Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

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Welcome to the Early Years page!

 The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year. At John Henry Newman Academy, children can join the Nursery class the term after they turn 3 and enter Reception in the academic year that they turn five. In partnership with parents and carers we enable the children to begin the process of becoming active learners for life.


Ofsted (June 2018) commented  that 'The early years is well led. Children have good opportunities to flourish across a wide range of curriculum areas and are kept safe'. 


The John Henry Newman Academy, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) consists of a nursery and two reception classes. In our Nursery, we offer full-time provision with the 30hour funding (if you are eligible) or free 15hour provision for all children. Extra sessions can be added to the 15hours, at a cost of £12.50 per session. For an added £2.20 children can also have a delicious hot school dinner. Please speak to the office for more information. Our two reception classes are in a shared, open-plan area. Each class has 30 places on a full-time basis and school dinners are free.

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John Henry Newman Academy follows the Early Years Statutory Framework and we use Development Matters 2020 as a guide to inform our next steps in our learning and work with the Early Learning Goals in mind for the end of Reception Year assessment. Development matters is split into seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.


The three Prime areas are:

  •         Communication and Language Development;
  •         Personal, Social and Emotional Development;
  •         Physical Development.

In addition, the EYFS team supports children in the development of four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The four specific areas are:

  •         Literacy,
  •         Mathematical Development,
  •         Understanding the World;
  •         Expressive Art and Design


At John Henry Newman Academy we teach the EYFS Curriculum through exciting, hands on phonics and maths sessions. The rest of the day children are taught through ‘in the moment planning’, which means the cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis. Staff members spend their time playing alongside the children and teaching them within their play. Staff interact with the children in various ways such as through modelling language, explaining, suggesting ideas and challenging the children through their chosen activity. Due to the activity being chosen by the child, children have a deeper level of involvement in their learning.

To assess and gather evidence about each child we have ’focus children’ each week. All children are a ‘focus child’ within each short term. The focus children are given slightly more attention, but all the children are learning all the time and have adult interaction each day. Parents are made aware when their child is going to be a focus child and are encouraged to share information about their child’s interests and any concerns/questions they may have about their child’s learning. At the end of the child’s focus week parents are given a snapshot of the learning/observations that has taken place for their child within that week and any concerns/questions are discussed.


We also collect ‘WOW’ moment observations on Tapestry. Tapestry is an online learning journey, where we upload our observations of the children. This will include pictures, videos and comments. Tapestry is fantastic at allowing parents, carers and other family members to be actively involved in their child’s learning and observations. They are able to upload their own observations and also comment on any that have been uploaded by the EYFS staff.

At John Henry Newman Academy we aim to work together with parents and carers, to ensure the children achieve to the best of their ability. To support with this, Nursery and Reception hold ‘Play and Learn’ sessions and workshops throughout the year. ‘Play and Learn’ is a fantastic opportunity to learn alongside your child within the learning environment and discuss his or her progress with the child’s Key Worker. The workshops enable you to see how we teach the children and to give you ideas on how to support your child at home.


Reception Initiatives:


  • ‘Helicopter stories.’ This develops children’s language skills, imagination and writing skills. Children are encouraged to make up their own stories and an adult will scribe it for them, to begin with, to allow children to concentrate on the language. Then when appropriate children will be encouraged to write parts of the story or all of the story themselves. At the end of the day the children come together to act out the stories that have been written that day.
  • ‘Squiggle whilst you wiggle.’ This helps children to develop their gross and fine motor skills in order to support children with forming different shapes and letters. Children are taught a dance using a different arm movement each session e.g. making spirals, straight lines, zig zag lines. The children carry out the dance to music. They then do the dance again but carrying out the movements with pencils on paper.
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