Early Years Education


At St Vincent's Nursery we adhere to the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundations Stage (EYFS) curriculum which sets the standards and requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape the educational programmes in early years’ settings.

These three fundamental areas, known as the prime areas, are:

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


Building on the prime areas, children must also be supported in four specific areas:

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


Within each area of learning there are 'Early Learning Goals'. These goals are what most children are expected to achieve at the end of their Reception year. The curriculum guidance for they EYFS lays down a 'stepping stone' approach to the goals which allows children to work towards them at their own pace, taking teh next step when they are ready. Children will achieve these goals primarily through play and following their own interests. 

Our team receive in-depth training on the implementation of the Early Years Foundation Stage, both through attending external courses and during in-house coaching and supervision sessions. Using our knowledge of individual children, their level of development and their interests, our highly-skilled practitioners plan activities and experiences to ensure that good or excellent progress is made by each child in reaching the early learning goals.


Characteristics of effective teaching and learning are at the heart of how children learn. In planning and guiding children's activities our practitioners reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. The three characteristics of effective learning are:

  • Playing and Exploring - children investigate and experience things, and learn to 'have a go'
  • Active Learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • Creating and Thinking Critically - children have a develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things

Characteristics of effective learning focus on how the children learn, rather than what they learn, i.e. process over outcome. At St Vincent's Nursery, we ensure that our children receive the right support and encouragement so that they become creative and adventurous learners throughout their lives through providing safe, nurturing and enabling environment but without forgetting that children are individuals who bring their own needs, talents and histories to their way of learning.


At St Vincent's Nursery, our practitioners support children's learning and development through 'in the moment' planning; they skilfully observe and wait for a moment in which they feel they can make a difference to a child's play and develop their learning further, through interacting to 'teach', rather than interacting to 'interfere'. These interactions, we believe, form the most significant teaching moments.