Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at Caldecote C.P.S


“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential.”  

(EYFS Framework, 2021)


At Caldecote, all teaching staff deliver an EYFS curriculum through immersion in high quality teaching alongside an enriched environment.


Our philosophy is to nurture every child’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. We are advocates of the power of play and allow children ample time to explore, create and take risks within an enriched environment supported by sensitive and passionate Early Years Practitioners.  Children who finish their foundation years at Caldecote are confident, happy and independent individuals who are able to express their needs confidently and their thoughts imaginatively.




The intent for our children is to enter the next stage of their education ready to tackle new challenges with confidence and a positive mindset.


Engage our pupils in a stimulating environment led by the children yet carefully organised and managed by adults. Providing a curriculum responsive to individual starting points and needs.


Innovate our children to take the lead in their own learning, encouraging confidence to explore new ideas, think about problems, take risks, make links and seek challenge.


Develop high levels of engagement, curiosity, collaboration and cooperation. Highly adept at managing their own behavior in the classroom and in social situations.


Express themselves with confidence in a meaningful way. Respecting the opinions and values of themselves and others.




We view play as the most powerful, intrinsically driven vehicle for the learning that happens each and every day within our setting. As such, most of the teaching and learning is planned spontaneously or ‘In the Moment’.


In The Moment Planning


We believe that when children are pursuing their own interests then their levels of engagement will be high. It is within this enthusiasm that the sensitive interactions from the adults can support and extend the learning possibilities (Ephgrave 2013). When an adult may join and support a child in their individual pursuits this then can become an adult-guided activity.


Our ‘Planning’ sheets are blank at the start of the week. Targets are added for focus areas of learning based on staff knowledge and assessment of the child.

These sheets are gradually filled during the week. When possible, photos are added to the record and ‘Wow’ moments are captured.


We are ambitious in our approach using ‘In The Moment’ planning (immediate and continuous cycle of observation, assessment, planning and teaching) alongside structured and systematic lessons and guided work.


Morning Work


Each day begins with an opening short session of linked provision. This session is activity based, active and fun and usually a Physical Development, Math’s or Literacy focus.


“Everyone is engaged in activities that are themed around the identified need. The same activities are repeated every day for a week and the children get to experiences and repeat all of them” Alistair Bryce-Clegg 2013


Carpet Sessions


Three times a day as a whole class covering the specific areas of Literacy, Math and Phonics. These are planned according to the Long Term Plan and the identified needs of the children.


Adult Led focused groups


Short focused groups are planned carefully for those children who need additional support away from the initial point of teaching. This helps to give extra time and tailored support to our children who may at times be ‘working towards’ ARE. 



Continuous Provision


Continuous provision transcends all areas of learning and provides children with the opportunity to demonstrate all three characteristics of effective learning. Children are given the freedom to make independent choices and are encouraged to be active learners and take control of their own learning.



Within Continuous Provision our Assessment Strategy is 3-fold.


1. Observation

When planning in the moment, a practitioner carries out the cycle of ‘Observation, Assessment and Planning’ on a moment-by-moment basis and therefore Observation forms a fundamental aspect of the pedagogy of EYFS at Caldecote.


We work in this way because ‘children are learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that a skillful adult makes a difference.


By using this cycle on a moment-by-moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (Assessment) and always ready with appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s wellbeing and learning (Planning for the next moment).


National Strategies; Learning, Playing and Interacting 2009 Pg 22-23.

Focus Children


Instead of having focus activities, each week we have focus children (approx. 10%). The week before a child is one of our focus children, they take home a camera and a letter to their parents explaining this, and asking them to contribute their knowledge of their child along with a few photographs.  Each child is a focus child once per term, three times a year, thus resulting in parents having the opportunity to contribute and consult with us in a structured way each term. During each child’s focus week their Observations of quality interactions and learning experiences are recorded on their focus sheets.


2. The Leuvens Scale


Alongside the use of observation as an assessment tool we also rely upon the pioneering work of Professor Ferre Laevers (1980s) to understand how focused and comfortable the children are in our setting.


The scales of wellbeing and involvement act as a measure of deep learning and of the effectiveness of the learning environment. This has an empowering impact on our planning and can help to raise the learning potential for our children.


3. Summative Assessment


We carry out summative assessment on Phonic Development, Mathematical understanding and an assessment of each child’s stage of development for each of the 7 areas of learning. These take place termly and informs planning of subsequent teaching and learning.

The role of the adult


Research shows that progress will be significantly enhanced by the effective support and role modelling of adults within a high-quality learning environment.


At Caldecote the role of the adult during continuous provision is based upon the writings of Marion Dowling (2005) ‘Supporting Sustained Shared Thinking’, Julie Fisher ‘Interacting or Interfering’ (2016) and the Hanen Learning Language and Loving It Program (LLLI).


Within our settings interactions between children and adults will look like this:


Tuning it to what is happening or a child’s thinking.
Showing genuine interest
Respecting children’s own decisions and choices.
Inviting children to elaborate
Recapping on what has happened so far.
Offering personal experiences
Clarifying ideas
Using specific Praise e.g. “That is a good idea because…”
Specualting..”I wonder if… what… when….”
Offering an alternative viewpoint.

The role of the environment


The importance of each adult to support progression is crucial, however, we equally understand that in times when a child is on their own independent learning journey the environment plays a significant role in development.


“When it comes to what we have and why we have it, then nothing should be left to chance” Bryce-Clegg 2015.


At Caldecote, each area of the classroom is carefully considered and as the needs of the children change, as they grow and develop, so does their learning space.


Our environment is enhanced regularly, bringing in new objects/items of curiosity and resources linked to the children’s interests, the Seasons and our wider curriculum. This gives the children opportunities to explore things that they would not otherwise have access to.


Our learning environments offer a wealth of opportunities for children to experience diverse forms of play; both indoors and outdoors.


We provide exposure to specific skills that need to be taught such as wood working, cooking and sewing.


Our learning spaces are set up in a ‘work-shop’ style with open shelving and a host of open-ended resources.  Using resources that are open-ended encourage creativity, imagination and high order thinking skills. These resources have unlimited potential.



Our timetable allows for long uninterrupted periods of continuous provision that allow the children to reach a deep level of involvement as they engage, play, investigate and talk.


Our Reception teachers have closely followed the National Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in order to hone an EYFS provision that meets the needs of our children and community. The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum includes three prime areas of learning and four specific areas as follows:


Prime areas: are fundamental, work together and support development in all other areas.

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development


Specific areas: include essential knowledge and skills for children to participate successfully in society.

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design


The Characteristics of Effective Learning 

When planning out Curriculum we used the research and guidance which can be found in 'Development Matters'  to inform our choices and decisions. The Characteristics of Effective Learning, outlined in this document, are an integral part of the Early Years and are important when carefully considering the learning environment and the opportunities that will be available.


The Characteristics of Effective Learning include;

‘Finding out and exploring’,

‘Being willing to have a go’,

‘Being involved and concentrating’ and

being a ‘creative and critical thinker’.