Early Years

Early Years    


At St Cuthbert‘s we offer a happy, exciting, safe and fun learning environment. An environment where children are allowed and encouraged to examine, explore, share, make friends and express themselves. We believe that the Early Years is crucial in embedding solid foundations that children are going to build upon. It is our intent that the children who join us in their early years develop verbally, emotionally, physically and cognitively whilst securing a positive attitude to their learning. All children will be valued as individuals and we are passionate in allowing children to maximise their potential. 


Children in both our Nursery and Reception classes follow the EYFS curriculum, which has seven main areas of learning.

The Prime Areas:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development:  We support our early years children in learning to share, learn alongside and with each other and in understanding how to make the right choices when they are learning in our indoor and outdoor learning spaces.

Communication and Language: We use quality books and rich experiences to improve children’s language skills, vocabulary, listening skills and understanding.We promote speech, language and communication opportunities in all areas of learning, in order to strengthen each child’s ability to learn and be able to articulate their learning in greater detail. We create opportunities for children to speak with confidence and fluency, encouraging talk between peers and early years staff in all areas of learning.

Physical Development:  Children develop their large muscle control through running, jumping, balancing and climbing. We also focus on developing children’s muscle control in their arms, hands and fingers as they develop their writing skills. We use dough disco to support this.

The Specific Areas:

Literacy – We teach phonics skills for reading and writing using Letters and Sounds as our main approach in Nursery.  Read, Write, Inc is used for the more able nursery children and all reception children. We embed the foundations for reading and writing, developing a positive attitude through provision of quality opportunities to read and write for a purpose across early years.

Mathematics – We develop children’s understanding of number concepts and shape, space and measure through daily practical activities and differentiated number time sessions.

Understanding the World – We support children to explore the world around them, looking closely at the changes in the seasons and the environment around them. The children have the opportunity to work and explore in the Secret Garden where they develop their natural curiosity and love for learning outdoors.

Expressive Arts – Children are encouraged to find out and explore the different ways in which they can use and combine resources to create whatever their interests and imagination lead them to. They are taught the skills to introduce a story line in their learning, and to represent their ideas in a number of different ways including through small world, a variety of painting, drawing and modelling techniques and role play

We deliver our curriculum through a variety of topics which are chosen with the child’s interests in mind. Through these topics crucial skills, knowledge and vocabulary are practised and encouraged. Our curriculum is delivered in a varied, creative and playful way, which allows the specific and prime areas to be covered continuously.

Our early years Team work alongside pupils in whole class, small group, pairs and individual settings throughout each day. There is a combination of adult led, teacher taught as well as stimulating continuous provision which allows children to lead their own play and learning. The ‘Characteristics of learning’ underpin all learning within these areas. We develop the characteristics of, ‘Playing and Learning,’ Active Learning’ and ‘Thinking critically’ to ensure children are given the skills that they can draw upon throughout each stage of their development. 

Our curriculum opportunities encompass both the indoor and outdoor classrooms. These classrooms are adapted regularly to meet the differing and developing needs of our early years children. These areas are made accessible to all children regardless of where they are in their individual learning journeys. The environments are developed to promote independence and allow them to access the curriculum independently and with growing confidence with support and encouragement from our dedicated staff where needed.

Within our early Years setting we assess continuously through observation.  This ensures we adapt to the needs of the children week on week, providing a developing curriculum and meeting children’s next steps in learning.  


  • Continuous observations for assessment ensures learning is planned to meet changing needs. 
  • High expectations ensure children continue to make outstanding progress within our Early Years setting.
  • Our children are active learners showing  inquisitiveness and curiosity, questioning the world around them. 
  • Our Early Years curriculum gives children the foundations they need to be well rounded people who are able to reach their potential.
  • Children leave Early Years with the skills and knowledge to prepare them for their transition into the Year 1 curriculum.