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The Early Years Curriculum

Our Early Years Curriculum | Heckmondwike Primary School

We believe that all children deserve an education, rich in wonder and memorable experiences that allows children’s natural curiosity and creativity to flourish fully in life and learning, alongside the purposeful acquisition of skills and knowledge. 

We take every opportunity to stimulate and nurture these inherent, inseparable elements in order to foster greater opportunities for discovery, joy and delight. 

We believe that an education that does all of this gives children the best chance to become well-rounded, happy individuals, ready to succeed and flourish in an ever-changing world.

We take every opportunity to provide the best possible educational start for each and every child in our care.

Our Curriculum Intent

Our intent is our curriculum, our plan and what we are going to teach - a balance between child-initiated and adult-led; bringing together the best methodologies and using the EYFS statutory framework 2021 to support and scaffold our provision of teaching and learning opportunities for our cohorts.

A key element to this is the acquisition of communication and language development. 

We endeavour to support and provide quality interactions in a variety of ways with all learners, in order to ignite their curiosity and build upon this foundation for later life.

This occurs within an enabling and stimulating environment that evolves so as to meet the needs, interests and stages of development of our unique children.  Continuous provision provides opportunities for individual liberty for all our children.

We have high expectations of both staff and pupils and always strive to achieve outstanding outcomes, enjoyment for all and a 'living' curriculum that establishes a love of learning for all children. 

Ultimately our curriculum is one of the primary ways in which we aim to fulfil our school vision – ‘flourishing fully in life and learning’.

It is our intention to provide an engaging, inclusive and safe environment where children work together with skilled Early Years practitioners in a climate of mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths, beliefs and cultures. 

We support any adverse childhood trauma and follow PREVENT guidelines working with external professionals when needed in order to achieve the Early Learning Goals in both prime and specific areas of learning by the end of their time with us. 

We do this by enabling children to:

  • become independent and resilient and well-behaved learners; where high levels of well-being, strong intrinsic motivation and engagement are apparent with a strong sense of responsibility. A rich, diverse enabling environment both indoor, outdoor and through the wider context, enrich play and learning. 
  • become confident in their ability and to not be fearful of challenge.
  • become emotionally capable, understanding their feelings in order to solve problems along the way.
  • develop confident, enthusiastic and avid readers, by exposing children to high quality texts, stories and rhymes.
  • We believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through a systematic and synthetic phonics programme called ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’.
  • We start introducing phonics in Nursery. In Reception, we deliver phonics programme rigorously, ensuring children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code and mastering phonics in order to read and spell confidently as they move through school.
  • provide an exciting curriculum, whether this be through ‘In the moment’ planning opportunities with our youngest children in Nursery or through the school knowledge threads that connects a child’s own interests in order to explore and question as they play and learn.
  • access high quality life experiences and enrich their lives; exposing children to different cultures and communities within the curriculum; experiences which they may not yet have had and equipping children with the cultural capital they need for developing lifelong skills.
  • We consider what performance data is telling us with regards to measuring the extent to which all children have fulfilled their potential, regardless of ability or background. 
  • provide a seamless transition from one class to another within the Riseley community and to and from other settings.
  • become informed and knowledgeable of the potential risks that can occur and know the procedures to follow if there are any safeguarding concerns.

Our Curriculum Implementation

Our implementation is our Pedagogy. It is what we do, how we teach and present our curriculum every day to ensure that our children learn flourish and make accelerated progress in a vocabulary rich friendly enabling environment where communication and sustained shared thinking is of paramount importance as children interact in play.

Resources are carefully considered and are accessible to enhance ideas and interests further. 

How do we achieve this?

Discovery and exploration, whilst ensuring they are safe and happy, which is at the core of what we do. 

Children are well-behaved and show care and concern for others. As they engage in their learning we monitor this through the Leuven scale. We identify the antecedent of children exhibiting less appropriate behaviours, engage with parents and provide strategies to support children.

Our curriculum in Reception is organised around the EYFS framework of learning outcomes. Knowledge and skills are connected through focussed themes, in order for children to be ‘lifelong learners’. 

At present this is primarily delivered through half termly topics which are designed to excite, interest and engage children in their learning. Most of our curriculum is taught in a thematic way but also discretely and ‘in the moment’ where possible. 

Our curriculum in Nursery with our youngest children, encompasses a child-led approach, supporting the development of purposeful, confident and independent learner.

In Year R we teach every child to read with Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised daily and provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. 

These include: 

  • sharing high quality stories and poems 
  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending giving, providing democratic opportunities as the children choose favourite books to be read to them.
  • attention to high quality language.

We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

We utilise the non-statutory development matters document to support children’s love of learning incorporated within our ‘In the moment’ planning.

