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Cherry Orchard, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS14 9AN

01543 263505


St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Growing with Jesus

                                         Early Years Foundation Stage


At St Josephs’ Early Years we recognise the importance of giving our children the best possible start to their education by planning and implementing teaching and learning opportunities that support them in reaching their full potential. We provide a fun and engaging curriculum and work with parents and families to prepare children well for Year One and beyond.


The Development Matters document along with the Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals set out expectations for children by the end of the Foundation Stage. It is our intention to provide, within the context of our school’s Mission Statement, a broadly enriched, rounded and stimulating learning environment where children can work with adults and peers in a climate of mutual respect to develop;

  • The social skills necessary to develop positive relationships with others and to support children’s effective learning.
  • Confidence in their ability to learn, resilience and a ‘can do’ attitude. 
  • The emotional capabilities to enable them to understand their feelings and to solve problems.
  • Knowledge and skills across all areas of the EYFS curriculum. 


At St Joseph’s Early Years we recognise our learning environment as ‘the third teacher’. We aim to provide children with a welcoming, safe, carefully resourced learning environment, both indoors and outdoors, which encourages progression in children’s skills and knowledge from Pre-School to Reception class and beyond. This will enable them to develop the attitudes, understanding and characteristics of effective learning that will form the basis of lifelong learning and will provide the foundations needed for them to become useful, active members of a diverse and constantly changing society.  


Our curriculum

We follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage which reflects the three prime areas and four specific areas of learning identified in the Early Learning Goals, all of which are equally valued at St Joseph’s Early Years. 


Prime Areas

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships; Self confidence and self-awareness; Managing feelings and behaviour. 

Communication and Language: Listening and attention; Speaking; Listening

Physical development: Moving and handling; Health and self-care


Specific Areas

Literacy; Reading; Writing

Mathematics: Number; Space, shape and measure

Understanding the World; People and communities; The world; Technology

Expressive Arts and Design: Exploring using media and materials; Being imaginative. 


Characteristics of Effective Learning

Underpinning these areas of learning are the Characteristics of Effective Learning which is how children learn:

Playing and Exploring - children being involved in open-ended hands-on experiences giving them the opportunity to explore ideas in imaginative ways and to develop a ‘can do’ attitude.    

Active Learning - children demonstrating concentration, resilience, self-motivation and persistence. 

Creating and Thinking Critically - children seeking challenge, thinking logically, problem solving, testing out their ideas and finding new ways to do things. 

The Early Learning Goals provide the basis for planning throughout the Foundation Stage. We are ambitious in that we also incorporate additional skills and learning from the National Curriculum to support children ready for when they move to year one, e.g. using a range of maths resources in line with our school’s maths mastery approach; encouraging children to use expression when reading during guided reading sessions. 

In Pre-School we support the development of children’s learning through play using ‘in the moment planning’. Staff observe and interact with children as they pursue their own interests, and assess children, moving their learning on in that moment. Across the foundation stage we understand the huge importance of children’s communication skills and recognise that a good vocabulary sets children up for life. Knowing and using more words helps children to: develop confidence; articulate what they want and what they are thinking; and make friends. Our daily Pre-School routine therefore includes a strong focus on developing children’s language and communication skills through: supporting children’s pronunciation of sounds; building up children’s rich vocabularies; developing children’s understanding and comprehension. In order to support the development of children’s rich vocabularies we: provide an array of exciting resources and areas to explore; teach nursery rhymes, poems and stories; and have daily mini phonics sessions. 

In Reception Class, we recognise that children’s success in reading, writing and maths is strongly linked to secure development in the Prime areas of learning and we build on children’s prior learning in Pre-School.  While children still have opportunities to learn through play, the routine becomes more structured as the year progresses. From the first weeks in Reception class children engage in daily phonics sessions (reading / writing), daily ‘snappy maths’ sessions, guided reading in small groups three times a week, and daily class stories. In Reception class we also have daily Show and Tell sessions. These sessions help children to develop confidence speaking in front of others, their vocabularies and communication skills, questioning and answering skills, and have a new theme each half term, for example, ‘My experiences’, ‘Things that work’, ‘My achievements’, ‘My favourite books’. 

Across the foundation stage we support the development of children’s positive behaviour and help children to learn to regulate their own behaviour by gently teaching them how to behave with others, what is acceptable behaviour, how to make friends and how to be kind. Our Early Years Golden Rules are ‘Share’, ‘Be a good friend’, ‘Kind hands’, ‘Work together’ and ‘Kind mouth’. 


