routin

EYFS Topic Overview