Early Years Curriculum

Our Early Years Curriculum

‘Academic Excellence and Intellectual Curiosity for All’


Our Early Years curriculum is designed to provide our pupils with the foundations of a lifelong love of learning, to give them knowledge which enables them to engage with and communicate about their lived experiences, and think critically about the world around them.  We place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success and intellectual curiosity,  as well as moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our pupils can be successful in their future life, such as at university, going on to be active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners. 

Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.  Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. We invest time in helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number.  This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas.  We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside visits and regular forest school sessions. Our investment in specialist teachers for music and Forest School, means that children continually receive high quality teaching. 

We aim for our children to be confident and independent, to believe in themselves and effectively communicate and interact with others. We understand that play is an integral part of learning and this is at the heart of our Early Years curriculum.  By the end of the Reception year, our intent is to ensure that all children make exceptional progress from their starting points and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.  


Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-guided activities.  The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED.  These sessions are followed by a combination of self-led and adult-guided work, where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets.  This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.   

Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. 

We implement our Early Years curriculum through a high quality, ‘language rich’ environment-through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, stories and providing time for quality interactions between adults and between peers. We ensure that interactions are meaningful and supportive, allowing children to flourish and become confident communicators. We teach children how to listen, speak and meet the high expectations for behaviour by working together and being kind. As such, we prioritise personal, social and emotional development and communication and language in the Reception curriculum.

We believe that speaking and listening are key skills for all future learning – if a child can’t say what they know or think, they won’t be able to read it or write it. We know that some of our children arrive at school with limited vocabularies and speaking and listening skills are significantly below age-expected levels. Our curriculum and pedagogy creates opportunities for children to build these foundational skills and develop and use a growing vocabulary.  We are supported by a Speech Therapist who devises individual and group programs to aid children’s developing communication skills. 

Our intent for teaching early reading is rigorous, children have daily systematic teaching of phonics through the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme through targeted phonics groups. There are additional 1:1 phonics sessions in the afternoons to ensure rapid progress for all learners. Phonic sounds are introduced in a systematic manner and progress is monitored closely. The sessions are delivered in an engaging way and activities are revisited to embed over the year and supported in a range of ways including Pinny Time, Hold a Sentence, Fred Talk and rhymes associated with each sound.  We work closely with families to ensure that children are being supported to read and being read to at home as well as in school.  Our approach ensures that all children meet good outcomes for reading with almost all children passing the Year One phonics screening. 

The English curriculum is taught using a core book and Talk 4 Writing approaches. Children develop their literacy skills by the imitation of stories that they learn using actions and story mapping techniques. They then move on to innovation of these well-known stories by including their own ideas. Literacy and Phonics opportunities are also promoted in many of the continuous provision activities available to children during the week. 

The Maths curriculum is based upon White Rose and is taught through daily dedicated sessions. These sessions are carefully planned using concrete resources and build on prior learning and real life experiences across the theme and year. This starts with mastering numbers 0-5 and then progresses through to 0-10 and 0-20. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences and contexts. Children’s early mathematical experiences are carefully designed with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language.  Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Reception pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily maths meetings where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness.  These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts. 

Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their full potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, for example, NELI and Box Clever.   Staff also use ‘pinny time’ which is a quick, on the spot intervention focused on sight words, blending and number retention with target individuals. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children. 

Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes coaching and feedback.   We tailor our staff PD to be early years specific and are focused on moderating outcomes across the phase so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps for learning.  This is alongside weekly PDM sessions, to build subject knowledge of pedagogical approaches.

Our outdoor school environment is carefully planned and resourced to enable our children to strengthen their core muscles through physical play. Children spend time outdoors in their natural environment in all weathers. They develop through wonderful, exploratory, sensory experiences in our mud kitchen, sandpit and taking part in Forest School sessions. 

The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult facilitated play. The curriculum is taught through topics which are enriched with classroom enhancements, trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts. These are chosen carefully to encourage children’s speech, language and communication development. All planning however, is flexible and responsive to children’s needs so plans can be changed and adapted depending on children’s interests. 

Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with their families through Tapestry. We understand the importance of family engagement and believe that our families have a crucial role to play in their children’s education.  What makes HNPS exceptional are our weekly Parent sessions to support families which are extremely well attended.  Our Families use Tapestry to engage in their child’s learning and share experiences from home. Tapestry assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year.


Our wonderful curriculum and its precise delivery ensure that children, from their own starting points, make exceptional progress. During their time in our EYFS, children make rapid progress so that we meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1. Our pedagogy is focused on supporting children to access carefully chosen resources, practise their skills, and scaffold and extend learning in a play-based setting.  

Our high standards of progress and achievement are driven by an enriched curriculum, enabling environment, and rigorous assessment processes. Children develop their characteristics of learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with peers and adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing. We believe our high standards are due to our carefully planned environment, enriched play-based curriculum, quality first teaching and the rigour of assessment.