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Early Years

Year Reception marks the final year of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) before moving into the National Curriculum in Year 1. The key method of learning in the Early Years is through ‘play’. This involves children having the freedom to apply their learned skills through practical, directed and non – directed activities which help to cement their learning. Children are continually immersed into a theme which is based on their interests and help them to develop their knowledge in the seven areas of development:

  1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  2. Communication and Language
  3. Physical Development
  4. Mathematics
  5. Literacy
  6. Understanding the World
  7. Expressive Arts and Design

Within the Early Years, learning occurs both indoors and outdoors. Learning is supported through directed activities which take place in both environments. At Norwood, we believe that a wide range of experiences are vital to developing the learning of the whole child. This is why we do not view the seven areas of development as singular topics, but ones that integrate within each other. This is why we encourage outdoor learning as it provides many experiences which indoors cannot accommodate, such as bug hunting, seasonal change and large scale construction. We encourage children to be outside in all weathers to ensure they develop a breath of experience and knowledge throughout their time in the Early Years.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Self-confidence, Self-respect, self-awareness
  • Awareness of helping others
  • Relationships with peers and adults
  • Positive behaviour
  • Morals and feelings
  • Effects of our actions and controlling our emotions
  • Differences and similarities
  • Decision making
  • Co-operation, sharing and taking turns


  • Rhyming words
  • Responding to stories and poems
  • Read, Write, Inc. – a synthetic phonics approach to learning to read and write
  • Sounding out and blending
  • Letter formation
  • Reading development
  • Independent writing
  • Making up/copying stories
  • Simple sentence structure

Communication and Language

  • Understanding language
  • Listening skills
  • Speaking audibly and clearly
  • Concentration and attention
  • Breaking up words into sounds
  • Questioning skills
  • Understanding humour
  • Extending vocabulary
  • Correct responses
  • Initiating conversations
  • Resolving conflicts

Understanding the World

  • Study of locality (where we live and our home)
  • Comparison activities
  • Development of geographical vocabulary
  • Seasonal changes
  • Weather and dates
  • Awareness of past and present (e.g. electricity and toys)
  • Change and life cycles (growth of animals, humans and plants)
  • Observation skills
  • People and their communities (differences and comparisons)
  • Experimenting
  • Technological understanding
  • Finding out and exploring information

Physical Development

  • Outdoor play (push and pull equipment, large construction, ball games)
  • P.E. (body awareness, effect of exercise, balancing and strength)
  • Gross and Fine motor development
  • Manipulative skills over large and small tools
  • Writing development (pencil grip and control)

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Exploring and using various media e.g. paint, play dough, clay, chalk, crayon
  • Colour mixing
  • Junk modelling
  • Singing
  • Using instruments
  • Imaginative play
  • Role play
  • Dancing


  • Extending mathematical vocabulary
  • Creating and continuing patterns
  • Matching and sorting
  • Counting with one-to-one correspondence
  • Number recognition
  • Value of numbers
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Money
  • Time (clock, days, weeks, day and night)
  • Measuring with standard (rulers, tape measure) and non-standard units (fingers, counters)
  • 2D and 3D shapes
  • Sequencing
  • Weight, length, height and capacity