Early Years

Our highly trained practitioners provide the curriculum which includes the environment, materials, activities and adults working alongside children to promote growth in their social, intellectual, physical and emotional development.

Children have first-hand experiences where they can explore, create and become more independent in doing things for themselves. The learning environment provides rich opportunities for developing communication skills, investigation and children’s creativity. We ensure that children are able to make choices and provide resources that enable them to initiate their own play and learning, with adults supporting them in following their ideas.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning

Across the areas of learning we place great emphasis on developing children’s independence and thinking skills. We also aim to help your child develop skills and attitudes to become a lifelong learner:

  • Children will learn through playing and exploring – showing curiosity, pretending, and being willing to “have a go”

  • They will develop active learning – being involved, concentrating, enjoying challenge and keeping on trying.

  • They will learn about creating and thinking critically – having their own ideas, making links in their thinking and planning ways to do things.

When your child moves to Reception the teacher will continue to plan to this curriculum. It sets out 7 areas of learning and development.

Links to Building Learning Power

Play and Exploration

Finding out and exploring Curiosity – ask questions, use imagination, find other ways, see things that fit together

Playing with what they know Thinking – think about what is known and how it will help them

Being willing to have a go Don’t worry if you make a mistake*

Learning – take turns, listen to each other, work well together, work well alone

Active Learning

Being involved and concentrating Stickability – good concentration

Keep trying Stickability – make mistakes; try, try, try again

Enjoy achieving what they set out to do.

Learning – take turns, listen to each other, work well together, work well alone

Creating and Thinking Critically

Having their own ideas Thinking – think about what to do and how to do it, think about what is being learnt, think about what is known and how it will help (application), look and listen carefully.

Making links Curiosity – ask questions, use imagination, find other ways, see things that fit together

Choosing ways to do things Thinking – think about what you know

Learning – take turns, listen to each other, work well together, work well alone

Prime Areas

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

  • Having respect for other people

  • Forming positive relationships

  • Having confidence in your own abilities

  • Being an individual and belonging to a community

  • Becoming able to express and manage your feelings

  • Becoming independent and helping others

  • Having feelings of wonder and joy

  • Sharing and celebrating special times and events

  • Discovering more about self regulation

Physical Development

  • Developing co-ordination, control and movement

  • Building stamina and strength

  • Learning to move in various ways

  • Manipulating tools and materials

  • Making healthy choices with food and exercise

Communication and Language

  • Developing confidence and skills in expressing yourself

  • Talking, listening, discussing and recalling

  • Play in a rich language environment to develop vocabulary

Talking With Your Children

Specific Areas


  • Enjoying stories – telling them and making them up

  • Comprehending and understanding stories - including language comprehension

  • Enjoying books

  • Enjoying and noticing patterns in rhymes, poems, songs and word play

  • Making marks which carry meaning, pre-writing shapes and letter shapes using the Bluecoat Script

  • Writing for different purposes

  • Decoding to read (segmenting and blending)

  • Segmenting to spell


  • Understanding and using numbers

  • Counting, sorting, matching, seeking patterns (including numerical patterns), recognising relationships

  • Noticing connections

  • Making simple calculations

  • Exploring and comparing shapes, quantities, weight etc

  • Finding ways to solve mathematical problems

  • Using maths language

  • Representing mathematical ideas in pictures and drawings as well as with symbols and numbers

Understanding the World

  • Finding out about people, culture, communities, places, technology and the environment

  • Observing closely the surrounding world and processes

  • Finding out about the past and present

  • Exploring, experimenting and having ideas

  • Experiencing and changing materials

  • Finding out and experiencing the natural world

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Representing and communicating your ideas through music, dance, art, role play, imagination, language

  • Having original ideas and thoughts

  • Imagining and creating

  • Planning, making and designing things

  • Being imaginative and expressive

Self Regulation

At Bluecoat we know the importance of self regulation. As a team of teachers and researchers, we have thought carefully about how to support children in managing these skills. This involves ‘in the moment’ teaching when situations arise and also specific skills teaching at other calmer times.

To support children, and to create a consistent approach, we have developed a number characters to use when talking to children about self regulation, calming and coping strategies.

Self regulation Parent Carer booklet.pdf

To find out more about the characters and ways in which you can support your children at home, please see the above file.

Useful Links

Hungry Little Minds offers simple and fun activities for children, from newborn to five

Book Trust UK transforms lives by getting children and families reading.

Early Years Reform - Oct 2021

For more information in to the Early Years Reform - October 2021.

Talking With Your Children