Early Years is where our journey starts…

It is our intention at WCLA, that our early years curriculum provides children with the knowledge and skills they need to make successful start to their school journey and to develop as learners.

Learning has been planned so that it is sequential, building upon what children know and can do with the early learning goals clear outcomes.  It is intended that the knowledge, skills and attitudes children develop in the early years equip them to continue to be successful as they progress to year 1 and beyond.

Development Matters guidance (2021), programmes work used across the school and what we know about how young children learn were used to plan a curriculum that is progressive and exciting.

Our curriculum has high expectations for all. We consider the needs of our pupils with SEND, adapting approaches where required, so that all children can make the maximum progress from their individual starting points.


We follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, updated September 2021, by the DfE. We encourage active learning to ensure the children are motivated and interested. We take time to get to know children’s interests and their likes to support learning.

All areas of the EYFS curriculum are planned for to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum. The children will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development,
  • Communication and Language,
  • Literacy,
  • Mathematics,
  • Understanding the World,
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Each area of learning is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. They are supported through a well-resourced inside and outside environments and staff that can interact skilfully to challenge and develop children’s skills. Children have opportunities to direct their own learning through choosing where, how and with whom they play. This approach allows the children to develop their skills through supporting the characteristic of effective teaching and learning:

Playing and Exploring

  • Finding out and exploring
  • Playing with what they know
  • Being willing to ‘have a go.’

Active learning

  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keeping trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creating and Thinking Critically

  • Having their own ideas
  • Making links
  • Choosing ways to do things

At certain parts of the day children will be taught as a whole class, a small group or individually. Our Nursery pupils take part in short whole class and small group inputs focussed on their learning theme. They also learn to listen and focus for increasing amounts of time. They have a short practical phonics and maths sessions weekly with the focus very much of exploring and playing whilst developing early skills.

In Reception all children will have short, structured daily phonics, literacy and maths lessons. Take part in small group work to develop their mathematical and writing skills. Each week children are heard read by an adult, as well as having other opportunities to practice their early reading skills. Handwriting and PE are taught in specific lessons, but are also supported by environmental opportunities and activities.  We use our literacy texts and the children’s interests as a basis for learning in all areas. 

As children mature and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led and independent activities to help children prepare for more formal learning, in year 1. We work closely with staff from Year 1 and prepare the children for the transition by allowing them to become familiar with the staff and the environment and ensuring the environments are similar at the end of EYFS and the start of Year 1.

Observations and ongoing professional discussions between staff allow us to assess children's progress and inform the next steps in their learning. We notice their interests and needs and use this, along with our curriculum plan, to inform


We want our curriculum to ensure that:

  • Children develop their vocabulary and understanding of language across the EYFS curriculum
  • Children enjoy, listen attentively and respond with comprehension to familiar stories, rhymes and songs that are appropriate to their age and stage of development.
  • Children to have a secure understanding of early phonic knowledge and skills in order to make a good start on their journeys as readers and writers.
  • Children understand securely early mathematical concepts
  • Children articulate what they know, understand and can do holding thoughtful conversations with adults and their friends.
  • They show good control and coordination in both large and small movements appropriate for their stage of development

We measure the children’s development formally by assessing them against the Early Learning Goals at they are as set out in the Early Years Framework. These judgements are moderated internally and with external practitioners. The assessments are shared with parents and Year 1 staff as part of the transition process.

The impact of our curriculum is also be measured by how effectively it prepares pupils for their next learning steps. 

Updated: 19/02/2024 915 KB