Phonics and Reading

At St Joseph’s Primary School we follow the systematic, synthetic Letters and Sounds phonics program. Throughout their time in Pre-School, the children explore phase 1 of Letters and Sounds: environmental sounds; instrumental sounds; body percussion; rhythm and rhyme; alliteration; voice sounds; and oral blending and segmenting. Moving into their final two terms in Pre-School children are introduced to the first 12 letter sounds in phase 2 and oral blending and segmenting is modeled by adults. In Reception class children engage in phonics sessions on a daily basis where they are taught letter sounds, tricky words and high frequency words . Each letter sound is taught over two days in order to embed learning and support children’s confidence in phonics and reading. The first day introduces the new letter sound and includes a hands-on reading activity; the second day recaps the letter sound and includes a writing activity. 


Progression in phonics from Early Years into Y1. 

Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


(Children who attend Pre-School for more than one year will explore Phase 1 Letters and Sounds up and continue this into their final Autumn term in Pre-school)

Letters and sounds Phase 1: environmental sounds; instrumental sounds; body percussion; rhythm and rhyme; alliteration; voice sounds; and oral blending and segmenting

Continue to practise and embed Letters and Sounds Phase 1.

Introduce Phase 2 letter sounds: s, a, t, p, i

Adults model oral blending and segmenting

Continue to practise and embed Letters and Sounds Phase 1.

Introduce Phase 2 letter sounds n, m, d, g, o, c, k

Adults model oral blending and segmenting

Reception Class

Teach Phase 2 Letters and Sounds.  

Teach Phase 2 tricky words.

the, no, to, into, go, I

Phase 2 phonics high frequency words

a, an, as, at, and, back, big, but, can, dad, had, get, got, him, his, if, in, is, it, mum, not, on, of, off, up

Teach Phase 3 Letters and Sounds

 Teach Phase 3 tricky words.

all, are, be, he, her, me, my, she, they, was, we, you

Phase 3 phonics high frequency words

down, for, look, now, see, that, them, this, then, too, will, with

Embed Phase 3 Letters and Sounds.

Introduce Phase 4 Letters and Sounds

Introduce Phase 4 tricky words.

come, do, have, like, little, one, out, said, so, some, there, were, what, when

Introduce Phase 4 high frequency words

went, children, it's, just, from, help

Phase 4 teaching continues into Year 1

Year 1

Recap, practise and embed Phase 3 Letters and Sounds. 

Teach Phase 4 Letters and Sounds.

Teach Phase 4 tricky words.  

come, do, have, like, little, one, out, said, so, some, there, were, what, when

Teach Phase 4 high frequency words 

went, children, it's, just, from, help

Teach phase 5 Letters and Sounds. each sound over two days. 

Teach Phase 5 tricky words.  

Oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked, could

Teach Phase 5 high frequency words

don't, day, old, made, I'm, came, by, make, time, here, saw, house, very, about, your

Begin to teach the Year 1 Common Exception Words

Y1 Phonics Screening

Continue teaching and embedding Phase 5 letters and Sounds. 

Continue embedding all phonics knowledge taught so far. 

Continue teaching and embedding the Year 1 Common Exception Words






Children have daily opportunities to access the outdoor environment which enables them to increase their levels of physical activity. The Early Years playgrounds have been very carefully designed to support progression of children’s skills, for example, children develop gross motor movements, balance and coordination skills digging in the Pre-School sand pit and the Reception Class gravel pit challenges children further, requiring them to use more physical strength and coordination while digging and transporting, as well as building problem solving skills. These gross motor movements support children’s fine motor skills, including using pencils for writing. 

In Pre-School a wide range of activities supporting early writing skills are provided within the continuous provision which support the development of children’s fine motor skills and finger strength such as; gardening, woodwork, modelling with playdough, water painting, chalking and drawing, and learning to use a knife and fork correctly. Staff support and encourage the development of children’s pencil grip as they progress from using palmer grasp to tripod grip and also teach children to begin to write their own name in preparation for Reception class. Cursive script is modelled by adults (for example, when writing children’s names). 

In Reception class staff build on the skills children have developed in Pre-School, teaching children how to use the correct pencil grip and writing posture, and supporting children’s letter formation and letter size. By the end of Reception class we aim for children to be able to use their phonic knowledge and writing skills to be able to independently write three or more short sentences in the cursive style.



In Early Years we have a clear progression of mathematical skills which we aim to teach in Pre-school and move on to in Reception class. 

