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Early Years Policy

043 St Marks CofE Primary 6thMay2015

Equalities Statement

“Being equal does not mean that we all get the same, but that we all get what we need.”

Our school vision ensures that the whole of the school community hold the same ethos and beliefs around equality. At St Mark’s CE Primary School we believe in creating a positive learning ethos where children are actively involved in engaging and stimulating learning experiences. We aspire to create lifelong, reflective learners, equipping our children with knowledge, skills and understanding to help them to make informed choices throughout their lives.

We recognise that there are similarities and differences between individuals and groups but we will strive to ensure that our differences do not become barriers to participation, access and learning and create inclusive processes and practices, where the varying needs of individuals and groups are identified and met. We therefore cannot achieve equality for all by treating everyone the same. We believe we all have equal rights, but may have different needs.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) covers the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. At St Mark’s CE Primary School this includes children in both our Nursery and Reception classes. It was designed to ensure quality provision and consistency across all Early Years settings as:

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfill their potential’ Statutory Framework for the EYFS, 2007).

The EYFS follows an approach where good practice is built upon four key principles. These principles describe how children’s development, learning and care should be supported. They are:

  • A unique child – developing resilient, capable, confident and self-assured individuals. 
  • Positive relationships – outlining the adults role in supporting children to become strong and independent learners. 
  • 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

They are each, in turn, broken down into 4 elements outlining key areas of each principle

This is summarised as follows:


A unique child

Positive relationships

Enabling environment

Learning and development

Key strands

Child Development

Inclusive Practice

Keeping safe

Health and Well-being


Respecting Each Other

Parents as partners

Supporting Learning

The Role of the Key Person


Observation, Assessment and Planning

Support for every child

The Learning environment

Keeping safe


Play and Exploration

Active Learning

Creativity and critical thinking

Areas of learning and development


EYFS Curriculum

These principles and commitments underpin the EYFS curriculum. The EYFS curriculum itself is made up of:

3 Prime Areas of Leaning:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
  • Communication and Language (CL)
  • Physical Development (PD)

 4 Specific Areas of Learning:

  • Literacy (Lit)

  • Mathematics (MD)
  • Understanding of the World (UW)
  • Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

Each area is important and cannot be taught in isolation. All areas must be delivered through planned and purposeful play with a balance of adult-led and child- initiated activities with a particular focus on the prime areas of learning, ‘ We use guidance within Development Matters and the Early Years Outcomes to identify key learning objectives within our curriculum planning.

Ethos, Aims, Objectives and Vision

Our ethos at St Mark’s

The Early Years are a critical phase in children’s lives as they are the foundation on which children build many later skills and concepts. This is a time where young children are not only learning and growing rapidly but their experiences, learning and relationships in these years have a powerful and long lasting impact on their future education, health, well being and life chances. Attitudes, behavior patterns and self-belief as learners are established during the first years of life and are central to life-long learning. At St Mark’s our Early Years team understand this and therefore we aim to ensure that for our children every day counts and everyday really does matter.

Aims and Objectives

We aim to provide children with:

  • A secure foundation for future learning
  • High standards of teaching and learning to ensures that every child progresses to be the best that they can be
  • A stimulating and inclusive learning environment that meets each child’s individual's strengths, interests and needs regardless of gender, race, wealth, religion, additional needs or disability
  • A partnership approach between home, school and all key adults in children’s lives to support learning and share progress

At St Mark’s we believe that:

  • Early years learning and development must be holistic. The emotional, social and intellectual, creative, physical and spiritual needs of children are central to their development
  • Learning is an active process for young children where play and first-hand experiences provide interest, challenge, manipulation, exploration, discovery and practice. Learning builds from all experiences but starts best from what children already know and can do.
  • Children learn at different rates and in different ways. Connections between all aspects of development are interwoven. Learning is never tidy. It can go in different directions and is often unpredictable.
  • Development is most profound when children are motivated by purposeful activities that promote confidence, enjoyment, engagement and persistence.
  • Learning is often extended by intervention and interaction with other children and adults. Children need opportunities to watch, listen, talk and play in a social environment that supports their confidence and communication skills.
  • Learning is most effective when the environment is rich and stimulating, where active multi sensory experiences draw children in as learners evoking their interests, talk, exploration, creativity and questions.
  • Teaching and learning experiences need to offer a well thought out balance between child and adult initiated experiences so that there are opportunities for both planned and spontaneous learning
  • Learning develops best where there is open, honest and trusting communication, respect for and between all individual children, their families and professionals involved in children’s lives.  



In the early years at St Marks, we believe all children and families have the right to:

  • Feel valued as an individual
  • Be happy, healthy, enthusiastic and confident with high self-esteem and self-worth
  • Be independent, curious, creative and resilient learners
  • Be courageous and take risks, challenging themselves and each other
  • Know they have a voice, feel heard and that they can make a difference
  • Be able to identify and communicate their own needs and feelings