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Our approach towards learning

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to five. The EYFS is based upon four principles;
1. A Unique child
2. Positive Relationships
3. Enabling Environments
4. Learning and Development


At Darton Primary School the EYFS principles are underpinned by the ethos of striving for excellence in learning, encouraging a growth mind set in all children and promoting independence and motivation to succeed.


1. A Unique Child:
At Darton Primary School we recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that pupils develop in individual ways, at varying rates. Children's attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement, as well as Celebration Assemblies and rewards to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.


2. Positive Relationships:
Children learn to be resilient and independent from secure relationships. At Darton we aim to develop caring, respectful, professional relationships with children and their families. We recognise that parents are children's first and most enduring educators and we value the contribution they make. We encourage pupils to be independent. This starts at the beginning of the school day. Although parents are welcome into class to discuss any issues, we ask that they support and encourage their child to organise their own belongings and be ready to learn.


3. Enabling Environments:
We recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending pupil’s development. This begins by observing the children and assessing their interests and stage of development before planning challenging yet achievable activities and experiences to extend their learning. The EYFS classrooms are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. The classroom is set up in learning areas, where pupils are able to find out and locate equipment and resources independently. Foundation Stage 1 and 2 have their own enclosed outdoor area. Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors. The provision of a canopy covering some of the outdoor space and all weather clothing ensure it can be used in all weathers.


4.Learning and Developing:
The EYFS states that the characteristics of effective learning are; playing and exploring, active learning, and creativity and critical thinking.
Playing and Exploring
Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own and communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.

Active Learning
At Darton Primary School we have a balance of adult guided activities and child initiated activities.

Daily adult guided activities:

  • Phonics
  • Maths
  • P4C: Philosophy for Children (This offers a way to open up children’s learning through enquiry and the exploration of ideas. Children learn that their ideas have value, and that the ideas of other children have value too. Through Philosophy for Children they realise that they don’t always have to be right, but they gain the confidence to ask questions and learn through discussion. 
  • P.E
  • Daily Whole carpet time (this input changes depending on the topic)

 Active learning occurs when children are motivated and interested. Children need to have some independence and control over their learning and are encouraged to apply their learning within the provision in the classroom in playful ways.

Creativity and Critical Thinking
When children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources, they discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things. Adult support in this process enhances their ability to think critically and ask questions. Children at Darton Primary School will be given the opportunity to be creative through all areas of learning, not just through the arts. Adults will support children's thinking and help them to make connections by showing genuine interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open questions.


The Early Years Foundation Stage at Darton Primary School comprises a FS1 classroom, a FS2 classroom and a mixed FS2/Year1 classroom. 

All children accepted on roll in Foundation Stage 1 start the term after they turn 3. Therefore there are three school intakes in September, January and Easter.  Children are visited at home prior to their starting date as part of our transition arrangements.  If you feel that your child will need any additional support within the school context, or if they already have an identified Special Educational Need, the home visit will be a good opportunity to discuss with visiting staff.  All children accepted on roll in Foundation Stage 2 start school in the September of the school year in which they turn 5.

At times the Foundation Stage will have visiting students or volunteers working in the setting alongside the staff. Other professionals may also work within the setting throughout the year. All parties will have an appropriate DBS check. The Foundation Stage staff work as part of a team and we work as a unit. Pupils from both Foundation Stage 1 and Foundation Stage 2 classes have opportunities to work together during ‘freeflow’ sessions daily, accessing shared continuous provision in the outdoor area. EYFS staff plan and work together to ensure continuity and progression, providing age and stage related activities to suit all our children. Children are taught in a variety of ways; in whole class groups, small group work, pairs and individually.


EYFS Areas of Learning
The Early Years Foundation Stage is a curriculum from birth to five years old. We follow the strands set by this curriculum and concentrate on the learning opportunities on the seven areas of learning (3 Prime and 4 Specific) which are:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development;
  • Communication and Language;
  • Physical Development;
  • Literacy;
  • Mathematics;
  • Understanding the World;
  • Expressive Arts and Design.

In Foundation Stage 1 the main focus is on the 3 Prime Areas of learning and the Characteristics of Effective Learning. In Foundation Stage 2 we build on these areas with more focus on the 4 specific strands. These areas cannot be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important and depend on each other. All areas are delivered through a balance of adult initiated and child initiated activities. Through play and practical experiences children learn about the world and their place in it. They learn through first hand experiences, talk, books and equipment. We set realistic yet challenging expectations that meet the needs of our children.



For each Early Learning Goal teachers will assess whether a child is meeting the level of development expected at the end of the Reception Year (expected) or have not yet reached this level (emerging).

The Early Learning Goals establish expectations for most children to reach by the end of the Foundation stage (i.e. end of Reception year).

For detailed information on the Early Learning Goals, please follow the link below: