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Curriculum 3-5 Years

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The EYFS sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.

It promotes teaching and learning to ensure 'school readiness' and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

It is based on 7 main areas of learning and development:

    Prime Areas

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

  • Specific Areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life. The EYFS guidelines ensure quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind.

Child drawing

Early Years Curriculum - Ages 3-5 yrs

By the age of 3 your child's world will be expanding and they will be increasing their development as a person and as a learner. They become more sociable, making friendships and starting to connect with adults beyond the family.

All the time they are becoming more mobile and more verbal. Imaginary play is a notable milestone and their fine and gross motor skills are developing as they explore the world around them.

3-5 year olds can concentrate for longer, start to see links between things, guess how a story might end - and discuss it. They are also becoming aware of the people around them and realising that they too have feelings.

At nursery practitioners will continue to keep a keen focus on children's development in the 'prime' areas of learning. However, the 4 'specific' areas of learning will take on more weight to ensure that children become 'school ready'.

You will begin to see some impressive achievements as your child becomes more alert to the world around them. They may be working on nature projects, growing vegetables and flowers, 'almost' reading books, tackling puzzles unaided and learning to cook!

Children's mark making develops as they begin to draw circles, learn how to copy a square and form some capital letters. They are able to use scissors for cutting, choose shapes and materials and stick to make collages. By the age of 5 they may be able to draw a person with up to 4 body parts.

Development in the Prime Areas of Learning

Communication and Language

Our nursery rooms have cosy book corners, both inside and out (in dry weather), for children to relax and enjoy reading when they feel like it. Our practitioners are also on hand to read aloud to them.

Environments are planned for mark making activities, both indoors and outdoors, including chalkboards, paint, sand and mud.

Each session finishes with circle time, when the children come together to sing new songs and rhymes. These are repeated until children come to recognise and join in with them. Musical instruments, lycra, parachutes and vividly coloured scarves are used as props to enhance the activity and encourage movement and dance. Tidying away at the end becomes part of the activity, bringing in social responsibility and an awareness of others.

Storysacks are used to introduce themes which stimulate children's imagination and increase their understanding of the world around them. These are available for families to take home and your child's key person will give you other ideas to increase home learning opportunities.

Physical Development

Your child will be making huge strides physically, practising hopping, climbing, swinging, skipping and riding a trike. By the age of 5 many children can stand on one leg for at least 10 seconds.

Their fine and gross motor skills will be developing to allow them to hold a pencil or brush, cut with scissors, eat with a knife and fork.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Interaction with other children increases and your child will start to build friendships within the nursery.

Imaginary play is a notable milestone and a great deal of social development occurs through fantasy play and imagination. Our nurseries operate on 'free-flow play' principles, giving children the freedom to choose what they want to do, and whether they prefer to be inside or outdoors. This increases their independence and allows them to learn through making their own mistakes. Our practitioners are trained to stand back to allow the children to make decisions, solve problems without so much emotion and resolve conflict on their own, but they are on standby to help when the time is right.

Development in the Specific Areas of Learning


By the age of 3 pre-schoolers know around 300 words. This expands to 1500 words by the age of 4 and to 2500 words by the age of 5. Practitioners will stimulate their language development through reading, talking and asking questions. Home learning will play a crucial role in this development, especially reading aloud daily, listening and making conversation with your child. Your child's key person will give you ideas to increase learning opportunities at home.

Our nurseries also carry a range of resources for children who are learning English as an additional language, including DVDs, talking books and postcards.


Your child will begin to understand simple counting and to understand the concept of time. Counting games are introduced to help children to learn and recognise numbers. Led activities include using scales to weigh and measure, for example recording and measuring children's growth on a wall.

Expressive Arts and Design

Tables are laid out in the nursery room for children to sit down and draw or paint, or use play dough for modelling.

Other areas are set up for role play activities, with kitchens indoors and out (mud kitchens), play houses, café/dining areas, dressing up clothes, feeding and sleeping areas for dolls, hairdressing salons etc.

Understanding the World

Themed play and small excursions (for example, to the library or the park) introduce children to the local area. The learning is also taking place everywhere in the nursery, including the gardens - with areas laid out for planting and digging; messy play in sand or with water; bells, chimes, pots and pans for music making; toys for stacking or construction. Outdoor play is encouraged to explore the changing seasons and the habitats of birds and animals.

Storysacks, themed weeks or terms and 'Stay & Plays' (parents/carers are invited to come and play with their child at nursery) are used to introduce and build on children's knowledge of other countries and cultures.

All the time your child's key person will continue to make observations and record individual progress in their learning journal. We hope that you will share your own observations with them too, so that activities can be planned to build on new stages in their development.

Becoming School Ready

All this prepares your child for big school and we work closely with the local schools to ease the transition to more formal education. We will arrange visits to the local schools, as well as inviting teachers to come in to the nursery to meet the children. We also make sure that we have samples of school uniform and help the children to practice putting on items of clothing/footwear.


Department for Education. Stautory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. Published: 3 March 2017.
EYFS_STATUTORY_FRAMEWORK_2017.pdf. [Accessed 30 October 2017.]

Search Institute 2017. ParentFurther. Understand Ages & Stages [Accessed 30 October 2017.]

Tapestry Online Learning Journal [Accessed 30 October 2017.]

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