Early Years foundation stage (eyfs)

Play is often talked about as if it was a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play really is the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers


In the EYFS children learn best when they experience learning first hand, through meaningful interactions with others, through physical activity and through play. Our curriculum approach is underpinned by a strong understanding of how children learn, with continuous opportunities for outdoor play and exploratory learning. 


At Millfields Primary School we know how important a child’s first year at primary school is. In our Reception Class, we aim to provide a stimulating and caring environment in which we can instil a love of learning for all of our children. We aim to build our pupils’ resilience, curiosity and independence during their first year with us, alongside enabling them to reach their full potential in their learning, through the provision of exciting and challenging learning experiences across the curriculum.


The Early Years curriculum emphasises three prime areas of learning:

- Personal, social and emotional

- Communication and Language

- Physical


The curriculum breaks down into four specific areas of learning:

- Literacy

- Mathematics

- Understanding the world

- Expressive arts and design


We follow the 2020 Statutory framework of the EYFS and the four guiding principles that shape practice within the Early Years classroom:

- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between staff and parents/carers.  

- Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in the early years, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

Teaching in the EYFS is organised through a range of approaches and provides a balance of child initiated and adult-led activities:
- Opportunities for teachers to work alongside children as they develop their own interests in particular areas of the curriculum.
- Planned focused activities where adults work with a small group of children at a time. Teachers will differentiate the activity to meet the needs of every child participating.
- Small group teaching of early reading and writing through a phonics based programme called Little Wandle.
- Whole class teaching for short periods of time such as shared storytime, direct teaching (for example in mathematics), songs and rhymes, discussions and sharing work.

Characteristics of effective learning

The characteristics of effective teaching and learning are statutory and are referenced in the EYFS (2023). In planning and guiding what children learn, the EYFS staff reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and we adjust our practice appropriately. 

Playing and Exploring (Engagement) 

Children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’.

Finding out & exploring

Playing with what they know

Be willing to 'have a go'

Active Learning (Motivation)

Children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements.

Being involved & concerntrating

Keeping on trying

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creating & Thinking Critically (Thinking)

Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.

Having their own ideas

Making links

Choosing ways to do things