Early Years

The aim of our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is to lay a strong foundation for every child to develop a lifelong love of learning, where your child is at the centre of our high quality practice. We carefully consider the needs of your child including their physical, social and emotional wellbeing, health, and learning. At Castleward Spencer Academy we plan a wide range of learning opportunities using the Development Matters, which enables all children to make excellent progress towards the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) by the end of FS2.

During the foundation stage, our primary aim at Castleward Spencer Academy is to enable all children to become effective learners. We know that in order for children to be independent learners, they must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Therefore, learning opportunities are always meaningful for your child, so that they can use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes will support every child to learn well and make good progress during their time in the EYFS at our school.

The Early Years Foundation Stage consists of seven areas of learning divided into three ‘Prime’ areas and four ‘Specific’ areas.

The prime areas are:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language


The specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design


The Characteristics of Effective Learning are also an important component of the EYFS curriculum at Castleward Spencer Academy. They describe factors which play a central role in a child’s learning and in becoming an effective learner. These are skills which will stay with them beyond the Foundation Stage and support their transition to Year One. They underpin all seven areas of learning and development.

The Three Characteristics of Effective Learning are:

  • Playing and Exploring- Engagement
  • Active Learning- Motivation
  • Creating and Thinking Critically- Thinking


Daily learning opportunities are planned for your child in the above curriculum areas and to develop competencies towards the Characteristics of Effective Learning, by experienced teachers and teaching assistants. They carefully consider the individual needs and interests of the children. Our aim is to provide learning experiences in play, which reflect your child’s interests and motivations, while meeting the needs of their different learning styles. We learn inside and outdoors each day, utilising our high-quality resources and exquisite learning environments.