The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the reception year. In our school children can start following their third birthday subject to having a statement of special educational need and dependent upon places being available

At Cedars we do not have a distinct EYFS group; we place reception age children in our youngest class if we deem that this is the most appropriate place to enhance their learning. We are confident that we can meet the specific requirements of our youngest pupils because of our ethos that focuses on each individual child.

Our EYFS curriculum is based upon four themes:

A Unique Child – Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured

Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships

Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers

Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different way

The EYFS identifies three characteristics of effective learning which are, “the ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment”. They “underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner”:

  • Playing and exploring – engagement

  • Active learning – motivation

  • Creating and thinking critically – thinking


There are three prime areas of learning which “are fundamental, work together and… support development in all other areas”:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Physical Development

  • Communication and Language


There are four specific areas of learning which, “include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society”:

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding the World

  • Expressive Arts and Design



The philosophy of our provision underpins a curriculum founded on play; it is supported by a high quality caring environment and provides a broad framework for all our work with young children.

1. In order to learn effectively, children need a relevant curriculum which is well planned, offers purposeful activities both indoors and outdoors and which is structured in content to match the learning needs of individual children.


2. Practitioners need to be knowledgeable about child development, able to make skilful observations which inform future planning, to respond and interact appropriately with children and to offer effective intervention to help them make progress in their learning.


3. During the early years a child is most receptive to learning and develops rapidly. We aim therefore to provide a stimulating, attractive and exciting environment, which offers first hand experiences, opportunities to practice and consolidate developing skills and interests, time to initiate and develop activities themselves and chances to encounter new challenges.


4. We believe that learning in the early years is holistic. We therefore consider the total development of the child as an individual: their social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs are given equal importance.


5. We believe that children who are confident in themselves and their own ability have a head-start to learning, we therefore ensure that all our pupils feel included, secure and valued.


6. Children come to school with a variety and wealth of experiences. What the child already knows and can do will be used as the starting point in planning their future development. We encourage positive attitudes to learning and aim to prevent early failure.


7. We value the home and recognise the role of parents as the child’s first teachers. We believe in working in partnership with parents and other professionals in an atmosphere of mutual respect to ensure the best possible education for the child.


The principles for EYFS

  • Policy and provision are evaluated and reviewed regularly

  • Resources are planned and budgeted for in a yearly subject action plan as part of the School Development Plan

  • The governing body of the school follow their statutory responsibility in relation to EYFS 


The aims for the EYFS curriculum 


To ensure that our children:

  • Enjoy the process of learning

  • Experience partnership and continuity with home, community and school

  • Experience a caring and supportive environment in which there is equality of opportunity and within which they can gain the full benefit of the experiences offered

  • Are valued as individuals and develop a good self-image

  • Are encouraged to acquire positive attitudes, values and beliefs, including an understanding of and respect for other people’s cultures and religions

  • Are encouraged to develop lively, enquiring minds and independent thought

  • Are actively involved in all activities

  • Are given time to explore, investigate and produce work of quality and depth

  • Acquire knowledge, skills, concepts, understanding and attitudes, which can be practised in many areas of the curriculum and in life

  • Are encouraged to understand the world in which they live and the interdependence of all human, plant and animal life

  • Experience, appreciate and celebrate personal achievement and the achievement of others

  • Experience responsibility for self and develop an appreciation of the needs of others

  • Develop the confidence to adapt to change in a rapidly changing world

  • Are encouraged to develop the ability to:

    • Work and play co-operatively with others

    • Occupy themselves constructively

    • Apply themselves to tasks Communicate their feelings, needs and experiences clearly and confidently

    • Make reasoned choices

    • Listen and follow simple instructions both individually and as members of the group

    • Establish relationships with adults and other children


Throughout the EYFS children will work through individually planned programmes to help them achieve in the areas of the Early Learning Goals. We believe in the balance between adult-led and child-initiated activity. We recognise that our children’s development and progress will differ from those in a mainstream setting but we actively celebrate each step they achieve and use those achievements to plan their future development.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Our curriculum provision will include:

  • Time for to children to help them succeed in their work, building their self-confidence and developing positive attitudes to learning

  • Activities which are stimulating and challenging and which encourage children to develop their reasoning and problem solving skills

  • Children being helped to concentrate and persevere in tasks by the provision of appropriate learning environments

  • Children having opportunities to work individually, in groups and with adults who support them in establishing effective relationships

  • Simple tasks given each day which encourage them to care for their environment

  • Specific teaching of skills in personal hygiene

  • Children being encouraged to be responsible for their personal possessions and to respect those of others

  • Children being encouraged to make choices and have their wishes respected where possible

  • Children having opportunities to listen to stories, watch video clips and take part in role-play activities, which encourage good social skills

  • Good behaviour being held in high regard and children are specifically taught right and wrong action and language

  • Children being helped to express their feelings and to develop good behaviour patterns through example, support and praise

  • Children having good role models in the adults who work with them in promoting:

