Early Years Curriculum

Early Years Education at St Stephen’s


Our early years education offer is delivered through our Foundation Unit where Nursery and Reception classes operate in one setting.

The Early Years Foundation Stage principles guide all our work in providing a curriculum which is made up of seven key areas of learning and development; three of them are prime areas and four are specific areas as set out below.





The prime areas


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

We aim to develop children’s ability to work, play and co-operate with others in a group beyond the family. Children are provided with experiences and support to help them develop a positive sense of themselves and of others; respect for others; social skills; and a positive disposition to learn. Children’s happiness and emotional well-being is at the heart of all we do in Reception and the foundation for all learning and development.


Communication and Language

We encourage children to become skilful communicators, to enjoy using language in their play and to develop their confidence in speaking and listening.  This emphasis on speaking and listening is the foundation for all literacy development. Opportunities are provided for children to express themselves through drama, role-play and writing. Research tells us that language and vocabulary are hugely important factors in how well a child develop and is able to access the wider curriculum. As such, we place great emphasis on building a language rich environment, promoting a love of reading and books and lots of talking to help our children become confident and articulate learners.


Physical Development

Our aim is to develop physical control, mobility, awareness of space and manipulative skills, using both the indoor and outdoor environments. Co-ordination skills are developed through completing jigsaws, threading beads onto laces and making things with small construction kits. Access to a wide range of equipment helps to develop manipulative skills, hand-eye and general physical co-ordination. We feel it is important that children establish positive attitudes towards a healthy and active way of life, and participating in these activities can also help develop self-awareness and self-confidence.


The Specific Areas



Mathematical achievement and a secure knowledge of number and shape, space and measure is developed through providing practical activities and encouraging the use of mathematical vocabulary. Play using various sizes of building blocks and construction equipment gives children the practical knowledge of shape and size and how they can be used both creatively and skilfully. During their time in Reception mathematical ideas such as size, shape, number, length, height and comparison begin to develop and these concepts are taught in daily teaching sessions. Children also develop their counting, calculation and problem solving skills.



Children are given exciting opportunities to develop specific reading and writing skills in order to participate successfully in society. We provide a stimulating and literacy rich environment where children enjoy a range of reading and mark making experiences in both the outdoor and indoor environments. The children in Reception also enjoy a daily interactive and fun phonics session which helps them develop the early phonics skills they need to read and write fluently.


Understanding the World

We aim to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of their local and wider environment, other people and features of the natural and made world. Aspects cover historical, geographical, scientific and technological learning. Children are encouraged to ask questions, to find out why things happen and how things work. They are encouraged to select from a wide range of materials and equipment for a variety of purposes to practise their cutting, joining, folding and building skills. A wide range of ICT equipment is available for their use including iPads, smartboards and remote control technology.