EYFS Curriculum

The Early Years Experience at Greengate Lane Academy


‘As part of the Astrea renewed strategy there is a clear commitment to the Early Years in that we do not want children to catch up. We want to give them a head start which is why there is a focus on ensuring excellence in all of our Early Years settings.’   

Our aim is to provide the best Early Years education for all children so that each and every child has an equal chance of success.







How will the curriculum be suitable for children, their families and the local community?

We are following the Early Years Framework and Development Matters to fulfil our statutory obligations. All seven areas of learning are planned for.

At Greengate Lane, children come into the Early Years with limited spoken language and vocabulary and we narrow the word gap through conversation, story-telling and word play. We know that ‘the development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development’ (Julian Grenier) so language acquisition is carefully considered at all planning stages, including practitioners’ in the moment planning.

The curriculum has been mapped out to reflect the children’s world and to build on their experiences, with a focus on seasonal change, their local community and the community of our school. This would not be possible without ‘a well-planned learning environment, both indoor and outdoor’ that is safe, nurturing, builds on their own life experiences and challenges each and every one of them to reach their full potential.

There will be a real focus teaching knowledge and sparking children’s interests through mini projects following children’s interests.

We are aware of the principles of cognitive science and early childhood and brain development. There will be the opportunity to activate prior learning before introducing new concepts. Children will be encouraged to recall what they have previously learnt and links will be made between learning that has happened before and new learning.

We believe that ‘depth in early learning is much more important than covering lots of things in a superficial way.’ (Julian Grenier, ‘Working with the reviewed Early Years Foundation Stage: Principles into Practice’)

We are confident that, through the curriculum that we have designed, all children will be given the opportunity to gain the ‘skills and competencies’ to be ‘school ready’.


At Greengate Lane, the children in the Early Years will learn through a range of different approaches such as: children-initiated play, guided learning within children’s play, effective adult modelling throughout the environment and direct teaching. However, a child-centred approach to learning is of paramount importance to us.

Our environment has been carefully planned so that it is the ‘third teacher’ (Reggio Emilia). It is a calm and welcoming environment designed to reduce cognitive overload by using open-ended and natural resources whilst also embracing the modern world that we live in. It is important that the environment is a communication-friendly space that allows the children to be independent and follow their own interests.

Our approach at Greengate Lane is designed to facilitate good physical health as well as developmentally appropriate personal, social and emotional health. We will actively encourage overall health and well-being. To support personal, social and emotional health, we will use the Thrive approach because it supports healthy brain development as well as self-regulation and executive function.

Each child’s sense of self is important to us. We use the characteristics of effective learning to support learning behaviours and meta-cognition within the setting.


Children will be assessed in a variety of different ways: Autumn baseline, observations from a range of adults, teacher judgement and moderation. At the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage children will be assessed against the 17 Early Learning Goals, as set out in the statutory framework.

Our use of the Seesaw app will enable effective recording of individual children’s observations which will lead to the identification of next steps. The use of this app will also reduce burdensome paperwork and will enable staff to spend maximum time with the children.

Early Years staff will be knowledgeable about children’s next steps so that their interactions are purposeful and effective and progress is maximised.

There will be a constant cycle of reflection and evaluation to ensure that the newly planned curriculum is effective children and the next phase of their learning. We recognise that planning is not rigid and will need to adapted depending on children’s responses.  We will also look at a range of formative and assessments, in line with Greengate Lane assessment procedures, to inform our future planning.

Good relationships with families are important to us at Greengate Lane. We believe that ‘the help that parents give their children at home has a very significant impact on their learning’ (Julian Grenier) which is why we will be using Seesaw as a home-school link and also inviting parents in regularly to gain feedback from them and also inform our next steps. Additionally, at Greengate Lane we offer parents from FS1 children to take part in the Family Literacy Project which aims to make improvements to early literacy within the home and ultimately in school as well as for the rest of a child’s life.

We recognise that if all of our work is successful, the progress that the children will make from baseline assessment to the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile will be above the national average. In addition to this, and most importantly, our children will be confident, self-aware learners with a wide-ranging vocabulary. They will have experienced success and reached their full potential. They will feel safe, nurtured and loved and know how to respect others and be excellent citizens within our community.

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