    • Positive values such as respect, fairness, honesty and truthfulness

    • Understanding and consideration of the needs of others

    • Sensitivity to the feelings of others in their social relationships

    • Appropriate responses to their experiences of the world

    • Care as appropriate for other living things


Communication and Language


Our curriculum provision will include:

  • Opportunities for children to take part in discussions, listening and communicating both in planned sessions and informally as the situation arises

  • Specific teaching of a signing or PECS vocabulary where appropriate

  • Objects of reference used where appropriate

  • A wide range of experiences planned to extend the children’s understanding and use of vocabulary

  • Activities planned to help children to hear and say the different sounds in words

  • Information Communication Technology used as a communication aid where appropriate

  • Daily story, singing and rhyme sessions where children are encouraged to listen and participate appropriately

  • Opportunities to take part in role-play with adults, peers and alone

  • Opportunities to listen to and to record other sounds e.g. music, animal noises, and environmental sounds

  • Opportunities for children to use language in different ways: giving information, making requests, describing things and events and initiating and closing interaction

  • Staff promote good communication skills though example and by making time to listen and respond

  • Staff support, initiate, participate in and extend conversations

  • They will encourage the children:

    • To respond positively when addressed giving eye contact and attention

    • To communicate using body language, facial expression, gesture, PECS symbols, signs, sounds, words, phrases and simple sentences

    • To use speech that others can understand

    • To join in talk during play

    • To relay simple messages

    • To ask and answer questions

    • To take turns to listen and talk

    • To listen, remember and respond to simple requests

    • To try to predict what will happen next

    • To talk about themselves recalling an immediate happening 




Our curriculum provision will include:

  • Opportunities to share books with an adult

  • Specific teaching of how to handle books and how they are organised

  • Opportunities to listen to and demonstrate an understanding of a broad range of children’s literature

  • Opportunities to use ICT to access reading materials

  • Opportunities to use ICT to develop word/letter/sound recognition skills

  • Individual reading sessions where children are encouraged:

    • To tell the story from a picture sequence moving left to right and top to bottom

    • To join in with words and phrases repeated in a story or poem

    • To recognise “Favourite Books”

    • To understand that print carries meaning

    • To recognise some words, initially their own name

  • Opportunities to experiment with a variety of writing materials

  • Specific teaching of the language of writing e.g. up, down, round

  • Opportunities to develop their fine motor skills in pencil control

  • Recording sheets, which use pictures or symbols as well as words to communicate meaning

  • Opportunities to use ICT for writing

  • Opportunities to carry information in written form e.g. taking a written message to someone and receiving a reply

  • Opportunities to use writing for a purpose e.g. Making a birthday card


Physical Development

Our curriculum provision will include:

  • Specific teaching of the different movements our body can make

  • Opportunities to practice these movements in the school setting and elsewhere, e.g. park , in order to develop better control, co-ordination and spatial awareness

  • Specific teaching in the use of a range of small equipment

  • Opportunities to develop their skills in using this equipment through using tools and materials for a purpose to develop their fine motor skills

  • Opportunities to play reciprocally both with adults and their peers in simple group games

  • Specific teaching in the use of large equipment emphasising:

    • aspects of personal safety

    • social skills in turn taking and giving others time to succeed

  • Opportunities to practice balancing and climbing skills and to explore the possibilities of a range of large equipment in closely supervised ‘free’ sessions

  • Opportunities to perform movements and skills for others

  • Opportunities to express their feelings through movement

  • Daily outdoor play to develop their skills on bicycles, climbing frame and other play equipment

  • Prompts to draw their attention to changes in their bodies when active

  • Simple discussion activities, aided by ideas from the school nurse, about looking after our bodies

  • Provision of appropriate snacks to encourage children to try new food and textures

  • Opportunities for children to develop self help skills e.g. in feeding and dressing

  • Specific teaching in the use of a range of tools, construction sets and malleable materials emphasising the safety aspects

  •  Hydrotherapy, rebound therapy and contact dance sessions for some pupils

  • Staff trained to meet specific needs of physically disabled children e.g. to follow therapy and positioning programmes devised by Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist




Provision will include:

  • Teaching of mathematical language both in play situations and structured activities, e.g. first, next, more, less, one, two, big, bigger, circle

  • Activities that promote discrimination skills in observing similarities and differences, e.g. making a collection

  • Opportunities to sort real objects according to colour size or shape

  • Specific teaching of number concepts such as size, shape and capacity, and opportunities to generalise their skills through play

  • Opportunities to use shapes in activities such as posting boxes and inset puzzles

  • Activities to develop ideas of order e.g. ring stackers and nesting cups

  • Daily sessions using number in rhymes and action songs

  • Use of stories involving number, e.g. The Three Bears

  • Daily opportunities to count objects

  • Opportunities to share out equipment and food

  • Regular activities using number line games to teach number recognition and place

  • Where appropriate activities to teach simple number operations, e.g. addition and subtraction are planned

