The Early Years Framework

At Bowes Pre-school we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)to shape and develop all our activities and routines, thus ensuring that we offer the best developmentally appropriate play and learning opportunities for each and every child in our care.

The revised EYFS curriculum covers seven intertwining areas of learning.  These are further split into 'prime' and 'specific' areas of learning.  The three 'prime' areas provide solid foundations for a child's readiness for learning.  They help to ignite a child's curiosity, support them in forming relationships and they build on the child's capacity to learn.  The three prime areas which we concentrate on in the early years are communication and language, personal, social and emotional and physical development.  The four more specific areas of learning help to strengthen and support the prime areas, setting the child with firm foundations for moving onto the national curriculum in later years.  The specific areas of learning are literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design, all of which are intertwined in our curriculum.

The Prime areas explained

Personal, Social and emotional (PSE)

PSE for children means making relationships, exploring feelings, being well cared for and being valued.  These are all crucial for physical, social and emotional well being.  Following good examples set by adults, having the freedom to explore new environments and developing a feeling of importance will help children to become self confident and self aware individuals.  This in turn will help them to feel secure and achieve their best.  Within preschool, children will be encouraged to express their feelings and opinions, learn about their own and others behaviour and the consequences of both their and others actions, thus developing ways to deal with both positive and negative feelings.  This will help build emotional resilience for later life, helping children to develop their skills for building relationships.

Examples of PSE activities include, happily settling at Pre-school, playing alongside other children or with them, turn taking, having confidence to try out new experiences, talking about past events or their home life, and participating in a wide range of imaginative play.

Communication and Lanaguage (C&L)

Having the skills to communicate effectively in both speaking and listening is fundamental to a child's well-being.  It is also vital to help individuals to participate in society during later years.  Good communication skills allow children to form relationships, share feelings and emotions.  Understanding and being understood builds a child's confidence and helps them to become strong individuals who are better able to deal with adult life.  Communication is about listening as well as talking in a range of situations; it is vital that adults set a good example by actively listening; this will show the child that what they are saying is valued.  Within Pre-school we promote the development of communication, language and literacy skills through all our activities, specifically through singing, small group work, encouraging children to talk to staff and other children, through listening to instruction and developing attention skills, understanding the rules and boundaries of the setting and playing socially with others.  Children are encouraged to speak and to listen to others in social activities and are later encouraged to think and talk about 'how' and 'why' things happen.

Physical Development (PD)

Children learn by being active.  Physical development takes place in all areas of learning and involves both large and small movements.  Physical development helps children to improve their co-ordination and control, manipulation and movement.  It helps them to gain confidence in what they can do.  The health and self care aspects of physical development are also actively encouraged in Pre-school to help children learn the importance of staying healthy through exercise, diet and staying safe.  Children feel the benefits of being active, and we actively encourage children to take controlled risks in our safe environment to further develop their physical skills.  Examples of physical activities at Pre-school include jumping, climbing, balancing, running, walking and stretching, completing puzzles, threading or mark making.  All children are encouraged to be active and we talk daily about the importance of a healthy lifestyle during our snack time.

The Specific areas of development explained


During their Pre-school years we ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop their early reading and writing skills.  Examples of how we promote reading within the Pre-school include regular story and song times, giving children plenty of opportunities to explore writing and print in their environment, encouraging children to handle and look through books, both alone and in social groups.  We also have a story sack scheme, where children can borrow a story sack from our collection to enjoy and share at home.


Within Pre-school, children will be given the opportunity to practise and build upon their understanding of problem solving, reasoning and numeracy to gain competence and confidence in using maths.  They will begin to recognise and seek patterns and connections through exploring numbers, shape, space and measurements.  These skills will help them to solve problems and make headway in all other areas of development.  Examples of this are recognising shapes, sequences, jigsaw puzzles, understanding of size and capacity, counting, colour recognition, understanding the concept of time.  Gaining confidence in their abilities increases their feeling of self importance and their resiliance to daily challenges, skills which can help them cope with problems in later adult life.

Expressive Arts and Design

This area of development allows children to explore and express themselves and involves them making choices and decisions.  One of the most important aspects of this development area is to ensure the children feel that they, their feelings, opinions and work are valued.  This is crucial to build strong self confidence, resilience and esteem.  Possessing these attributes will help children to grow into strong adults able to cope with our world and adult experiences.  Most importantly, the creative area of development allows for children to have fun getting messy!  Examples of creative activities include singing, exploring musical instruments, gluing, painting, drawing, etc.

