Castleside Primary School

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EYFS Framework

The Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life. For a useful guide about what to expect at each stage, please see useful information at the bottom of the page.

Principles of the EYFS

The children are given opportunities to play and explore, to investigate and experience things and to ‘have a go’. They are active and develop their own ideas. They are all unique and will have different interests and abilities. The areas of development have been divided into two groups, Prime and Specific.  Our curriculum has 7 areas of learning:

The Three Prime Areas:

Personal, Social And Emotional:

  • Making Relationships

    Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

  • Self-Confidence And Self-Awareness

    Children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.

  • Managing Feelings And Behaviour

    Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

Communication And Language:

  • Listening And Attention

    Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

  • Understanding

    Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

  • Speaking

    Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Physical Development:

  • Moving And Handling

    Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements.They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

  • Health And Self Care

    Children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

These prime areas are essential for children’s healthy development and future learning.  The three prime areas form essential building blocks and as children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in four specific areas.

Four Specific Areas:


  • Reading

    Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

  • Writing

    Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.


  • Numbers

    Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

  • Shape, Space And Measure

    Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Understanding The World:

  • People And Communities

    Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.

  • The World

    Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

  • Technology

    Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

Expressive Arts And Design:

  • Exploring And Using Media And Materials

    Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

  • Being Imaginative

    Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.

These seven areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities according to their unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’ needs and interests.

Children in our EYFS typically learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors (Learning to Learn).  Here at Castleside Primary School, we strongly believe that outdoor learning is key to a child’s development.  The children have lots of quality outdoor experiences each day.

Our EYFS promotes partnership working between practitioners and families to ensure the best start possible for children. It seeks to make sure that every child makes good progress and has the opportunity to gain a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities. These opportunities and experiences must take into account individual children’s needs and interests.

Reading in the EYFS

At Castleside Primary School we follow a validated phonics scheme; Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS). The programme provides a simple, consistent approach to phonics, provided through easy-to-use interactive whiteboard eBook lessons. ELS keeps routines simple to reduce cognitive load and maximise the chances of success ELS follows the original Letters and Sounds progression. All staff in school have completed training on ELS delivered from the Knowledge Schools Trust.

Every child in reception and year 1 takes part in a daily phonics session. Some may access additional phonic interventions throughout the day. The Essential Letters and Sounds programme is separated into Phases – your child’s teacher will be able to tell you which Phase your child is currently working on.

If you are unsure of how to pronounce phonic sounds correctly,  BBC Teach – Reading the Sounds of English will enable you to hear the pronunciation of each sound.

Letter to Parents

Useful Information

You can view or download further information about EYFS and your child’s learning and development by clicking the links below:

Statutory Framework for the EYFS



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