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Early Years Foundation Stage

Our commitment to excellence at Rufford Primary School starts in the Early Years Foundation Stage: our Time for Twos, Nursery and Reception classes.

Throughout your child’s Early Years journey, we foster a love of learning by exploring engaging learning opportunities both indoors and out, whatever the weather. Our curriculum enables us to immerse our children in a language-rich environment, developing their communication skills and vocabulary in meaningful ways. The children's interests help to shape our teaching, and we support every child as an individual, helping them to be successful.


Children learn about our world through hands-on experiences, such as messy play and cooking, and learn about growing and changes by looking closely at our natural environment. Books and talk are at the heart of our curriculum, and we use stories to learn about the world, ourselves, and each other.

At Rufford, we nurture and respect each and every child with consistent, caring relationships built on trust and communication. We want all of our children to feel safe, secure and happy at school. Through encouragement, modelling and questioning, we enable children to become resilient, confident life-long learners. We want all of our children to believe in their own abilities and develop a positive sense of self.  Children learn that everyone is unique, and we celebrate the differences between people.


We follow guidance outlined by the  Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2023) to keep all children safe. 


















Our Early Years provision offers children an exciting environment that promotes investigation, enquiry and independent thinking. We use open-ended resources and loose parts to enable children to be imaginative and develop their skills over time. Adults support children by playing alongside them, providing a narrative for their learning and moving their learning forward with careful questioning and discussion.  


We follow children’s interests to support their engagement and motivation to learn, observing the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ as the children develop.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning identified by the EYFS are:

  • Playing and Exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;

  • Active Learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and

  • Creating and Thinking Critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

The Characteristics of Effective learning describe how children learn, and we support children to develop these skills across our Early Years Foundation Stage.

Seven Areas of Learning

There are seven Areas of Learning and development that must shape the curriculum in Early Years. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. However, 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.

These are:

Prime Areas

  • Communication and Language Development: involves 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.

  • Physical Development: involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development: involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

These ‘Prime Areas’ are strengthened and applied to 4 ‘Specific Areas’ of learning:

Specific Areas

  • Literacy Development: involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

  • 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 to describe shapes, spaces, and measure.

  • Understanding the World: involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

  • Expressive Arts and Design: 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, design and technology.

We are determined to ensure that our children make a strong start to their time at Rufford and that our Early Years environment and curriculum prepares our children for both our curriculum in Key Stage 1.  Here is a document to show the connections between the Early Years Curriculum and the curriculum in Year 1:





























At Rufford, we use the literature spine from CUSP Early Foundations as a basis for our curriculum planning.  These books help ensure that we have: 

  1. Foundational knowledge for each area of learning

  2. Opportunities and experiences for building this foundational knowledge

  3. Structured story time planning to build knowledge and language

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