St John's Church of England Academy

I Will Shine

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Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.’

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile - Department for Children, Schools and Families 2012


The Early Years Foundation Stage applies to children from birth to the end of their Reception Year. At St. John’s Church of England Academy, Reception children start the September following their fourth birthday. We believe that early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives and at St. John’s, we greatly value the importance that the Early Years plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development. We also ensure that our school vision and values are embedded in all that we do, allowing children to truly 'shine'. 

Learning through play

Learning through play is an important part of our Early Years approach. We believe children learn best from activities and experiences that interest and inspire them. Using children’s interests as a starting point, we provide children with stimulating, active play experiences (indoor and outdoor) in which they can explore and develop their learning to help them make sense of the world. They have opportunities through their play to think creatively and critically alongside other children as well as on their own. They are able to practise skills, build upon and revisit prior learning at their own level and pace. Play gives our children the opportunity to pursue their own interests and inspire those around them. The children learn to adapt, negotiate, communicate, discuss, investigate and ask questions. We believe it is important that adults take an active role in child- initiated play through observing, modelling, facilitating and extending their play.


We include direct, carefully planned, adult led experiences for children in the form of structured adult led teaching and adult led group activities. These are particularly important in helping children to learn specific skills and knowledge and it is often through children’s play that we see how much of this learning children have understood and taken on. Each day we follow a timetable with set routines in place. We set aside times each day when the children come together to be taught in the more traditional sense, gathered together as a class.


Our Reception provision follows the curriculum as outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage  (EYFS) document, which is available to download at;

The EYFS framework includes seven areas of learning and development, all of which are seen as important and interconnected

The prime areas are;

· Communication and Language – Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking

· Physical Development – Moving and Handling, and Self care

 · Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Making relationships, Managing feelings and behaviour, and Self-confidence and Self-awareness

The specific areas are;

· Literacy – Reading and Writing

· Mathematics – Number, and Space, Shape and Measures

· Understanding the World – People and communities, The world, and Technology

· Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and using media and materials and Being Imaginative


Characteristics of Effective Learning

Reception also includes the characteristics of effective teaching and learning. The teachers plan activities within the Reception classrooms with these in mind. They highlight the importance of a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them.

The three characteristics are:

· Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’

· Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements

· Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.


Our Outdoor Area

We are very excited about our outdoor area. It is a personalised and bespoke values-driven outdoor environment made with natural materials. The school values are threaded throughout the area, with important words and phrases built into our landscape, and there are multiple opportunities for children to be challenged through all aspects of learning, in particular, with Number, Measures and Expressive Arts and Design. 

What do the children say?

“It’s fun outside.”

“I love playing in the mud.”

“Me and my friend like looking for slugs. We’re using teamwork”

“I love making a river in the sand.”

“We are growing carrots.”

“We’re making a show with songs and dances.”

“I’ve used blocks to make a chair for the giant!”