Early Years Learning

“In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) all children are making excellent progress consistent with their age and development. By the end of Reception the majority are exceeding many of the Early Learning Goals and some are working to a level two years above their chronological age.

ISI Report 2018


At Ardingly College Prep, the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum provides the foundation for our children’s learning. The curriculum is rich and varied, stimulating curiosity and interest, and honing essential skills for future success.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning

Children’s interaction with their surroundings and the people in it – through playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – are key to their learning and development. These traits underpin learning across all areas and equip the child to become a motivated and successful learner.

  • Playing and Exploring: Our children are encouraged to investigate, experience, and ‘have a go’ at new things.
  • Active Learning: We foster a spirit of resilience in our children. They learn to concentrate, persevere in the face of difficulties, and take pride in their achievements.
  • Creating and Thinking Critically: We encourage our children to think independently, connect ideas, and develop problem-solving strategies.

The Areas of Learning and Development

The prime areas of learning respond rapidly to relationships and experiences, and they underpin learning in all other areas. They remain crucial throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage:

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

The specific areas include key skills and knowledge. They build upon the prime areas and create essential contexts for learning:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

The Early Years curriculum is vibrant, engaging, and centred around the child. Our teaching and learning practices are designed to harness children’s natural curiosity and foster their creativity. Both our indoor and outdoor learning environments are exciting, stimulating, and safe, encouraging a child’s natural inclination to explore and learn. We believe this approach empowers children, giving them agency over their learning and inspiring them to achieve their best.

Our learning environments are set up to provide opportunities for children to engage in both independent and adult-guided activities. We consider play to be an essential tool for delivering the curriculum. Through play, children practice ideas, skills, and concepts; explore and understand the world; collaborate with other children; negotiate and take turns; and experiment without fear of failure. In this nurturing and accepting atmosphere, children learn that it’s okay to make mistakes – they are a natural part of learning and growing.