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Early Years

Rationale for teaching in the EYFS at Dringhouses

We aim to inspire children by extending their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, providing a caring, secure and supportive environment that enables them to do so. We provide a child-initiated curriculum which is carefully planned, structured and monitored  that allows each child to develop maximum levels of self-confidence, self-motivation, and resilience whilst learning positively, happily and collaboratively with others.

Aims of EYFS teaching and learning at Dringhouses

  • Children at Dringhouses follow a play-based curriculum ensuring that all seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) learning and development are addressed.

  • Our curriculum is broad and balanced recognising the importance of play as a key element of child development. Carefully planned areas of provision allow children to explore and investigate both new and familiar topics. Adults skilfully play alongside children, ensuring progress through higher level questioning.

  • A wide variety of teaching approaches are used to support, encourage and challenge active involvement in the children’s learning. Learning projects guide children’s learning but don’t dominate- child led play can lead to a completely new adventure!

  • As children progress through the Reception year, they are gradually be exposed to more formal teaching and learning through guided group work in preparation for moving into Year 1.

Daily Phonics                                                                   

In Early Years we have a rigorous approach to teaching and acquisition of phonics.  We have a daily 20 minute whole class sessions taught by the class teacher. We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to inform our planning and a large amount of practical activities both inside and outside. Each adult led session is split into four parts, revisit, teach, practise and apply. We ensure an equal focus on both reading and writing.


Daily Mathematics

Maths in the Early Years at Dringhouses starts with a daily adult led session. The session includes counting, number recognition, the understanding of number and the number system and shape, space and measure. This is then extended into the learning through areas of provision that provide opportunities for maths based problem solving through play.



Communication and language development

Language development is based around three aspects: listening and attention; understanding; and speaking. We nourish these skills in a rich language environment that gives children the opportunity to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves, and to speak and listen in a range of situations. The adults role is to model language, hold conversations with the children and ask stimulating questions to foster such development.


Physical development

Activities are planned to provide opportunities for children to be active as well as develop their coordination, control and movement. These activities include access to the outdoor play environment, weekly PE sessions, led by a specialist teacher, and Forest Schools. These all help the development of both fine and gross motor skills.


Fine motor skills


Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands and fingers. It is important that children have the opportunities to strength these areas of the body in preparation for writing and forming letters. In the Early Years at Dringhouses, we provide a range of different activities to support this development:


Cutting and using scissors

Using tweezers


Using pegs

Use of malleable materials such as play dough

Funky finger sessions once a week

Puzzles and jigsaws

Drawing with pens, pencils and crayons

Painting with various sized painted brushes

Model making with small scale bricks such as Lego





Gross Motor Skills


Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs,  and large muscles that make everyday movements possible. Gross motor skills also includes hand-eye coordination. For children to develop these skills and have the ability to walk, run, hop, skip, slide, catch, jump or kick, they must practise them regularly. Activities to strengthen these movements include:


Riding bikes and scooters

Using the climbing wall or other climbing equipment

Using big tools to paint, dig or clean

Crawling through things


Carrying large boxes and crates

Throwing and catching large balls

Playing games that involve avoiding obstacles


Health and self-care

Children are support to become independent and resilient. This begins with being able to look after themselves and their belongings. We actively encourage our children to place high regard on responsibility and safety for themselves and others. The children have the opportunity to find out about how to keep their bodies safe and healthy, by supporting them to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal Social and emotional development

Children develop a positive sense of themselves and others. They are supported to form positive relationships and have respect for others. They develop their social skills and learn how to manage their feelings appropriately in different contexts.


Reading is everywhere at Dringhouses and is special time in the Early Years at Dringhouses. We have story time every day and sometimes more than once. Children are invited to share their favourite books and often we will read stories relating to the learning in the classroom. The children are given reading books to take home from the reading scheme that are changed regularly. Each week the Early Years visit the school library when they can choose and take home an additional book.

Opportunities for reading:

  • Reading areas within the classroom
  • Role play
  • Books areas of provision to enhance learning
  • Individual reading times with the teacher or a parent helper
  • Reading labels and captions
  • Finding letters and words in the classroom
  • Key word learning
  • Guided reading with a teacher and teaching assistant
  • Using magnetic letters


Mark making and writing


Mark making and writing are essential skills that are fun and exciting. Children see writing as an independent skill purposeful to their learning. Writing is all around and not just confined to the writing area. We promote the writing of:

  • Lists
  • Cards
  • Labels
  • Recipes
  • Invites


The children have access to all kinds of mark making materials including:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Paints
  • Making marks in shaving foam, sand and salt
  • Card
  • Post its
  • Glue, scissors, rulers, sharpeners, and rubbers
  • Paper, card, stickers, clip boards, envelopes and books