Early Years

Early Years at Garfield

Our ethos in the Early Years at Garfield is that children learn best when learning through their own play and interests. There is a balance between adult led and child initiated activities. In Reception and Nursery, we follow the curriculum set out in the ‘Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (March 2021), which covers all areas of children’s learning and development from birth to five years old. There are prime and specific areas of learning which are outlined below along with ideas to help you support your children with these at home. We also refer to the non-statutory guidance ‘Development Matters’ (September 2020). Learning and teaching takes place in the indoor and outdoor environment.

The prime areas of learning for Nursery and Reception are Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.

As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world and Expressive arts and design.

Children’s play helps them to develop their processes of learning and talking to them gives us the opportunity to model language and build their vocabulary. Children should be able to communicate clearly and effectively and use the language based on their experiences. Opportunities for social interactions, frequent short interactive carpet sessions and questioning allow children lots of chances to develop their listening skills.

Supporting your child’s communication and language

Pay attention to what your child is interested in and show interest.
Slow down your speaking rate to give your child time to process what you are saying.
Try talking to your child at a slightly higher level than what they are producing.
Pause, this will give your child time to respond.
Wonder out loud. “I wonder how far the car will go if I push it” This invites your child to make a prediction or allows you to expand with “Let’s see.”
Sing songs and rhymes with your child.
Make reading as interesting as possible – using fun voices, facial expressions etc.

Children’s interactions and understanding of the world is underpinned by their emotions . Children will learn how to build their confidence, develop positive attitudes and communicate freely. There are three main areas in the EYFS curriculum: self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour and finally making relationships.

Ways to support your child’s PSED:

  • Do simple activities together such as rolling a ball back and forth, building a tower together or dancing.
  • Model being kind and caring towards others and encourage your child to mirror similar behaviour.
  • Give opportunities for your child to have a choice eg: different vegetables/fruits at snack time.
  • Talk about any problems they encounter and explore how to solve the problem.
  • Encourage your child to talk about their likes and dislikes.
  • Give your child clear, simple and consistent boundaries.
  • Narrate other people’s feelings.

Physical development is about strengthening the whole body to be able to run, jump, hop, climb, ride a bike and hold a pencil and write. There are two types of skills we focus on fine and gross which will help support the children in their future life.

Ways to support gross motor development:

  • Encourage your child to walk up and downstairs, holding onto the rail to support them.
  • Playing chasing games such as ‘Stuck in the Mud’ to encourage changing direction and speed.
  • Simple throwing and catching games.
  • Using paintbrushes and large pieces of paper.
  • Using chalk on the pavement to draw big lines and circles to develop arm muscles.
  • Balancing competitions e.g.: who can stand on one leg the longest.

Ways to support fine motor development:

  • Model how to snip paper using scissors and then provide your child with child-friendly scissors to have a go.
  • Provide plenty of opportunities to paint, draw and colour to develop early fine motor skills.

Physical development is also about health and self-care. You can help your child by encouraging them to become more independent in their personal care at home.

  • Putting on and taking off their own coat.
  • Zipping up own coat.
  • Taking off and putting own shoes on.
  • Using a knife, fork and spoon.
  • Wiping own nose.
  • Going to the toilet independently.

Literacy in Early Years covers, word reading, writing and comprehension. Children will be taught phonics everyday and slowly begin to recognise and use sounds so that they can read. When they have begun  this they will also begin to understand the structures of stories and also use writing themselves to communicate meaning.

Word Reading:

Please read to your child every day and choose a range of different story books.

  • Encourage your child to talk about the front cover, title and pictures.
  • Help them look for words that are repeated throughout the story.
  • Encourage your child to turn the pages and follow the text with their finger.
  • See if children can recognise learnt sounds
  • Read aloud using their phonics knowledge


  • Talk about what might happen next in the story.
  • Link the story to their own experiences.
  • Talk about what has happened in the story and encourage your child to retell the story once you have finished reading.


Please encourage your child to mark make with a range of different materials.

  • Pencils, crayons, pens.
  • Chalk.
  • Painting.
  • Water and brushes outside on the pavement.
  • Salt in a tray.

Maths include number and numerical patterns. Children should learn how to count to 20 and beyond, know what order they go in and what the value of each is. Children will also be able to compare quantities and explore patterns. Rhymes, songs and other aids can help support these. The children will have maths carpet sessions everyday where each week will have a different focus.

Other ways you can support your child:

  • Encourage number recognition games such as matching games.
  • Explore different ways of representing numbers such as spots on a dice or fingers on a hand.
  • Look for numbers in the environment – bus numbers, phone numbers, car number plates etc.
  • Encourage your child to point to and move each object as they count.
  • Talk about different 2D shapes, you can use the environment around you to help you.
  • Model talking about the shapes – how many sides, corners they have etc.
  • Measuring activities – which is the tallest? Which bucket can hold the most sand?

Understanding the world refers to children knowing the differences between themselves others, the world and its changes and understand experiences they or others may go through.

Supporting your child’s understanding of the world:

  • Talk about the different occupations of your friends and family.
  • Talk to your child about their friends and how they are different to them.
  • Use photographs to talk about past events for example family celebrations.
  • Look at books or pictures of people from around the world, discuss similarities and differences between different cultures.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions about the world around them.
  • Provide opportunities for first hand experiences with animals and nature.
  • Talk about changes in the weather and seasons.
  • Model being kind and caring towards the environment.
  • Talk about the different types of technology in the home and what they are used for.

Expressive Arts and Design encompasses the different types of art and creative play and techniques children use. Children are naturally creative and will perform using resources they can or have made, children will invent and adapt narratives. They will share their creations and explore different types of materials and tools.

Ideas to support your child:

  • Support and encourage sensory and messy play.
  • Introduce simple crafts and allow them to explore.
  • Encourage use of different materials.
  • Play music regularly and introduce instruments.
  • Encourage your child with rhymes and songs that are repetitive and involve lots of actions.
  • Role play with your child – shops, stories, occupations.
  • Talk to your child about their creative processes.