We have a vocabulary rich learning environment. All topic themes are underpinned by high quality accessible texts to ensure that children have a wide exposure to a range of rich reading experiences and a sound knowledge of non-fiction, fiction and rhyming texts.

We have a high quality continuous indoor and outdoor provision that continuously evolves as interests and curiosity grows. 

This is enhanced further, by providing real life and diverse cultural experiences, such as visiting a place of worship or theatre which are beginning to be mapped out across the curriculum. 

We welcome a range of visitors from a breadth of cultures and careers.

Furthermore, we utilise an on-site wooded area for forest school sessions and for planting, a large field grassed area for further exploration and physical activity and a multi utility games area to develop gross motor skills.

Statutory baselines are completed in Reception within the first six weeks of entry. In the final term of the year in which the child reaches age five, and no later than 30th June in that term, the EYFS Profile is completed for each child.

All children in both year groups receive ‘focus observations’  through the year to share with parents. Through these long observations, ‘WOW’, teachable moments and next steps are highlighted.

Nursery key-persons will discuss baselines with parents within the first 6 weeks of their entry into our Nursery setting. 

Through the term, short focus snapshots of learning and development will support a holistic picture of each child and photographs and a short description will be placed onto Tapestry. 

Long observations will be completed regularly or when required for any child raising concern or who are working below age related expectations. Gathering additional information supports any referrals to outside agencies, provide information to support any additional intervention/facilitation.

Working with parents as partners - We share children's progress with parents digitally through Tapestry, through class DOJO and through a collection of informative observations that supports ‘next steps to learning’, for each individual child.  We ask for parent views and provide parent workshops and newsletters. We value parent involvement in their child's learning journey and meet termly to discuss progress. Parents are invited to a ‘play and share session’ each week.

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. Assessment for learning is used in reading daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support.

We refer to our KEY SKILLS document linked to the Statutory Framework, to support ‘next steps’ of progress.

We have a strong transition programme, which begins from Summer Half Term.

Reception cohort – The children join school at lunchtime playtimes from Summer Half Term and are supported by our ‘Buddy system’. Children enjoy story sessions with their new class teacher in their own classroom and as the half term progresses, they then enjoy a story session within their new classroom environment.

The children enjoy two full transition days in July with their new class teacher.

Nursery cohort (N2-Wrens) -  Children enjoy story sessions with their new class teacher in their own classroom and as the half term progresses, they then enjoy a story session within their new classroom environment There are two transition mornings for new starters to the school and with the N2 cohort.

We endeavour to visit any new child within their current setting or at home before they join us.

Nursery cohort (N1 – Robins) – We visit new children in their home and welcome parents and child into our setting prior to entry.

Daily indoor and outdoor risk assessments are completed. 

CPOMs is used as a means to record any communications with parents, incidents that may occur that affect the child and behavioural concerns, so that any patterns can be highlighted immediately. 

We make children aware of that the adults in school are there to guide and to talk to should they have any concerns or worries. 

We follow Intimate Care Procedures.

Our Curriculum Impact

Our impact is reviewing our teaching and assessing the learning in a variety of ways; this shows we make a difference.

The children make good progress from their starting point. 

Impact is shown with our observations, both formative and summative assessments for each child, when discussing next steps and children’s interests.

We measure this in a number of ways:

  • Children talk about what they are learning, what they have explored and discovered and are excited by the experiences they have had in school. They want to share their learning with their family outside school and share these interests with us on class dojo. We build upon their prior knowledge and deepen their thinking through high quality questioning. Their observations are recorded and shared with parents.
  • Children strive to become fluent readers.  They comprehend and read with prosody.

Children have a love of books, selecting from a range of texts and genres. 

  • The range of opportunities given through our indoor and outdoor provision provides a healthy, active, strong and resilient child, who is ready to tackle new experiences as they progress within school life.
  • The Statutory baseline and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) conducted at the end of a child’s time in Year R, provides parents and carers, practitioner and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their attainment against expected levels and their readiness for Year One. Parents are kept informed and updated on their children’s learning and development regularly.
  • Nursery children transitioning into Year R at Riseley or moving into another setting receive a 
  • Information gathered from Summative and Formative assessments and observations, informs ‘next steps’ to extend learning further or highlight areas for development.

Children are confident to move to the next stage of their learning, being equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for the first or next stage of their learning and development.

  • Children are tolerant and accepting of differences through cultural capital, art, music and literature. They know and work hard to adhere to the three school rules:
  • Be ready
  • Be respectable
  • Be safe


  • Children have a seamless transition from either one setting to Riseley or year group to year group. Children are confident within their new learning environments and teaching staff have an immediate holistic picture of each child as soon as they begin their learning with us.
  • Children are confident to talk to adults on a range of subjects and issues. 

They know that the adults in the setting are there to help to keep them safe.



High Street, Riseley, Bedford, Bedfordshire. MK44 1DR

01234 708218