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Early Years Foundation Stage

Two year olds, Nursery and Reception classes follow the Early Years Foundation Stage: the curriculum for children 0-5 years.

EYFS Curriculum

In Reception we follow the EYFS Framework while extending and enriching the curriculum to meet the bespoke needs of our children. The curriculum consists of seven areas of learning and development which shape our educational programme.

There are three prime areas of learning and development.

Personal, Social and Emotional development (PSE)

Through PSE, we support children to develop self - confidence and independence and to manage their feelings and behaviour. Children are supported to form positive relationships with adults and other children, showing sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others.  Children learn to work in groups and as a member of the whole class.

Physical development

We teach children the importance of physical exercise and healthy eating and help them to  develop self-care skills such as  dressing independently and managing their own hygiene.  We work on developing children’s control and co-ordination enabling them to use a range of equipment and tools such as scissors and construction material. As children develop  fine motor control, they learn to use pens and pencils for writing and form recognisable letters correctly.

Communication and Language

Children are encouraged to listen carefully and attentively in a range of contexts such as following instructions, storytime, in small groups and in whole class learning. Pupils are encouraged to express themselves with a widening vocabulary, tell their own short stories and explain their ideas.

The four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened include:


Through literacy we encourage an enjoyment of reading and writing through immersing pupils in a world of books, stories, songs and rhymes. Through daily phonics teaching, children begin to link sounds and letters. Children are taught the skills of blending and segmenting these sounds which enables them to read, write and understand a range of words, simple sentences and books independently.


Children learn to count reliably from 1-20 and add and subtract to solve problems involving doubling, halving and sharing. Children learn to use mathematical language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time, money and 2D and 3D shapes. They learn to recognise and create pattern. They compare quantities and objects and solve practical problems.

Understanding of the World

Children have an opportunity to find out about the world around them including events in their own lives and in the lives of others. Pupils are able to recognise similarities and differences between themselves and and others, as well as places, objects, materials and living things such as plants and animals. Pupils develop confidence to use a range of ICT devices such as computers, cameras and programmable toys.

Expressive Arts and Design

Children are encouraged to express creative ideas through song, music, dance, art design and imaginative play and role play. Across the year, they develop skill and confidence in using a range of tools and techniques to express their ideas.

Effective learning involves three things:

  • Playing and Exploring
  • Active Learning
  • Creating and thinking critically.

Foundations for future learning

At City of London Primary Academy Islington we see each child as a unique and strive to offer a curriculum that reflects this belief. An important aim of education is to enable young children to express themselves orally with confidence, therefore our skilled EYFS practitioners build children’s confidence to talk using an interesting vocabulary and encourage children to express their preferences giving reasons. They encourage children to ask and answer questions and foster a positive approach to learning, encouraging each child to be ambitious, to have a go and to keep trying hard so that they learn to persevere to solve problems and succeed.  In the EYFS we set the foundations for future learning, developing the key skills of Literacy and Numeracy, communication, working collaboratively, and thinking critically.

Self-initiated and adult-led learning

Children follow a play- based, structured curriculum which offers a blend of purposeful play, self-initiated and adult- led activities, all of which provide intellectual stimulus and challenge - both inside and outside of the classroom.

The Importance of Play

Through purposeful play, children have regular opportunities to explore, learn and make sense of the world. They practice and build up ideas, develop self-control, build social skills and understand the need for rules. A well organised classroom with clear routines and structures creates a safe and secure environment in which children grow in confidence to become independent learners. 

Children learn best through practical experiences. Each day there are inspiring workshop opportunities for children to express themselves creatively through selecting resources and designing and making things to support their learning. Being active and healthy are important goals so children are encouraged to participate in physical activities everyday such as cycling, climbing, taking part in co-operative parachute play and playing ball games.

Teacher led Activities

Directed activities are linked to themes and topics and throughout the day, children are grouped for direct teaching sessions, either as a whole class or in groups, for English, maths and phonics.

