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Early Years

Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at Priory Rise provides children with the very best possible start to their education, establishing solid foundations on which to build their future learning journey, developing each child to become the very best version of themself. The EYFS statutory framework was significantly updated in September 2021, however Priory Rise chose to become Early Adopters of this new curriculum in 2020 so we are already into our third year of embedding this. You can find out about this new framework on the following link:

Early Years Statutory Framework

The Foundation Stage encourages children to develop a real love of learning and a fascination about the world in which they live; identifying similarities, patterns and change through careful observation skills and experiences. Children will learn how to work independently and in partnership with their peers to solve problems and achieve goals, experiencing success without external reward. Our teaching of the school’s values starts here as children learn to follow rules, share, work alongside others and take turns. Children are encouraged and taught how to become effective learners, who show good curiosity, can problem solve and remain resilient when facing challenges. We expect children to bounce back after difficulties, apply a range of strategies to reach the desired outcome and know that practise breeds success. We aspire for each child to achieve the 17 Early Learning Goals which will give them the best foundation on which to build their future learning journey, providing them with a good level of development. Children will expand their ability to listen and give attention to not only things that interest them but to activities led by adults too.

At Priory Rise School our Foundation Stage has a Nursery and 3 Reception classes.


Children will be engaged through a curriculum which is wholly centred around high-quality books. Each week a new book is chosen to be the focus on which many of the learning opportunities and adult led sessions are based. Books chosen may reflect the children’s interest, a special time of year; such as season or festival, a value/moral or traditional tale which will enrich the children’s spoken vocabulary. Activities and resources are carefully designed to develop children’s language, vocabulary, and their engagement through improving listening and attention skills. At Priory Rise, phonics is taught using the validated scheme ‘Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised’ - this work starts in the Nursery. Children will have daily adult led phonics sessions which develop their ability to listen to a variety of sounds they can hear in the world around them, in their name and in words that they hear. Children are encouraged to hold writing equipment developing a strong pincer grip, through a daily Dough Disco, take part in gross and fine motor mark makings activities and learn the letters from their name. Children attend music and movement sessions in the hall and visit the library to read, share and take-home books.


The Reception year builds on the children’s experiences, either at home, at our Priory Rise Nursery or at other pre-school settings. During this year in school, children continue to access rich opportunities so that they can explore and learn through free play, alongside daily, direct teaching of Phonics, Numbers and Patterns and Topic.

Throughout the Reception year the children focus on a range of topics which reflect the children’s interests, the cultural calendar, current affairs, and the world around us. The curriculum is fluid and is adapted to suit the needs of each cohort of children, spending longer on areas of interest or to develop mastery in knowledge and skills. Reception children will experience sessions from our specialist PE and music teachers and have access to indoor and outdoor learning in their free play. Children are taught letter formation which prepares them perfectly for developing a fluent joined style in the future. Children enjoy stories and begin to read through the systematic teaching of phonics, reading phonics books which carefully match their stage of development, and through the teaching of reading skills in lessons and in guided reading sessions. Children will grow their spoken vocabulary by becoming immersed in a language rich environment where they have opportunity to share their wishes and needs and can communicate their feelings effectively. Children learn to tolerate the needs, views and beliefs of others and understand that although we are all unique, we are all equal.

Please see the Early Years tab in Teaching & Learning for more detailed information.