Cardwell Primary School


Mutual Respect, Resilience,
Responsibility, Tolerance and Perseverance



Parents Guide to Early Years Foundation Stage

This leaflet outlines the 7 areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage, as well as suggesting some ideas for you to support your child at home.

Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time.  That’s why they are called the foundation years – the building blocks for life!

Your child is like a sponge, soaking up the world around them.  Children learn through experience and by speaking and listening to other people.  Help your child by exploring and investigating everyday life together.  Take them on trips, go for a walk or visit friends. 

 Every experience is a learning opportunity.

 We need you

It is extremely important that there is good communication between home and school during your child’s time in the foundation stage. We want you to be fully involved in your child’s early education and having clear and continual communication allows us to develop a strong relationship, where your child’s interests are paramount.

We want to help your child to develop and grow into healthy, happy and capable learners.  If we are consistently providing the care and support that your child needs we can give them the best start in life.

If you have any questions or queries at any time about your child or what we are doing in the foundation stage, please do not hesitate to contact our Early Year’s coordinator, Tracy Mulhere. 

Our School Day

We help the children know what we are going to be doing every day at school by using a visual timetable for them to refer too. This way they know what’s happening and what’s coming next.

 A Typical Day

This is what a typical day looks like in our Nursery class:

Welcome children and register


Free flow activities

Tidy up and story/singing time

Home time

This is what a typical day looks like in our Reception class:

Welcome children and register


Child initiated learning inside and outside

Literacy input and group work

Maths input



Whole class topic input

Maths groups/ child initiated

Child initiated learning inside and outside/ interventions

Story time/singing

Home time

 We believe children learn best through play and we aim to provide valuable play based experiences within our indoor and outdoor classrooms.

Throughout the week, the children also have opportunities to learn during Forest Schools and Physical Education which is led by a specialist teacher.


A variety of extra-curricular activities such as ballet and funky fitness are also available. 

Characteristics of Effective Learning

The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment

Creating and Thinking Critically

Having their own ideas

Making links

Choosing ways to do things

Playing and Exploring – Engagement

Finding out and exploring

Playing with what they enjoy

Being willing to have a go

Active Learning – Motivation 

Being involved and concentrating

Keep trying

Enjoying achievements that they set out to do

These underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner. 

During my time in the foundation stage I will be developing: 

Personal, Social, Emotional Development 

I will be learning about relationships with both adults and children, making friendships, learning to share and take turns. 

I will begin to understand rules and to learn about differences I may see in cultures, religion and language. 

Communication and Language 

Talk about what I want and how I feel and will have opportunities to express this through role play. 

Enjoy stories, poems, songs and rhymes. 

Have the choice to talk imaginatively and retell stories in my own words. 

Speak to others in small and large groups and share my ideas and thoughts with them. 

Physical Development 

Become good at moving, climbing, controlling and coordinating as I play. 

Be able to feel the changes that take place in my body. 

Talk about what keeps me fit and healthy and what food is good for me. 

Use lots of tools for writing, drawing, painting, cutting as well as other equipment for building, threading and playing sports. 


Through handling books and sharing them with others, I will recognise that words tell stories and that the words I see in the world around me tell people something. 

See letters and words written down and try and write them myself and use them when I play. Learn the alphabetical sounds through a mixture of speaking and listening. 

Hear the different sounds that make up a word.  Apply this knowledge of words in books and begin to read and write simple sentences. 


Sort and group objects and explain why they have done this.  Make comparisons in things like height, weight and size.  

Use words under, on top, between and in front to say where things are. 

Use and talk about 2D and 3D shapes. 

Use numbers when I play to count and match things to each other. 

Learn about adding things together or taking them away. 

Solve practical problems when doubling, halving and sharing. 

Understanding the world 

Explore and talk about the world around them, materials, living things, notice changes and differences in their environment. 

Make predictions, try things out and talk about why we think things happen. 

Use ICT, computers, laptops, iPads and cameras. 

Expressive Arts and Design 

Explore and use media, such as paint, crayons and collage materials. 

Express themselves through music, dance and role play. 

Experiment with colour, texture and form using a range of media.