Early Years Foundation Stage

Welcome to the EYFS

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances

“I like playing with all my friends. I play so many different things. I feel happy. I am learning to be happy all the time and I am learning everything about the whole wide world”.
Amelia Rahman, Reception.

Nursery Places

Are you a new parent looking for an inspiring, creative and friendly nursery or Early Years place. Then please come and see our school, we will answer any questions you may have.
Contact the school office  0207 790 3647 to arrange a suitable date and time.

The EYFS at John Scurr

At John Scurr Primary School, we endeavour to provide the best possible start for every child. We aspire for our children to become happy, confident and independent lifelong learners. We use a holistic approach to teaching and learning, building each child’s character, knowledge and skills. We take pride in building strong relationships with our children and their families. We make learning exciting and engaging for our children, by providing a broad and balanced curriculum that will enable every child to progress and develop personally, emotionally, creatively and intellectually.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year.  At John Scurr Primary School, children join the two-year-old provision the term after their 2nd Birthday. Children join Nursery the school term after their 3rd birthday.  Children join Reception class in September of the school year that they turn five.  In partnership with parents and carers we enable the children to begin the process of becoming active learners for life.

This policy outlines the purpose, nature and management of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at John Scurr Primary School. The implementation of this policy is the responsibility of  every practitioner working in the EYFS setting, and across the school.

Aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage

We believe that every child is entitled to the best possible start in their school life. This enables them to develop their full potential and be the best that they can be.

At John Scurr Primary School, we believe that Early Years education is important in its own right and should not be viewed simply as preparation for the next stage of children’s education. We believe that the skills acquired during a child’s early years education set the foundation for future learning in Key Stage 1 and beyond.

We aim to support each child’s welfare, learning and developmental needs by:

  • Recognising that all children are unique and special.
  • Understanding the importance of play in children’s learning and development.
  • Understanding that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates – physically, cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally.
  • Providing a safe, secure and caring environment where children feel happy and know that they are valued by the practitioners looking after them.
  • Fostering and nurturing children’s self-confidence and self-esteem through their developing awareness of their own identity and role within the community.
  • Teaching children to express and communicate their needs and feelings in appropriate ways.
  • Encouraging children’s independence and decision-making, supporting them to learn through their mistakes.
  • Developing children’s understanding of social skills and values required for people to work together harmoniously.
  • Supporting children to develop care, respect and appreciation for others, including those with beliefs, cultures and opinions different to their own.
  • Providing learning experiences in play which reflect children’s personal interests and areas of curiosity in order to encourage and develop their natural desire, interest, excitement and motivation to learn.
  • Providing experiences which build on children’s existing knowledge and understanding in order to challenge, stimulate and extend their learning and development.
  • Providing effective learning opportunities in a range of environments, inside and outside.
  • Providing opportunities to embed and review learning.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework

Teaching in the EYFS setting at John Scurr is delivered in accordance with ’The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (September 2021).

This document is a principled approach to Early Years education, bringing together children’s welfare, learning and development requirements through four principles:

  • A unique child – developing resilient, capable, confident and self-assured individuals. 
  • Positive relationships – supporting the children in becoming strong and independent. 
  • Enabling environments – where opportunities and experiences respond to the individual needs of the child by developing a strong partnership between practitioners, parents/carers and the child. 
  • Learning and developing – An acknowledgement that children learn in different ways and at different rates.

The Early Years Curriculum which practitioners deliver in the setting must involve activities and experiences from one of the following seven areas of which three are ‘prime areas,’ and four ‘specific areas.’ 

  • The Early Years Curriculum is centred on three prime areas of learning:
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Providers must also support activities through four specific areas, which strengthen the prime areas. These are:
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

By addressing these seven areas of development, and by understanding how these are interwoven, we ensure the delivery of a holistic, child-centered curriculum which allows children to make lots of links between what they are learning. At John Scurr, we understand that only through addressing children’s prime areas can they acquire the specific areas.


The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.  The areas of learning (prime and specific) as well as the characteristics of effective learning are interconnected.

Characteristics of Effective Learning  
Playing and exploring- engagement   Finding out and exploring Playing with what they know Being willing to ‘have a go’  
Active learning- motivation   Being involved and concentrating Keeping trying Enjoying achieving what they set out to do  
Creating and thinking critically- thinking   Having their own ideas Making links Choosing ways to develop  

Our Curriculum

We believe that education happens best when children are excited, engaged and active in their learning. Our child centred approach means that children acquire new skills, language and knowledge through their own interests and experiences. Learning in Early Years happens in a range of context, including the inside classrooms as well as the outside provision. Children learn in adult-led whole class sessions, in small group learning, and in all interactions with adults in the environment.

Our child centred approach means that planning is based on interactions and assessment, alongside key documents that outline best practice and the national strategy for Early Years education.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, sets standards for all early years providers. This framework ensures that children learn and develop well and helps ensure children are kept healthy and safe at school.

