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Early Years

At St John’s CE Academy, we want our EYFS to enable all children to ‘Grow, Flourish and Fly.’ The Nursery and Reception long term curriculum plans have been designed to follow the children’s interests, building upon their prior learning from previous settings and experiences at home. We recognise that all children are individuals with individual needs and interests. We adhere to the EYFS Statutory Framework as well as using the non-statutory Development Matters document, Birth - Five Matters and the Reading Framework.

We believe in using a ‘Happy Hybrid’ approach within our Early Years Foundation Stage that will inspire each child’s curiosity in a warm and nurturing environment that promotes our school values of Kindness, Respect and Courage. Our research informed approach is inspired by key early years theorists.

How do we achieve this?

In order for learning to be successful at any age, it is imperative that each child’s fundamental needs are met:

Within our school environment, we ensure that children are well cared for, valued, respected and treated with kindness at all times.

What does this look like in practice?

  • We recognise that the seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS are not exclusive, and have designed a holistic EY curriculum that follows children’s interests and takes into consideration every child’s progress.
  • We recognise that the three prime areas in the EYFS (Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language and Physical Development) underpin the other areas of learning and development and act as the foundations for children’s learning throughout their time at St John’s CE Academy.

How do staff support this?

  • Staff will promote the children’s independence and encourage them to access the resources that they need.
  • Staff model respect towards the learning environment by participating in and modelling how to play with and how to tidy resources away.
  • Staff model our school values of Kindness, Respect and Courage at all times, towards the children and each other.
  • Staff develop positive relationships with the children, their families AND each other.

How does the environment support this?

  • Our Early Years environments have been carefully designed to provide calm spaces which inspire curiosity and enable children to independently access resources and facilities.
  • Our resources have been carefully researched and selected to offer play that is as open-ended as possible, inspiring the children to think imaginatively and creatively.
  • All areas of the EYFS Framework are evident throughout our Early Years learning environments.
  • We have short, teacher-led carpet sessions 3 x per day (one for Phonics, one for Maths, and one ‘I wonder…’ session - this could be topical, Music, P.E. etc).
  • Pupils may be brought back to the carpet briefly, throughout the day, to model a specific activity they can then freely access e.g. using watercolours

Within our provision, the activities offered are a combination of provocations and invitations:

Provocations- open ended with no specific intent

Invitations - An idea linked to the theme or next steps that we would like the child to try

  • The focus for all activities offered to our children is to know WHY we are doing it. We ensure all play, resources and activities are purposeful and have an understanding of the areas of learning and development that are being met.
  • It is our role to teach children the skills they need to be independent as they grow.  This covers everything from hand washing, toileting/wiping, getting their coats and wellies on, dressing and undressing for P.E. etc. Modelling ‘how’ is a much slower and more time consuming approach, however, the learning that comes from this is so much more valuable to the child.

Snack Time 

At St John’s, we believe that snack time offers a huge opportunity for learning! Children are taught to wash and cut their own fruit, using a child safe knife, as well as washing up their own cups and plates afterwards. Snack time also offers a daily opportunity to incorporate Maths; 1:1 correspondence between the cups/plates/fruit/chairs etc, counting, more than/fewer than, problem solving and even fractions! Again, this may take longer, however, the learning is so much more valuable.

Our Curriculum 

At St John’s, we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Phonics Programme in both the Nursery and our Reception classes. This promotes the listening and reading behaviours the children will need as they progress through the school, as well as teaching them early reading and writing.

  • In addition, we ensure that there are ample opportunities for story sharing.
  • In Reception, we follow the NCETM Mastering Number Programme.  This provides secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception (through to Year 1 and Year 2). The aim over time is that children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number.
  • Tapestry - In our EYFS, we use Tapestry to complete our observations, send memos (notes) and our newsletters to parents, as well as to document all first aid incidents.



Stanley Hall Road
OX12 0GR


01235 933303