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Arboretum Primary School

Reach for the Stars

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Early Years Foundation Stage

In the Early Years Foundation Stage at Arboretum Primary School, we focus on a ‘Child Led’ approach to learning. We believe that children learn best through a balance of child-initiated play and adult led activities. Our curriculum is carefully planned in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage. We draw on what we know engages and motivates our children, their own fascinations and predictable interests as well as our observations and assessment of their individual stages of development.


Focusing on the children’s fascinations and interests enables them to build and develop skills such as curiosity, concentration, collaboration, creativity and problem solving. Some of these fascinations have been artists, friendship, knights and castles, technology and ocean pollution. As well as adapting our Enhanced Provision weekly, we use Personalised Objective – Led Planning for Literacy and Mathematics which focuses on the child’s individual next steps.


Our team are passionate about promoting the Characteristics of Effective Learning which support our children in becoming self-motivated learners who embrace challenge and are inspired by the adventure of learning.  This is used in conjunction with the Early Years Prime and Specific areas of development to ensure that each child is exposed to a bespoke, broad and balanced curriculum.

In FS2 a rich learning environment is provided where children are challenged to develop further and become independent learners. In order to achieve this we maximise the opportunities for the children to develop their characteristics of effective learning.


“The characteristics of effective learning describe factors which play a central role in a child’s learning and in becoming an effective learner”.

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)


They are:


Playing and exploring

  • Finding out and exploring

  • Using what they know in their play

  • Being willing to have a go


Active learning

  • Being involved and concentrating

  • Keeping on trying

  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do


Creating and thinking critically

  • Having their own ideas

  • Using what they already know to learn new things

  • Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways


By the end of FS2 children should have attained the ELG (Early Learning Goal) in all seven areas of learning. The seven areas of learning are split into the prime and specific areas.


The prime areas are:


Communication and language: “…giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.”

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)


Physical development: “…opportunities to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement…to make healthy choices in relation to food.”

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)


Personal, social and emotional development: “…to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings…”

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)


In addition to these there are also four specific areas, these are:


Literacy: “…encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write…”

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)

As part of Literacy Arboretum Primary follow the Read Write Inc phonics programme.


Mathematics: “…to develop and improve their skills in counting, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.”

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)


Understanding the world: “…providing opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.”

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)


Expressive arts and design: “…to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials…providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through…art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.”

(Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)