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Early Years Curriculum

The Early Years Curriculum is informed by the Statutory Early Years Framework.

At Heston Primary School our Curriculum is underpinned by the Early Years Framework and has utilised non-statutory guidance from Development Matters and Birth to 5 Matters to ensure that our offer is broad and balanced.

Curriculum Intent

At Heston Primary School we hold ourselves accountable for ensuring that children make rapid and meaningful progress over time that leads to positive outcomes, regardless of starting points. We aim to support children in overcoming barriers to learning through excellent provision, communication, teaching practice, positive relationships and use of assessments to provide timely and appropriate interventions. We appreciate that success for each learner may look different. We promote a love of learning, celebrating all progress. Learning skills are nurtured and children are encouraged to become increasingly self-aware and autonomous in their learning. Ultimately, we see learning as a skill for life, and aim to prepare our students for the next stages of their education.

Our Rationale has been informed by the EYFS Statutory Programme’s overarching principles:

  • Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient,
    capable, confident and self-assured
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and
    support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and
    help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  • Importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at
    different rates.


Development Matters priorities:

Heston Implementation:

  1. The best for every child

• All children deserve to have an equal chance of success.
• High-quality early education is important for all children. It is especially important for
children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
• When they start school, children from disadvantaged backgrounds are, on
average, 4 months1 behind their peers. We need to do more to narrow that gap.
• Children who have lived through difficult experiences can begin to grow stronger
when they experience high quality early education and care.
• High-quality early education and care is inclusive. Children’s special educational
needs and disabilities (SEND) are identified quickly. All children promptly receive
any extra help they need, so they can progress well in their learning

  • High expectations for all
  • Support in place disadvantaged families
  • Sharing of best practice ensures high quality provision is maintained
  • Weekly in-house training of EY staff ensures highly skilled team
  • Training for SEND provision and inclusion
  • Sensory room
  • Assessment informs meaningful interventions
  • Clarity in next steps
  1. High-quality care

• The child’s experience must always be central to the thinking of every
• Babies, toddlers and young children thrive when they are loved and well cared
• High-quality care is consistent. Every practitioner needs to enjoy spending time
with young children.
• Effective practitioners are responsive to children and babies. They notice when a
baby looks towards them and gurgles and respond with pleasure.
• Practitioners understand that toddlers are learning to be independent, so they will
sometimes get frustrated.
• Practitioners know that starting school, and all the other transitions in the early
years, are big steps for small children.

  • Child voice is promoted through Learning to Learn
  • Planning is designed to be highly stimulating and exciting for learners
  • Positive relationships are maintained throughout the setting
  • Practitioners are responsive to children’s ever changing needs
  • Supportive staff are sensitive to the needs and feelings of children and families

3. The curriculum: what we want children to learn

• The curriculum is a top-level plan of everything the early years setting wants the
children to learn.
• Planning to help every child to develop their language is vital.
• The curriculum needs to be ambitious. Careful sequencing will help children to
build their learning over time.
• Young children’s learning is often driven by their interests. Plans need to be
• Babies and young children do not develop in a fixed way. Their development is
like a spider’s web with many strands, not a straight line.
• Depth in early learning is much more important than covering lots of things in a
superficial way.

  • This rationale, in conjunction with our year overview, topic webs and curriculum overview documents comprise our EY curriculum. We have considered everything we want our students to learn, alongside the statutory guidance, development matters.
  • Language development is a key priority. We have an oracy lead to support development in this area.
  • The year overview demonstrates our ambitious and clearly sequenced curriculum.

4. Pedagogy: helping children to learn

• Children are powerful learners. Every child can make progress in their learning
with the right help.
• Effective pedagogy is a mix of different approaches. Children learn through play,
by adults modelling, by observing each other, and through guided learning and
direct teaching.
• Practitioners carefully organise enabling environments for high-quality play.
Sometimes, they make time and space available for children to invent their own
play. Sometimes, they join in to sensitively support and extend children’s
• Children in the early years also learn through group work, when practitioners
guide their learning.
• Older children need more of this guided learning.
• A well-planned learning environment, indoors and outside, is an important aspect
of pedagogy.

  • We aim to ensure all children make rapid and meaningful progress in their learning, providing support to meet our high expectations.
  • We utilise a range of teaching techniques. Staff receive weekly training to ensure high quality interactions are consistent.
  • A high quality learning environment is maintained.
  • Group activities and problem solving tasks feature within our practice.
  • Reception teaching aims to provide increasing guided learning in preparation for Year 1.
  • Both the inside and outside learning areas are well planned and maintained to facilitate learning in line with weekly learning intentions.

5. Assessment: checking what children have learnt

• Assessment is about noticing what children can do and what they know. It is not
about lots of data and evidence.
• Effective assessment requires practitioners to understand child development.
Practitioners also need to be clear about what they want children to know and be
able to do.
• Accurate assessment can highlight whether a child has a special educational
need and needs extra help.
• Before assessing children, it’s a good idea to think about whether the
assessments will be useful.
• Assessment should not take practitioners away from the children for long periods
of time.

  • Data analysis informs timely interventions and is used to evaluate their effectiveness
  • On Tapestry, evidence requires a SMART next step; ensuring that evidence and is being used as a meaningful tool that enables progress
  • Reflection on the Leuven Scales of Involvement informs whether observations will be purposeful.
  • Children are involved in collecting evidence for assessment through Learning to Learn.

6. Self-regulation and executive function

• Executive function includes the child’s ability to:
o hold information in mind
o focus their attention
o regulate their behaviour
o plan what to do next.
• These abilities contribute to the child’s growing ability to self-regulate:
o focus their thinking
o monitor what they are doing and adapt
o regulate strong feelings
o be patient for what they want
o bounce back when things get difficult.
• Language development is central to self-regulation: children use language to
guide their actions and plans. Pretend play gives many opportunities for children
to focus their thinking, persist and plan ahead.

  • Learning to Learn brings the Characteristics of Effective Learning into daily practice.
  • Children learn the skills needed to be effective learners.
  • SOLO Taxonomy informs daily reading sessions which include a focus on language development
  • Staff receive training on working memory development
  • Role play and small world areas are integral to our inside and outside learning areas.

7. Partnership with parents

• It is important for parents and early years settings to have a strong and respectful
partnership. This sets the scene for children to thrive in the early years.
• This includes listening regularly to parents and giving parents clear information
about their children’s progress.
• The help that parents give their children at home has a very significant impact on
their learning.
• Some children get much less support for their learning at home than others. By
knowing and understanding all the children and their families, settings can offer
extra help to those who need it most.
• It is important to encourage all parents to chat, play and read with their children.

  • Parents are encouraged to participate in school learning and share home achievements through the use of Tapestry.
  • Parent uploads to Tapestry are responded to with a SMART next step in order to continue learning at home.
  • Parents are offered training by the EY lead.
  • Investment into reading systems that can be used at home
  • EY staff work hard to develop positive relationships and open communication with families.
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