Shay Lane Primary School

Early Years Foundation Stage

At Shay Lane Primary School we value the importance of Early Years Education as the beginning of a child’s learning journey throughout school. Our mixed Nursery and Reception Foundation Stage Unit is made up of a 52 place nursery (26 places in a morning and 26 places in an afternoon) and a Reception class.

Reception Class

Miss E Whipp - Class Teacher / Early Years Leader

Mrs White - Teaching Assistant

Mrs Kent - Teaching Assistant

Mrs Cassell- Teaching Assistant


Miss D Wadsworth - Class Teacher

Miss Smith - Teaching Assistant

Our vision

At Shay Lane we recognise that it is a privilege to support children on the start of their lifelong learning journey. We strive to provide a nurturing, safe and secure learning environment where children are excited to come to school. We understand the importance of building strong relationships with our children, parents, carers and our wider community. This encourages independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.


We follow these key principles:

·        Shay Lane Foundation Unit is a ‘magical’ learning community where children come first.

·        We have the highest aspirations and expectations for all our children - every child strives to be the best they can be.

·        Children are supported to become active learners, to be inquirers, independent, creative, risk-takers, ambitious and to constantly persevere.

·        We are committed to promoting pupil agency (children’s voice in how they learn) through developing metacognition (developing own thought process).

·        We provide an enabling learning environment where quality interactions are valued and positive relationships are formed between pupils, practitioners, parents and the wider community.


‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high-quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.’


People Who Help Us

The foundation stage recieved a visit from the police! The police officers shared how they help others and discussed the important features of their uniform. With help from the wider community, reception and nursery took on the role of police officers in their very own police station in our outdoor environment. 

Balancing Bikes

Proride came into our school and taught the children how to ride balancing bikes! Reception thoroughly enjoyed this experience. 

Curriculum and Planning

Within the Foundation Stage, we have developed our curriculum to prepare our children for Key Stage 1 across all subject areas. We have carefully constructed learning opportunities, which are underpinned by The Early Years Framework (2021). The learning intentions are also informed by a thorough knowledge of child development enhanced by reference to the ‘Development Matters’ document.

The three Prime Areas are – Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

The four Specific Areas are – Literacy (Reading & Writing), Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.


The three prime areas form the building blocks for learning and underpin our curriculum across all areas. Good development in all of these areas is essential for all other learning to take place. We pride ourselves on the promotion and development of PSED and Communication and Language so that children can go on through school to reach their full potential. We develop Communication and Language through quality interactions in our provision.


Key principles when adults interact with children:

·        Back and forth interactions;

·        Comment on what children are doing;

·        Echoing back what children say with new vocabulary added;

·        The use of objects and pictures for non-verbal children;

·        Taking turns and waiting for a child to respond;

·        Positive body language;

·        Facial expressions;

·        Use of actions;

·        Adapting language to meet the needs of individual children;

·        join in with children’s play and comment, repeat back, wonder aloud and add new words to develop their language.

We take great pride in our quality adult interactions in our Foundation Stage Unit. 

We provide a balanced curriculum which incorporates child-initiated learning through play, adult-led focus groups and whole class teaching. We promote independence, confidence and a love of learning as well as the necessary knowledge and skills which will prepare the children for moving up into Key Stage One.

Year 1 Transition Morning

We do our upmost to work with parents and see them as partners in their child’s early education. We rely on information about a child’s interests and achievements at home in order to build up a holistic view of each child and refine their next steps of learning.

RWI Reception Parent Meeting 


Stay and Play

Sponsored Rhyme 2022-2023

In celebration of National Nursery Rhyme Week, the EYFS team set a sponsored challenge of learning 5 nursery rhymes. The children performed their songs to parents and carers in school. We used the funds to create our very own Shay Lane Outdoor Theatre so our children could perform their favourite nursery rhymes during their allocated provision time. 

We thank all parents and carers for their kind donation.


Sponsored Rhyme 2023-2024

This year, our sponsored challenge was to learn 5 wild weather rhymes! The children practised the rhymes at home and performed them to their parents and carers in school. We used our funds to buy more water proof clothing for the children to go outside in.... we go outside whatever the weather!  

Enabling Environments

At Shay Lane we acknowledge that the environment plays a vital role in supporting and extending the children’s development. We create an attractive, welcoming and stimulating learning environment, which will encourage children to explore, investigate and learn through first-hand experiences.  We also aim to make it a place where children feel secure and confident and are challenged to develop their independence. Activities are planned for both the inside and outside environment.  Children have the freedom to move between the indoor and outdoor classroom during child-initiated learning time.

Children have access to a wide range of equipment including construction materials, role play equipment, small world, sand and water equipment, art materials, musical instruments, ICT equipment, mark making materials, counting equipment, books, larger outdoor equipment and specialist PE equipment. All areas are carefully planned to reflect learning needs, the theme and children’s interests.

All children and adults are expected to take responsibility for the care of and use of resources and the environment and we believe that supporting the children and helping them to look after and respect their environment is a very important part of a child’s development.  We encourage children to tidy up as they go through the day and we also have ‘Tidy Up Time’ before lunch and at the end of the day as this offers a valuable opportunity for talking, reading, problem solving, reasoning, counting and sorting activities.

Outdoor Area

Indoor Area

Sensory Room


How the environment supports the curriculum

We believe that developing a learning environment that allows the children to select their own resources is a crucial part of creating independent and curious learners. Adults support the children to select the things they need to follow their interest. Often when a new interest develops the adults will then adapt the environment and resources to support this thread of learning. Children’s achievements are celebrated and next steps carefully planned for.

A long-term plan sets out our intent for the year and we acknowledge that there will be always flexibility within this in order to react to interests and development. Our team produce a weekly plan which outlines the learning intentions to be focused on in each area of learning and show how those activities and experiences will be delivered through ‘Adult Led’ and ‘Child Initiated’ learning opportunities. Planning is therefore constantly developed, adapted and evaluated through ongoing observations of child initiated or spontaneous activity and planned opportunities (indoors and outdoors). Our school’s woodland area, along with the mud kitchen, den making area and bug hotel, is used effectively to support children’s understanding of the world.

Assessment for learning is crucial in response to children’s developmental needs and interests. Practitioners in our setting are confident with the learning intentions each half term and make good use of formative assessment through interactions and observations on a day-to-day basis. We use our school’s ‘Checkpoints’ documents to make a summative assessment of children’s learning outcomes at the end of each term. Our school’s ‘Checkpoints’ have been created with reference to the Development Matters document. 

The EYFS team meet regularly throughout each half term to discuss any topics that arise and use this time to celebrate children’s learning through quality discussions.

We Go Outside, Whatever the Weather!

Our Woodland Area - Forest School Activities 

Independent Learning

In our setting, we use ‘Practice Stations’ as a way of embedding taught learning and encouraging independence when completing activities. Pupils will be encouraged to complete activities/taught skills in the provision, independently. Once completed, the children will put a coloured lollipop stick in their own pot/case. Our children take great pride in their independent learning and enjoy sharing their learning with other pupils and adults in the setting. Our adults heavily model key skills and activities each week.   

Bringing Stories to Life

Dinosaur Sleepover - Pamela Duncan Edwards

Starting Points for Learning in the EYFS

We feel it is important that we provide inspiring starting points for children’s learning which provoke the children to take the lead in their learning.

Starting points each term are as follows:

- Autumn 1 - What makes me special?

- Autumn 2 - How shall we celebrate?

- Spring 1 - Winter wonderland

- Spring 2 - Bears

- Summer 1 - Ready steady grow!

- Summer 2 - Little explorers on the move