  • Opportunities to promote observational skills of numbers used in the environment e.g. house numbers, bus numbers

  • Opportunities to develop an awareness of larger numbers in their lives, e.g. a full biscuit tin, children in a whole school assembly

  • Provision of simple problem solving activities where children can use their mathematical skills in practical ways

  • Opportunities to use ICT to develop number skills

  • Specific teaching of mathematical language both in play situations and in structured activities, e.g. in, on, under

  • Opportunities to look for shapes in their environment

  • Opportunities to look for and recreate patterns seen in their environment, e.g. flagstones, leaves, butterflies

  • Provision of activities where children handle and use 3D objects such as assorted wooden bricks

  • Use of appropriate stories such as Rosie’s Walk and Where’s Spot to promote the effective use of mathematical language

  • Simple discussion session each morning to outline the sequence of the day’s activities

  • Use of ‘time’ words as appropriate by the staff to extend the children’s understanding of sequence, e.g. yesterday, tomorrow, last night, next week

  • Personal photographs used in children’s work, in displays and in their Records of Achievement to develop a simple understanding of the passage of time

  • Use of stories and poems about time sequences

  • Provision of activities which develop understanding of the concept of measuring quantity, e.g. cookery


Understanding the world


Curriculum provision will include:

  • Activities designed to promote interest in, observation of and curiosity about:

    • Living things

    • Our bodies and senses

    • The effects of light and sound

    • The use of simple forces

    • Natural and man made objects and materials

  • Opportunities to talk about their experiences and to ask questions, suggest explanations and develop an awareness of cause and consequence

  • Opportunities for children to record some of their observations as appropriate

  • Opportunities to make guided choices and explore the possibilities of a range of materials

  • Activities to develop skills in designing, construction and model making

  • Activities to develop and practice skills such as cutting, joining, folding and building

  • Opportunities to make food items using a range of materials and equipment and to develop their practical skills

  • Opportunities to develop skills in the use of Information Communication Technology to support their learning through CD, smart board, switches to play sounds / change effects, remote controlled toys, programmable toys, switch-activated toys and suitable computer programmes and websites

  • Opportunities to grow seeds, bulbs and plants

  • Opportunities to observe and care for animals, birds and fish for short periods

  • Opportunities to explore the environment both locally through walks and in a wider area through planned trips on the mini bus or public transport

  • Activities designed to promote an interest in and understanding about the purposes of local places familiar to them

  • Opportunities to find out about themselves, their families and immediate environment

  • Visits and activities to collect evidence about the past e.g. museums, videos, stories, photographs and artefacts

  • Opportunities to develop skills in following simple directions

  • Opportunities to find out about natural materials such as sand, soil, water and rocks; and natural features such as hills, woods and rivers

  • Specific teaching and example of how to care for the environment e.g. litter, closing gates and not damaging plants

  • Opportunities to ask questions and to listen and talk to people in the wider community

  • Opportunities for children to interact and build relationships with peers and adults in fun ways

  • Photographs for children to look at of themselves, their friends and their families

  • Celebrations in school of various cultural and religious events

  • Teaching about language of emotion

  • Sharing of events in children’s lives


Expressive Arts and Design


Curriculum provision will include:

  • Activities which allow children to express themselves through painting, drawing, modelling, using malleable materials, dance, drama and music making

  • Sensory experiences which allow them to explore communicate, and develop their feelings and responses

  • Opportunities to use a range of tools, materials and equipment

  • Specific teaching of techniques to give them greater control over the materials they work with

  • Opportunities to experiment with tools and techniques

  • Opportunities to look at famous paintings and listen to popular pieces of classical music

  • Opportunities to view and evaluate work done by other pupils

  • Activities which enable them to develop elements of pattern, texture, colour, line, tone, shape, form and space

  • Opportunities to:

    • Discover how sounds are made

    • Make and change their own sounds

    • Explore sound making equipment

  • Activities to help them learn the basic elements of rhythm, volume, pitch, tempo and sound quality

  • Opportunities to listen to different styles of music and music from other cultures and times

  • Daily singing and action rhyme sessions where children are encouraged to participate and perform for others

  • Opportunities to express themselves imaginatively through role-play

  • Opportunities to respond to music through movement

  • Opportunities to act out stories they have heard

  • Opportunities to record their music making


Parents as Partners


We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and we highly value the contribution that parents make to their child’s education. Prior to a child starting at Cedars Academy we offer a home visit where the class teacher and Extended Services Officer gather more information about the child and explain what support the school is able to offer.

Maintaining contact with parents once their child starts school is vital, particularly when the child travels to and from school by transport. We maintain contact through the home school book/ phone calls / text messages. 

Parents are invited into school each term to discuss their child’s IEP, for statement reviews and for an annual parents evening. In addition there are less formal events such as the coffee mornings and Christmas play to which parents are invited.

All staff involved with the EYFS aim to develop good relationships with all children, interacting positively with them and taking time to observe them. As our class sizes are small the class teacher is the named key person to each child in the class.