Development matters is the non-statutory curriculum guidance for Early Years that provides a top-level view of how children develop and learn. At John Scurr, development matters underpins our curriculum.

Birth to 5 matters provides a more detailed overview of children’s development and learning. This non-statutory curriculum enhances our understanding of child-development. At John Scurr Primary, this functions as a secondary reference document to support planning and assessment.

Early Years Literature


Active Learning Through Play

We recognise that young children learn best when they are active. We understand that active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods. We recognise the balance between child-led, adult-led and structured learning opportunities.

Play is a crucial part of our Early Years Curriculum, as it is an essential and rich part of every child’s learning process, supporting them in all areas of development. Play is a powerful motivator encouraging children to be creative and to develop their ideas, understanding and language. Play is also flexible and able to suit the preferred learning style of the child. It can provide multiple ways for children to learn and embed a variety of different skills and concepts.

Our practitioners provide both structured and unstructured play opportunities inside and outside. These activities are carefully planned to engage children in practical, first-hand experiences which will support children to discover, explore, investigate, develop their personal interests and areas of curiosity, and help to make sense of the world around them as they begin to understand specific concepts

Observations, Assessment and Planning

We believe that our time as practitioners is best spent playing and interacting with our children. Observations are a useful tool, secondary to our interactions with the children. They provide a link between learning at school and learning at home and allow us to reflect on children’s development.

Ongoing assessment is an essential aspect of the effective running of the EYFS setting at John Scurr Primary School. We are very mindful of children’s individual needs and we set next steps based on our interactions and observations of children.

Three times a year, children’s development is assessed using a school-based rubric. This is to ensure each child is learning and developing and that any additional needs and difficulties are being addressed and supported early. This assessment is a summary based on the continuous interactions and observations.

Within the first six weeks of the children starting our reception year, they will complete the national Reception Baseline Assessment. This assesses children’s language, literacy and mathematics. This is a national assessment that is used to measure progress from reception to year 6.

The outcomes of the termly assessment, as well as the ongoing interactions and observations, form the foundation for planning. We use a child-led approach, where children’s interests are balanced with local, national and international events, and they may be altered in response to children’s individual needs. The fostering of children’s interest develops a high level of thinking, independence and motivation for learning. Links to Key Stage 1 are carefully planned through linked vocabulary and skills.

17 Early Learning Goals

There are 17 Early Learning Goals which set out the knowledge, skills and understanding that the children should have at the end of the academic year they turn five.  Children will be assessed in these goals at the end of Foundation Stage, which are as follows:

Area of LearningAspectEarly Learning Goal
Personal, Social and Emotional DevelopmentSelf – RegulationShow an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly. Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate.Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.                                                               
Managing Self Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilienceand perseverance in the face of challenge.Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly.Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
Building Relationships•   Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others.•   Form positive attachments to adults and friendships with peers.Show sensitivity to their own and to others’ needs.
Communication and LanguageListening, Attention and Understanding Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions.Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding.Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.
 SpeakingParticipate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary.Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate.Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.
Physical DevelopmentGross Motor SkillsNegotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others.Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing.Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing.
 Fine Motor SkillsHold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases.Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paintbrushes and cutlery.Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing.
LiteracyComprehensionDemonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary.Anticipate (where appropriate) key events in stories.Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role play.
 Word ReadingSay a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.Read words consistent with their phonics knowledge by sound-blending.Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
 WritingWrite recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters.Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.
MathsNumberHave a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number.Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5.Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.
Numerical PatternsVerbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system.Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity.Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.
Understanding the worldPast and PresentTalk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society.Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.
People, Cultures and CommunitiesDescribe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non- fiction texts and (when appropriate) maps.
The Natural World Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants. Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.
Expressive Arts and DesignCreating with MaterialsSafely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.Share their creations, explaining the process they have used.Make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories.
Being Imaginative and ExpressiveInvent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher.Sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs.Perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others, and (when appropriate) try to move in time with music.

Parents as Partners

At John Scurr Primary School we recognise the importance of establishing positive relationships with parents. We understand that an effective partnership between school and home will have a positive impact on children’s learning and development. We endeavour to encourage the regular sharing of information about the children with parents. We value the role of parents as children’s primary educators and we encourage parents to share their unique understanding of their child. This information informs our planning and curriculum.

Parents are kept informed of what is happening in the setting through informal chatting at the beginning and end of the day, school ping, school twitter and the school website. Individual meetings are scheduled regularly throughout the school year. If parents or staff require additional meetings about an individual child, this can be arranged through the class teacher.

We will develop this working relation between the school and parents and carers through:

  • Our Early Years setting has a friendly, open-doors ethos and practitioners are available to talk to parents at the beginning and end of the day. Parents are always welcomed into school and encouraged to share their thoughts.
  • Organising admissions meetings with the Headteacher and Early Years Lead, to get to know each other better.
  • Garden visits for new families
  • Regular workshops with parents
  • Coffee mornings
  • Stay and play sessions, where parents are invited to play and learn with their child(ren).
  • Parent volunteering, in class as well as on outings.
  • Newsletters
  • Tapestry online learning journal
  • Special events such as class assemblies, celebrations and performances.

