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The Early Years Foundation Stage

At Caldecote, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage for children from birth to five years old. The curriculum’s framework refers to planned learning experiences based on different key aspects of children’s development and learning in the following areas:

Prime Areas: 

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

Specific Areas:

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


At nursery we aim to develop and broaden the range of children’s learning experiences through the 7 areas of the curriculum.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning:

•  Playing and Exploring
•  Active Learning
•  Creating and Thinking Critically

The characteristics of learning run through and underpin all seven areas of learning and development, representing processes rather than outcomes.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

At Caldecote Day Nursery:

We encourage links between home and nursery.

We use a Key Person system so children can form strong attachments to adults.

We use encouraging and appropriate praise to develop confidence in the children. Time is spent establishing routines and making children aware of the rules so that they can become increasingly independent in the nursery.

We provide opportunities for children to play cooperatively and form friendships.

We encourage positive attitudes to people and the environment through storytelling, role play, discussion and songs. Children are encouraged to ask questions and express their feelings through talk, drawing, painting, movement and play.

We organise the nursery session in such a way that there is time for free choice for adult directed activities, for quiet times and for energetic play.

We provide children with open-ended resources where communication with others, imagination and negotiating skills are paramount.

Communication and Language

At Caldecote Day Nursery:

Practitioners help to enrich children’s language skills as they sit together at mealtimes.

We use story time to encourage children to listen and respond to stories, poems, songs, music and rhymes.

We engage children in conversations, encouraging them to express their feelings and thinking. Children are encouraged to ask questions and to communicate their needs and preferences.

Younger children and babies are encouraged to use their language skills by repeating vocabulary introduced by practitioners.

We organise activities which require children to listen to information or instructions e.g. craft, cooking etc. Listening is further developed through the use of ‘Storyphones’ and playing listening games e.g. lotto.

We make links between the written word and the spoken word e.g. at story time, in the graphics area, using recipes etc.

We raise awareness of letters, sounds and words through the use of name cards and other print, including captions, in the nursery and in the community.

Physical Development

At Caldecote Day Nursery:

We provide opportunities for energetic play both indoors and outdoors using equipment to develop gross motor skills.

We offer opportunities for developing skills which require co-ordination of different parts of the body e.g. running, jumping, throwing and catching etc.

We organise learning where children can express their feelings by movement, using music.

We use the seasons to provide opportunities that are not available indoors, footprints in snow, splashing in puddles, walking through leaves, making patterns in the sand.

We support children in developing their fine motor skills using tools and materials e.g. pencils, pens, crayons, paintbrushes, scissors, cutlery, small construction materials and jigsaws.

We encourage and foster self-help skills e.g. toileting, hand washing, dressing, eating etc.

We establish an understanding of the need for safety rules, both when using tools and large equipment.

We raise awareness of the importance of physical exercise as a contributing factor to being healthy.

We build opportunities for quiet and rest times into the daily routine.


At Caldecote Day Nursery:

We provide books to discuss the language and layout.

We offer stimulating and attractive book corners.

Our staff members encourage children to use and care for books appropriately.

Children are encouraged to use books to find information to extend learning experiences.

Evidence of early writing and mark-making is displayed around the Pre-School room.

Children label their own work and practice emergent writing in a variety of situations.

Children learn letters of the alphabet and with action songs they identify and pronounce the letters.

We support children in identifying specific objects that begin with a sound and recognising if it appears in their own name.

We provide a variety of media and materials for children to freely access to be able to explore mark-making within all of the areas of learning.

Children’s drawings and written marks are discussed and valued. Staff scribe children’s stories when appropriate.

Children are encouraged to ‘write’.


At Caldecote Day Nursery:

Early investigative and curiosity skills are promoted through the use of an excellent range of resources.

We encourage number names and number language to be used spontaneously.

We provide games and activities which enable children to practise early mathematical skills.

Children count beyond 10 & represent numbers using fingers, marks on paper or pictures.

We begin to learn numerals zero to ten.

Children learn an awareness of symmetry.

Children develop mathematical ideas and methods to solve problems.

We provide games and activities which enable children to practise early mathematical skills.

We use everyday activities to develop children’s counting skills such as going up and down the stairs.

We introduce the language of size, shape, colour and texture.

Adult-led and child-led activities are used to question and challenge children’s thinking.

Understanding the World

At Caldecote Day Nursery:

We plan a range of experiences to broaden children’s knowledge of people, the community, the natural world, everyday uses of technology, health and safety and mathematical knowledge.

We use familiar daily routines and children’s own interests to provide contexts for learning.

We invite people to the nursery to talk to the children e.g. the nurse, police officer, paramedics and fire fighters.

We regularly visit local places of interest e.g. local shops, park, churches, temples, library, and museum.

The children celebrate festivals such as Harvest, Diwali and Chinese New Year by taking part in local events.

Road awareness and safety is always promoted on all visits and outings.

We take part in fund-raising events to support local and national charities, providing children with an awareness of others in the world around them.

We provide activities to encourage children to use technology independently i.e. scissors, computer and other utensils.

We take time to establish health and safety routines including hand washing, turn taking and awareness of others.

Expressive Arts and Design

At Caldecote Day Nursery:

We provide art and craft experiences which allow the children to use a range of techniques and tools i.e. painting, drawing, printing, collage, modelling, play dough and junk.

We work with organisations such as ‘WEAVE Recycle’ to develop the use of recycled materials in open-ended play.
Children experiment with ways to construct, join and fix materials.
We use role-play, puppets, and circle time to encourage children to re-tell stories, recreate experiences as well as create imaginary or real life situations.

We provide a music area where children can work independently or with an adult, using musical instruments of their choice. This is also linked to singing and dance activities.

Singing games, e.g. five little speckled frogs and other songs are shared to encourage children to think and explore.
Through continuous activities such as sand and water play, children are offered a choice of resources to allow them to experiment and test their ideas.