Early Years – Nursery and Reception

In the Early Years at Fairlawn, we strive to provide the highest quality care and education for all our children, thereby giving them a strong foundation for their future learning.


Our intent is to provide a challenging and engaging curriculum which is accessible to all children in the EYFS which provides the children with the knowledge, cultural capital and self-belief they need to be able to thrive.

We believe that the curriculum is everything that the children do, see, hear and feel, planned and unplanned, both indoors and outdoors. 

Our intent is to ensure children leave reception with an excellent foundation for ongoing literacy and mathematical development and with a positive, can-do attitude towards learning.

We understand how important adults are in an EYFS setting in promoting discussion,


Children in our nursery and reception primarily learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively both indoors and outdoors. Children make their own decisions about where they learn best and teachers ensure that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside.

We recognise the importance of children’s play. It is an essential and rich part of their 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. EYFS teachers provide both structured and unstructured play opportunities inside and outside. These activities are designed 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

At Fairlawn, the curriculum for our nursery and reception pupils is underpinned by the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance.  We also use the non-statutory Development Matters guidance to help shape our curriculum.

The curriculum is centred on 3 prime areas of learning:

  1. Communication and Language.
  2. Physical Development
  3. Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Learning activities will also be framed within four specific areas which strengthen the prime areas. These are:

  1. Literacy
  2. Mathematics
  3. Understanding of the World
  4. Expressive Arts and Design

These Areas of Learning and Development address children’s physical, cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional development. No one aspect of development stands in isolation from the others as all areas of learning and development are all closely interlinked. This ensures the delivery of a holistic, child-centred curriculum which allows children to make links between what they are learning.

Themes/topics throughout the year ensure that the children are given a wide range of active, real-life and everyday experiences to enhance their learning about their world.  These are chosen to reflect the children’s interests, seasonal events and include visits in and around the local area.

We recognise the importance of a rich learning environment both inside and outside. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The environment is set up to allow cross curricular learning including opportunities for writing and developing maths skills.  The environment supports our intent of providing a challenging and engaging curriculum that is accessible to all. In order for children to lead their own learning in the provision, it is important that children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently. 

We aim to raise aspirations through our curriculum by exposing children to new experiences.

Our curriculum is implemented through a blend of explicit teaching class or group, and child-initiated learning. 

Explicit teaching:

All children have access to daily, quality first teaching of phonics with additional support for those who are behind expectations.

All children are explicitly taught the skills of reading through daily phonics sessions and through 1:1 reading with an adult each week.

All children receive daily explicit teaching of early number.

Children are taught the skill of writing through explicit teaching class or as a group.

We understand the importance of vocabulary development on later life outcomes and we therefore explicitly teach the children new vocabulary every week.

We provide the Nuffield Early Language Intervention for any children where communication and language is an area of concern.

We have a clear understanding of progression in pencil grip, phonics, early reading, early writing, early number, vocabulary development so that we can plan next steps for individuals. We have key objectives for these areas which remain the same each year in line with the development matters guidance. The rest of our curriculum is fluid and constantly evolving in response to the children.

We understand that some aspects of our curriculum are less linear in nature as we support children to develop critical learning behaviours of resilience, reflectiveness, curiosity, collaboration and independence.  We understand that these skills underpin a child’s ability to learn.  Many of these are taught ‘in the moment’

Recording Learning:

We currently use the Interactive Learning Diary to record children’s learning, but will be trialling a scrap book in the summer term.  We understand that adults’ time is much better spent on interacting with children and moving their learning on.  These scrapbooks will therefore be child led and will provide the parents with a record of their achievement for some areas of the curriculum. Parents can contribute to these scrapbooks using WOW cards from home.

Parental involvement in the curriculum:

In Reception, the children take home weekly Maths Home Learning activities and phonics practice sheets that match the phases being taught in class. 


The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in the children who enter year 1 as happy, confident and resilient learners with a firm foundation to build upon for literacy and mathematical development.

Due to high levels of engagement in the EYFS, children remember what they have learnt.

Children are assessed on an ongoing basis with light touch summative assessments in Autumn and Spring.  Any general trends are identified and the provision adjusted as a result.  Teachers use their excellent knowledge of the children to inform next steps in planning on an ongoing basis.

Children leave reception seeing themselves as readers.

View our Early Years Policy here
We follow the Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage document. View it here

Executive Head Teacher : Ms Jeanette Brumby

Head Teacher : Ms Hania Ryans

(Contact via School Office)

Co-Chair of Governors : Sharon Long and Paula MacDonald

Fairlawn Primary School
Honor Oak Road
London SE23 3SB