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Early Years Education

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a play-based curriculum for children from birth to five years, which allows children to explore and learn in an environment that is secure and safe, yet challenging. Play is integral and is quite rightly deemed ‘essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems’.


Our ethos is providing individualised learning experiences for all children. Each year we do not have predefined set outcomes, we allow for flexibility in our curriculum as we follow in the moment planning alongside our 'rhythm of the year' according to the individuals attending. Our smaller setting allow us to focus on children’s development and supporting them in early skills that support the transition to school. We tailor each year according to the children we have, providing carefully considered experiences to enable greater cultural capital as well as extending each child's learning needs using our key worker approach.


Children benefit from a personalised curriculum which encourages them to follow their own interests and fascinations. ALL children will have access to many varied opportunities which enhance their learning and development across all areas. It is their right to have access to quality first teaching that supports each and every child to achieve their best within an inclusive and supportive environment. Our environment is very fluid, reflective and changes regularly according to the needs and interest of the room. 

Within the EYFS Framework there are seven areas of learning: 3 Prime Areas and 4 Specific Areas. When planning and guiding activities practitioners will reflect upon these areas as well as the Characteristics of Effective Learning which are the different ways that children learn. You will notice flags to the EYFS and Characteristics of Effective Learning on your child's tapestry profile.

Prime Areas

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Specific Areas

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding the World

  • Expressive Arts and Design

Research into early child development shows that children learn more rapidly during their first five years than in later life; whilst all areas of learning are important and inter-connected, the three Prime areas that are crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, building their capacity to learn and form relationships and thrive. The specific areas will enable them to be self-motivated learners who are confident to succeed.

Rhythm of the Year


Here at Littleleaps we follow a rhythm of the year.

This outlines our intention of key events and promotes some of the wider learning experiences through the use of loose topics that would often naturally occur during the year, this allows staff to introduce ideas to the children and gain additional opportunities for children to explore. This plan is carefully entwined within the environment alongside our in the moment planning style; which follows the children's interests to form our curriculum intent throughout the year. Staff will use their professional judgements to address any gaps the children may have in their knowledge and skills and support these through careful key person approach.

Please ask a member of staff if you would like to take a look at our current rhythm of the year.

Staff use knowledge of the child to tailor each experience within the curriculum, using our prior knowledge of what the children knows to extend opportunities appropriate to them. 

Our Curriculum Programmes 

Communication and Language

Involves children being provided with the opportunity to experience a language rich environment; develop confidence in expressing their wants, needs and feelings and being able to speak and listen in a variety of contexts. We used a variety of ways that support children to acquire new vocabulary, including adult modelling and commenting, conversation, storytelling, rhyme time and role play. Key workers get to know all children and their communication styles. 


We value all children's communication means and promote these amongst all children including; Makaton, visual supports, the use of 'first call' and other strategies in liaison with our SENDCo. 


Physical Development

Involves children being encouraged to be interactive and active in their learning and develop control, coordination and movement. They are supported in understanding the importance of physical activity and how to make informed healthy choices at meal times. Children will discover how their bodies work and how different effects activities have on themselves. 

In our 2-5 room, we promote gross motor and fine motor skills development using one of 3 different daily exercises programmes including; 'yoga', 'Dough Disco' and 'squiggle while you wiggle'. 

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Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Involves supporting children to develop confidence and respect for themselves and others. It supports the children in managing their own feelings and understanding appropriate behaviour, which enables them to form strong attachments and relationships. Our key workers are dedicated to supporting all children's personal, social and emotional development. All staff work together to create a safe and secure environment, developing a culture of positive meaningful relationships. 

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Encourages children to extend on core communication and language skills to enable them to develop skills for reading and fine motor skills to support writing. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials to ignite their interest and adults are on hand to nurture interest in exploring these further during adult initiated tasks and child initiative learning. Children will be encouraged to develop a love of listen to stories by sharing their favourite stories with adults and small groups. Children will explore sounds within their names, their peers names and in familiar objects and people around them.  Children are encouraged to ask questions and given opportunities to discuss their thoughts and ideas.

Here at Littleleaps we are guided by the 'letters and sounds' guidance, concentrating on listening and attention development as well as developing a day to day love of books. If children show interest in extending their 'letter and sounds' practitioners may introduce the 'Jolly phonics' program.

Jolly Phonics, teaches children to read and write using synthetic phonics, this means that we teach letter sounds as opposed to the alphabet. This is widely recognised as the an effective way to teach children to read and write in English. 

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Encourages opportunities for children to explore, experiment and discover. Children will develop an interest and improve counting skills with a focus on numbers 1-10. Understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, space and measures will also be introduced and extended on whilst your child is at Littleleaps. Practitioners are skilled to extend children's interests to incorporate mathematics and make it a fun experience for all! Children will develop understanding of mathematical concepts using these 'in context', practice to deepen their understanding and given meaningful opportunities to apply their knowledge. 

Our interactive whiteboard is also a great enhancement in supporting developing mathematical problem solving skills. 


Understanding the World

Involves supporting children in making sense of the world around them and their community by providing opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. We love taking adventures out in our local area and the park is a great place to learn about our environment. Every year we will explore at least 1 life cycle during Spring term, following the interest of the children. In 2021and 2022 we explored caterpillars and in 2019 we explored the life cycle of ducks, we can't wait to see what will take our interest in 2023. 


Expressive Arts and Design

Enables children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as encouraging the sharing of thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology. Children are able to access a range of multimedia options to promote self expression as well as have access to adult guided activities. Open ended play is promoted within our role play area as well as enhanced play provocations following the childrens interest. Messy play activities are available daily and offer children a chance to experiment with textures, colours and sensory experiences. 

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The Characteristics of Effective Learning

This is key factor within our implementation of our Curriculum, understanding how children learn will then influence what they learn whilst they are with us here at Littleleaps. 

Playing and Exploring

Supports children's engagement and investigation and to experience things through being willing to 'have a go'

Active Learning

Supports children's motivation to learn by helping develop their concentration, ability and will to keep trying when challenges occur and celebration of completing a task.

Creating and Thinking Critically

Supports children's thinking skills through developing ideas, making links between differing ideas and create strategies for completing a task.

The EYFS emphasises that parents are a child's primary educator and therefore encourages parents to contribute to their child's learning this is why Tapestry is such a vital tool to ensure together we get an overall picture of each child's development. 

Key Person

Each child who attends Littleleaps has a Key Person.

This is an Early Years Practitioner within the child's room who's role is to ensure every child's learning and care is tailored to their individual needs. They will support the child and their parents with the settling in process, and with the child's developmental progress.


Tapestry is an online learning journal that practitioners use to record and monitor your child learning and development. Parents can also upload new achievements and special events onto their own child journal allowing these moments to be shared between home and setting. Tapestry can be used as a communication tool to strengthen our relationships with parents. Please click here to view tapestry homepage.

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