Early Years

Early Years

At Church of the Ascension we strongly believe that a child’s time in the Foundation Stage is one of the most important times in school as this develops the whole foundation for their learning and development. The staff in the Reception classes spend a lot of time nurturing and caring for the children and trying to make school an exciting and enjoyable experience.

There are seven main areas of learning and development which we focus upon.

These areas are split into three prime areas which are fundamental to support development in all other areas.

These are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

Further specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.

These are:

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

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned purposeful play and through a mix of adult led and child initiated activities. Play is an essential part of a child’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems and relate to others. The children learn by leading their own play and taking part in play that is led by adults. Then as children move further through their time in Reception and get older, the balance will gradually shift to more activities led by adults to prepare for more formal learning in Year 1.

The progress children have made by the end of the Foundation Stage is defined by the Early Learning Goals.

The Early Learning Goals are set out within the prime areas:

Communication and Language

  • Listening, Attention & Understanding
  • Speaking

Physical Development

  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Self Regulation
Managing Self
Building Relationships

And the specific areas:


  • Comprehension
  • Word Reading
  • Writing


  • Number
  • Numerical Patterns

Understanding of the World

  • Past and Present
  • People, Culture and Communities
  • The Natural World

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Creating with materials
  • Being imaginative and expressive

Throughout their time in the Foundation Stage our pupils engage with other people and their environment and are encouraged to play and explore, be active learners and create and think critically. These characteristics underpin learning and development across all areas and support our pupils to remain effective, motivated and successful learners.