Progression in mathematics in Early Years:

Religious Education

In Early Years as part of our school mission, we promote British Values and teach the children to respect and celebrate differences through a range of activities such as learning about Chinese New Year and visiting a local Chinese restaurant, voting for which books we would like at story time, and learning to be kind and a good friend. In Pre-School children join in with our school lunch time and end of the day prayers. From Reception class to Year 6 children follow the Archdiocese of Birmingham’s curriculum strategy for RE ‘Learning and Growing as the people of God’. In Reception class, this includes learning about: bible stories; attending Mass; learning about our school’s values and virtues; and learning about a range of topics such as Creation, Christmas, People who help us, and Easter. 


Teaching and assessment

Throughout the Pre-School and Reception years as part of the learning and teaching process, children will be assessed in relation to their progress towards Development Matters and the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year. In Early Years our assessments help us to identify when individual children need extra support, for example: learning how to hold a pencil correctly; learning to build friendships; support with speech and language. Activities are tailored to provide support for individual children, sharing strategies with parents. Our assessments also help to identify when children need further challenge and where appropriate some children may begin to work into their next year group’s curriculum.  End of year assessments are finalised during the summer term, summarising each child’s development at that point against the Early Learning Goals and Development Matters.


Working with parents. 

In Pre-school, staff provide daily feedback to parents about their child’s day. Parents are also invited to meet with their child’s Key Worker on a termly basis where Key Workers share the child’s ‘in the moment planning’ focus sheets with parents. During this meeting we discuss children’s progress and achievements, and identify areas in which we can work together to further support children’s development and progress. Throughout the year there are opportunities for families to get involved in various sessions with their child in pre-school such as: joining us on trips into the local area and beyond, fun mark-making sessions, parent phonics workshops, ‘getting your child school ready’ workshops, our Christmas shop, our Early Years Nativity and much more.

Before starting Reception Class, families are invited to our Open Evening, a session in Reception Class and a Teddy Bear’s picnic. In the first week of the school year, we offer home visits. These have proven to be very popular and a fabulous opportunity for children to meet their YR teacher and TA again just before they start school, for us to find out about a child’s interests, and for Parents to find out and share any further information. Once children start Reception class, parents are invited to Parents Evenings in the autumn and spring terms, and an Open Evening in the summer term. In addition to this, the Reception teacher also offers informal ‘drop in’ sessions each term, as well as one focus sheet meeting in the year where the teacher shares a snapshot of the children’s learning, progress, achievements and next steps as well as their child’s thoughts about what they enjoy at school. Throughout the year parents are also invited to our phonics, writing and mathematics workshops where we share what and how we are teaching your child in school. Reception class children also have homework linked to what they are learning in class. 


Transition to Year 1

In the summer term children in Reception class begin their transition to Year 1. This includes the Year 1 teacher visiting reception class for story time, a tour of the Year 1 classroom, and short transition sessions to Year 1 which gradually increase to a full morning or afternoon session on the whole school transition day. Children have the opportunity to meet their new teacher, explore their new classroom and find out about exciting new responsibilities and experiences they will have in Year 1. 



Children at St. Joseph’s are  happy, inquisitive, engaged and successful learners who care for themselves and others. The majority of our pupils achieve a good level of development and are fully prepared for the next stage of their education as they transition from Foundation Stage to Year One. 

We meet the legal requirements for:

  •         Safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare.
  •         Providing suitable adults with appropriate qualifications, training, skills and knowledge.
  •         Maintaining records, policies and procedures for the safe and efficient management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children.
  •           Planning and organisation to ensure that every child receives an enjoyable and challenging learning and developmental experience tailored to meet their individual needs.


Useful Links

EYFS Development Matters


Useful websites

 Teach your monster to read  - Teach your monster to read is highly recommended to support children's phonics and reading skills! It follows the Letters and Sounds program used in school and supports children with recognising letter sounds, blending and segmenting words and learning tricky words. It is available as an app and the children love it! 

 Tentown - You can subscribe to this website. It includes a range of characters to support children with recognising numerals; each character has their own song and story. This subscription includes access to a wide range of activities, resources and online maths games. 

Jack Harmann songs on YouTube. An enormous range of maths songs from counting to 20, to learning doubles and 3D shapes!

Topmarks A super selection of online maths games. 

Phonics PlayThis website is used in school too. It includes lots of activities to help children to learn and practise phonics. 


Early learning Goals to achieve by the end of EYFS

(click on the document below to view or download)

Reception Class Long Term Overview

(Click on the document below to view or download)