The curriculum will be broad and balanced and linked to child centred themes and topics:


At the end of Reception, pupils are assessed against the 17 Early Learning Goals (ELGs). Our highly skilled Reception practitioners carefully monitor and track pupil progress towards these goals, using the DFE document ‘Development Matters’, which breaks each goal down into age bands. We use teacher assessment to inform future planning and to tailor the curriculum to meet the bespoke needs of groups and where appropriate, individuals. Personalised learning, through the provision of carefully targeted group work and additional support optimises pupil progress and attainment. 

We expect some of our pupils to exceed the ELG and as such we provide enrichment activities to challenge learning at a greater depth encouraging children to apply their learning fluently in new and different contexts.

Assessment is on-going and based on regular observations of pupils. In this way we build a picture of pupils over time and capture their special talents, skills and achievements in an annotated profile book.

Mathematical Development

In Reception we focus on ensuring children have an excellent understanding of the basic concepts of number and a real world understanding of maths through shape, space, and measurement. We intend to introduce a systematic maths programme based on Singapore Maths - this follows a Concrete › Pictorial › Abstract approach enabling children to encounter mathematics in a meaningful way through concrete activities before progressing to pictorial and abstract representations. Singapore Maths emphasises problem solving and comprehension, encouraging pupils to make connections in their learning. Pupils learn to think mathematically as opposed to merely reciting formulas and procedures. Across the school, new mathematical concepts are introduced through a spiral progression that builds on concepts skills and knowledge already taught. Through hands on tasks and meaningful activities, pupils will actively engage in learning and find maths inspiring and fun. 

Click here to read about our approach to Phonics and Early Reading

Home school links

Children learn best when parents are involved in their children’s education and we strive to work collaboratively with parents and carers and very much welcome the involvement of parents in the classroom. Our class teachers and teaching assistants carefully plan the children’s induction so that they settle quickly and flourish. We will run regular workshops, meetings and offer informal drop-ins to foster strong links between home and school.

Our six half-termly topics are taught across the year and cover the 7 areas of learning:




Autumn 1

Marvellous Me

Children use positive language to describe themselves and others, to express likes/ dislikes and say what they are good at. Children develop good colour mixing skills to paint their own portraits and share their special celebrations including birthdays. We explore ways of being healthy through exercise and develop independent skills in dressing. Team work is important so we think about ways of helping ourselves and others to learn and how to be a good friend.

Autumn 2

Caring and sharing

Through the text Bog Baby, the children explore the themes of love, friendship and caring. We explore ‘who cares for me?’ and we continue to develop health and self-care skills. The children investigate ‘people who help us’ with a focus on pets and vets. We conclude the term with Christmas extending our thinking about who cared for the special baby born at Christmas.

Spring 1


The children investigate: What is a home? They explore local houses and compare homes around the world and from different times. We investigate animal homes, thinking about the differences between domestic and wild animals. Using a range of materials, children build their own homes. Through our text, Toys in Space, we introduce a fantasy element – Hoctopize’s home is a space ship!

Spring 2

All Creatures Great and Small

In response to the text, pupils use their problem-solving skills to outwit the burglars and save the farmer’s prize cow. They compose a new story ending and design a board game in which the burglars must start at the farm entrance and overcome obstacles to reach the prize cow. Children visit a city farm to deepen their knowledge of farm animals. Using Bee Bots, the children programme the toys to follow the burglars’ route.

Summer 1



In this topic, pupils retell and re-enact the story using drama, role play, props and puppets - developing clarity of speech and expression. They compose and dramatise different story endings and think philosophically about whether Jack was correct to take the giant’s belongings. They explore a range of different animal and plant life cycles and are challenged to design an egg box for the golden eggs.

Summer 2

Food Glorious Food

Children love creating their own disgusting and healthy sandwiches. They dramatize what the slug does on this quest and they innovate to write their own versions of the story. Pupils plan and run a healthy food fare inviting friends and family. Cooking offers rich opportunities to incorporate maths, e.g. handling data to show the most favourite sandwich filling, measuring and counting.