Admission and Settling In

Every effort is made to make children feel safe, secure and happy. There is a relaxed and open ethos in the setting. Established routines, a calm atmosphere and encouraging talk are some of the strategies practitioners use to maintain children’s positive feelings about school.

Two-Year-Old Arrangements

Our two year old provision welcomes children the term after they have turned two. Children can avail of one of two 15 hour offers – morning or afternoons. This is available for children who are eligible for free two-year-old education, as well as fee paying families.

Families can apply directly through the school office. Once the application is successful, a member of the early years team will be in contact and will work with the family to map out an individual settling in plan.

Children who attend the two-year-old provision at John Scurr, will automatically transition into the Nursery, once they turn three. This transition will happen at a pace that is appropriate for each unique child. Families do not need to reapply for this space.

Nursery Arrangements

John Scurr Primary School provides Nursery education to children the term after they have turned three.  Parents are encouraged to apply to the Nursery after the child has turned two.  Application are made online and can be found on the Tower Hamlet website.

In year applicants will be contacted by a member of the Early Years team and the child and their family will be welcomed into the Nursery environment for a short visit.  The Nursery team will then  work with the family to map out an individual settling in plan.

For families joining us in September, they will be invited to a welcoming evening. This will be followed by a stay and play session in the summer term. This will be an opportunity to meet the Early Years team and to find out more about how the Early Years works. In September, the families will be visited by the Early Years team in their homes to get to know each other better and to help with the transition to the school environment. Children will then be given a start date towards the end of September. All children will start with shortened days and their time will be increased at a rate that suits their individual needs.

Our Nursery Setting provides 15 hour places for all three and four year olds. Some families may be eligible for 30 hour places, based on their individual circumstances. More information regarding eligibility can be found on the government website.

Our morning session begins at 8:45am and ends at 11:45am. The afternoon session begins at 12:30pm and ends at 3:30pm. Families in the afternoon session who wish to collect their child at 3:00pm can do so. Children who attend the nursery on a 30 hour basis begin their day at 8:45am and go home at 3:00pm.

Children who attend John Scurr Nursery must re-apply for a reception place. This application needs to be made by January for the following September. Children start reception in the school year that they turn five. Applications are made online and can be found on the Tower Hamlet website.

Reception Arrangements

Children join reception in the September of the school year in which they will turn five. Children who attend John Scurr Nursery must reapply for a reception place. Applications are made online and can be found on the Tower Hamlet website.

Once the application is successful, the child and their family will be invited to a welcoming meeting by the Headteacher and the Early Years Leader. This will be followed by a stay and play session in July. This will be an opportunity to meet the Early Years Team and to find out more about how the Early Years works. In September, the families will be visited by the Early Years Team in their homes to get to know each other better and to help with the transition to the school environment. Children will then be given a start date towards the end of September. All children will start with shortened days and their time will be increased at a rate that suits their individual needs.

Reception children start their day at 8:45am and end at 3:00pm.


Children in our two year old provision begin their transition into the Nursery close to their third birthday. Based on the child’s needs and interests they will spend time in the Nursery environment with familiar adults. Once the child is ready for the Nursery classroom, they will transition up. During this time, the two year old team will work very closely with the Nursery team. A transition meeting will be held between the family, the Nursery team and the two-year-old team.

Transitions from Nursery to Reception will take place in the Summer Term. Children will be introduced to to their new Practitioners during a story time session in the Nursery. Next, the children will visit the Reception classrooms with their familiar adults. Finally, children will have a short stay in Reception with their new Practitioners. This transition process will be adapted based on children’s individual needs.

During the final term in Reception, the EYFS profile is completed for each child. The profile provides parents and carers, staff and teachers with a well-rounded picture of the child. The profile includes on-going observation, all relevant records held by the setting, discussions with parents and any other adults whom the teacher or parent judges can offer a useful contribution.

Transitions from Reception to Year 1 will take place in the Summer Term. Children will be introduced to to their new Practitioners during a story time session in the Reception classes. Next, the children will visit the Year 1 classrooms with their familiar adults. Finally, children will have a short stay in Year 1 with their new Practitioners. This transition process will be adapted based on children’s individual needs.

Transition from the Early Years curriculum to the KS1 curriculum happens in the Autumn term of Year 1.

High Needs Provision

At John Scurr, we are committed to providing all children, including those with additional needs, an aspirational learning environment that allows the child to be the best that they can be. We recognise the importance of Early Intervention and in response to this, we have a class attached to our mainstream classrooms which specifically caters for identified pupils attending John Scurr School with a diagnosis of ASD/ autistic spectrum or those younger pupils displaying greater communication needs or autistic tendencies.  This provision is led by a specialist teacher and has a significantly lower child to adult ratio.

Children who are identified as candidates for this provision are offered a space as early as possible in their educational journey. Children do not need a diagnosis or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to avail of this opportunity.

High Needs Padlet

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