Understanding the world

We believe that children should be allowed to find out about their world by exploring many different resources.  They should have access to accurate information and opportunities to learn about different ways of learning.  This area of development helps children to learn to respect and value all people regardless of thier origin and abilities and to understand that other children don't always enjoy the same things.  This can help to avoid children developing prejudices and negative attitudes in later life.  A child's questioning, interest and curiosity is always encouraged in the Pre-school, helping them to learn about the world around them and make sense of it.  By encouraging and allowing children to make their own decisions about what and how to investigate, their self esteem and self awareness are further developed.  Examples of activities promoting your child's knowledge and understanding of the world include using computers, talking about past events or their home life, understanding and accepting the differences between us all, similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.

In the moment planning

EYFS Curriculum Information

Each day we are unsure of where the day will go, or exactly what learning will happen resulting in a sense of excitement and anticipation throughout the day.  Children's interests are very much 'in the moment' and this is why here at Bowes Pre-school we very much teach in the moment and our planning is often spontaneous.

Planning in the moment is all about capturing the moment for the children to progress bases on what the children area already deeply involved in.  From this we are able to see the 'teachable moment' from the child's perspective and know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe.  It is all about capturing the moment of engagement and running with it to make sure the children progress.

The Teachable Moment

From the teachable moment the child feels valued, interesting, important, capable and able to learn as well as gaining knowledge, skills and understanding therefore making progress in one or even several areas of the Early Years Curriculum.  We are able to gain a good understanding of the child's knowledge, skills, attitude, understanding and progress.

Planning on paper

This way of working means that most of our planning is in the moment (there is little forward planning as we are following the child's lead).  We record what we have done to help the children progress each day through their 'next steps' and these are recorded in the children's Learning Journals, Floor books and progress files.  We still have some adult led activities and plan for things like maths and literacy, topics like cooking/baking or seasonal activities using termly plans.  We talk in small groups with the children, consolidating their knowledge, using prompts like 'do you remember what happened when....'


All observations make of the children are based on quality interactions between children or children and adults, or record 'wow moments' when a child does something new for the first time.  They will include any teaching that has taken place or progress that a child or group of children have made.  All of our practitioners are responsible for highlighting progress in observations.  Emphasis is highly placed on using 'I wonder...' statements e.g. 'I wonder if ....', 'I wonder what...', 'I wonder how...' .  We feel that this approach to questioning is a lot less pressurising and allows the children to open up more readily.  Parents are also asked to share any observations of 'wow moments' of their child(ren) at home, by sending in photos or notes that can be put into their journals.

EYFS Curriculum

Please follow the link below to the 'What to expect, when?' document for more information.  This document details each of the seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage and what is expected of each child developmentally depending on how many months old they are.  It also details the Early Learning Goals which outline the level of learning and development that children are expected to have reached by the end of the Reception year at school.  This document is also very useful to support your child's learning at home as it details at the beginning of each age band, what you can do at home to support your child's learning.

Why do we complete assessments on your child's development?

We continually observe and assess your child's development to ensure that we are providing the necessary activities and resources to allow your child to reach their full potential.  At Bowes Pre-school we aim to provide as many experiences and opportunities that suit as many different learning styles as possible.  This gives each child a positive start to their education and provides the foundations for them to grow into resilient, self confident individuals.  Our assessments also allow us to see if your child is meeting the expected developmental stepping stones, and helps us to identify any special educational needs.  Our assessments also ensure that we meet the guidelines and standards set out by the 'Early Years Foundation Stage', 'Every Child Matters' and Ofsted.  Visiting students may also complete observations and assessments on children in the setting for use in our journals and as a part of thier studies.

How do we observe your child?

We use various techniques to observe your child including brief specific observations, a 'snap shot' of the child's play; time samples, where we note what activity your child is engaged in, then re-observing them at 5 minute intervals, and short narrative accounts of an activity that your child is engaged in.

When observing children we write an unbiased, unprejudiced and accurate account of what your child is doing.  We observe continually and will record any important things or special moments which we have observed.  These observations will be included in your child's learning journal.  Observations are often accompanied by photographs and work products to help tell the whole story.


Parental permission for children to be observed, photographed and/or videoed as part of their development monitoring is requested as a part of our registration process.  Photos taken of children by the Pre-school may be used in Pre-school displays, newsletters, the Pre-school website, our Facebook page, staff coursework and other activities related to the running of the Pre-school.

Bowes Pre-school will not use personal details or full names (which means first name and surname) of any child in any photographic image on video, on our website, on our Facebook page, in our prospectus or in other printed publications.

The importance of parental involvement in the assessment process

Parents are actively encouraged to be a part of our observation and assessment process.  You will be invited to complete occassional parent observations at home to be included in your child's learning journal.

You may also like us to include photographs of special events in your child's life, for example, photo's of a new sibling or of a special birthday party or family outing.  This helps your child to feel a stronger sense of belonging and helps them to link together the different parts of their life.









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