Foundation Stage - Nursery and Reception

The Foundation Stage is the curriculum used by the nursery and the reception classes. It has 7 areas of learning and is split into 2 sections. The first 3 areas of learning are the Prime Areas and consist of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. The next 4 areas are the Specific Areas and consist of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. 

Here at St Matthew's School we believe that early years education gives children strong foundations for their future learning.

Our curriculum recognises that all children are unique and learn in different ways and have different needs. Therefore we provide the children with the opportunities to learn inside and outside, whatever the weather, time to learn with an adult and time to pursue their own learning and interests. We believe that children should develop their independence and confidence in an atmosphere of fun, support, encouragement and challenge. We help children to develop confidence and a love of learning by:

  • providing a range of planned and child initiated opportunities based on their needs and interests.
  • increasing and developing their self-esteem, knowledge and skills by following the framework of the 'Early Years Foundation Stage'.
  • continuously observing and monitoring each child in order to plan activities which help individuals learn and develop
  • providing a purposeful, safe, stimulating, and caring environment.
  • promoting respect for each other and our beliefs and culture and for the world in which we live
  • promoting their independence and encouraging all children to have the confidence to do things for themselves.

To meet the aims of the early years, we:

Personal, Social

and Emotional Development


and Language




  • Give each child a positive self image to boost their self esteem.
  • Make each child aware that they are a valued member of their class, and St Matthew's School
  • Enable each child to develop and make relationships with both other children and adults
  • Help each child to be self-confident, independent and know what their own needs are
  • Help each child to foster a love of learning.
  • Ensure all children have daily opportunities to talk confidently and clearly and communicate in a range of situations including 1:1, small and large group times.
  • Extend the range of vocabulary and communication skills the children use through planned activities and child initiated learning.
  • Enjoy listening to stories, songs and poems.
  • Ensure there are plentiful opportunities both inside and outside for each child to develop, practise and consolidate their fine and gross motor skills.
  • Provide access to activities that allow children to gain an understanding of how their bodies work and what they need to do to keep themselves healthy and safe.
  • Provide quality resources, space and large school grounds to enable children to move confidently, control their body and handle big and small apparatus an equipment.




Understanding the World

Expressive Arts

and Design

  • Provide a range of enjoyable big and small mark making opportunities both indoors and outdoors.
  • Talk about pictures, listen to stories, see a broad range of words and texts and experience a rich variety of fact and fiction books
  • Encourage a love of books through book share Friday where children get the opportunity to share books and story props with their parents/carers
  • Provide quality teaching, resources and planned activities to allow children to explore, talk about, practise and develop an understanding of maths through stories, songs, games and during their play.
  • Help children to be comfortable and confident with numbers and concepts such as 'heavier than' or 'bigger'
  • Support children's understanding of shape and space using resources and the wider environment
  • Give opportunities to explore and ask questions about the world around them
  • Provide opportunities for children to make decisions, experiment, predict, plan and build using a variety of materials.
  • Allow children to explore a range of technology including remote control cars, Beebots, MP3 players and cash registers
  • Support children's understanding about past and present events.
  • Celebrate and begin to understand different cultures and beliefs
  • Provide opportunities for children to explore a range of mixed media to express their thoughts and ideas.
  • Allow children to listen to and respond to music, expressing their feelings through dance and movement.
  • Encourage children to develop their imagination using a variety of role play opportunities both inside and outside



Partnership with Parents and Carers

We acknowledge that parents are the children's first and on-going educators. We believe that children learn best when there is a strong home-school link and a good communication between parents and teachers.

At St Matthew's we:

  • Home visit all our children prior to starting at Nursery to lay the foundations for a good relationship and to develop a sense of trust.
  • Invite parents/carers into Nursery to celebrate and share special events with us.
  • Celebrate books with a "Book Share" - a time for all parents/ carers to share books and stories with their children in school.
  • Enjoy sharing your child's progress during parent consultation evenings, informal conversations, learning journeys and written reports.