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Jesse Gray Primary School

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  • In our Foundation Unit, our aim is to create a learning environment that supports, enhances and invites a child’s curiosity. We want to instill confidence and  competency in our children so that they can flourish regardless of backgrounds, circumstances or needs. It is our pleasure to work collaboratively with parents and carers to encourage independent, enthusiastic learners who thrive and reach their full potential. 
  • We follow the EYFS Curriculum and Development Matters whose Early Learning Goals set the expectations of what children should be able to do at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. However, we aspire for our children to be able to do more, experience more and achieve more. It is our intent that children who enter our Foundation Unit begin their lifelong learning journey by developing physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst equally embedding a positive attitude to school and a love of learning.
  • To ensure that each child makes the very best progress for them, it is our intent to take into consideration their individual starting points and  their needs as they begin their learning journey. We ensure that every child has access to a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum which prepares them for now and for the future in terms of opportunities and experiences. Following the children’s personal interests and individual needs allows us to plan and provide opportunities throughout our exciting and ambitious EYFS curriculum to support learning and development and to enable them to achieve their next steps.
  • We champion experiential learning as it highlights the power of hands-on learning, recognising that young children learn best when they actively engage with their environment and reflect on their experiences. We therefore provide an engaging and stimulating environment, both inside and outdoors, which supports and inspires learning. It challenges the children physically and mentally, developing their health and wellbeing whilst also encouraging them to manage risk and develop resilience.
  • It is our intent that by the end of their Foundation Year, our children will be:
  • Competent and creative learners who are curious about the world around them.
  • Secure and confident members of our school who enjoy coming to school and learning new skills and knowledge building on their existing learning.
  • Skillful communicators who connect with others through language and play in a vocabulary-rich environment, speaking with confidence and fluency in a variety of situations.  We want them to develop an enriched vocabulary and a love for reading.
  • We ensure that all children will receive the teaching of early reading through systematic phonics sessions in order to learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of their Reception year., the first stage in developing a love of reading. 


    • The learning experiences that we implement within our Foundation Unit are linked to the seven areas of learning and development as set out in the EYFS Framework and which are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. The teaching of these areas of learning is practical and playful with support and challenge from adults in class sessions, small group sessions and when working with individuals. There is a combination of adult-led, teacher taught sessions as well as a wealth of stimulating continuous provision opportunities. Daily guided activities are set up and planned that cover different areas of the EYFS curriculum and allow children to develop their next steps in learning. Areas of need and next steps are identified for all children to ensure good progress is made. In planning and guiding children’s activities we acknowledge the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practice. The three prime areas should be developed first as they are considered to be the most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. These include:
  • Physical Development Personal – involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children are helped to understand the importance of physical activity and healthy eating.
  • Communication and Language 
  • Social and Emotional Development  – involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. It helps them to to form positive relationships and develop respect for others whilst supporting them to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings. Children are helped to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.

As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, they naturally develop skills within the four specific areas which are:

  • Literacy – the early teaching of literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics – the early teaching of mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting; understanding and using numbers; calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and describing shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the World – this involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to observe, explore and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive Arts and Design – this involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

We recognise that all children develop in different ways and that development is neither a linear nor an automatic process. Development depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact within positive relationships and in enabling environments which encourage their engagement and recognise their strengths. Our Early Years practice is shaped by the four overarching principles of the EYFS Framework:

  • Unique Child – Every child is 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 ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Years’ provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

We use Development Matters and the EYFS Statutory Framework to thoughtfully plan our exciting and aspiring curriculum which supports children’s emotional security and development of their characters, enabling them to take risks in a safe and secure environment. Underpinning all young children’s learning are the Characteristics of Effective Learning which describe behaviours that children use in order to learn: playing and exploring; active learning; creating and thinking critically.  To learn well,  we recognize that  children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations.

We provide opportunities both inside and outdoors for the children to investigate and experience things, to ‘have a go’.  We continue to develop and refine our Foundation Unit outdoor environment in order to enrich different curriculum areas in ways that cannot be done inside. Our outdoor areas, including the Wild Area where our weekly Forest School sessions take place, are used all year round and in all but the most inclement weathers.

All children are encouraged to  persevere if they encounter difficulties and achievements are celebrated.

We incorporate activities across all areas of learning which enable exploratory learning and thinking creatively, including problem solving. We want children  to be autonomous with their own learning, to have and develop their own ideas, to make links between ideas and to develop strategies for doing things.


  • Children will demonstrate what they have learnt through their play and through their work. We are proud to celebrate the children’s many and varied successes in our collaborative carpet books, through our class displays and learning journey as well as in individual books and folders. We are able to share the children’s achievements with their parents and carers on Seesaw and Twitter.
  • We anticipate that our curriculum will ensure that by the end of their Foundation yearchildren have the confidence, knowledge and skills to thrive in the Foundation Unit and beyond.  During their time in EYFS they become fantastic role models and the very best of themselves.  Their individuality is valued and each child has every opportunity to achieve and excel, based upon their own personal strengths, interest and core values. 
  • Our children will:
  • Be eloquent orators who have strong communication skills.  They will be able to talk fluently as well as listen respectively and with tolerance to the views of others.
  • Demonstrate self-regulation, emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they encounter challenge whilst also managing risks.
  • Develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities.
  • Take pride in all that they do by themselves, with others and as part of their community.  They will always strive for their very best.
  • Be kind, respectful and honest, demonstrating inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in wider society.