The EYFS curriculum meets the requirements set out in the revised National Curriculum at Foundation Stage. The curriculum focuses on Early Learning Goals (ELG) and the Development Matters.

Pedagogy and Environment

Children at Willows Academy learn through both adult directed and child-initiated learning. We use observations of the children and communication with parents, to plan enhancements to provision and adult led activities tailored to the needs and interests of the children. We ensure all provision supports the children’s next steps in their learning but also engages them through their interests.

Throughout all aspects of the school day, children are enhancing their communication and language development. Our environment is enriched with language which is modelled and used by practitioners. Our practitioners sensitively intervene in a child’s play to develop this play in line with the Development Matters.

Our environment is child centred, and children independently access resources to support their play and learning. Children develop skills from PSED (Personal, Social, and Emotional Development) to mark making (Pre-Writing) in every area of the environment and staff are skilled in using effective questioning to further develop this.

Our outdoor environment is an extension of the classroom where children can further develop their learning. The outdoor water area encourages transferring water using guttering and stands, this develops the skills used inside of pouring between containers. Chalks are available for large mark making opportunities on the floor, and vertically on the chalkboard wall.

EY Reading Enhanced Curriculum (REC)

The EYFS Reading Enhanced Curriculum (REC) is centred around the love of books and the importance of reading and vocabulary development. It has been developed in line with the national EYFS curriculum 2021.

Books have been carefully selected to progress throughout the year linking to our ‘Top 30 Reads’. Each half term, a key text drives the learning theme, covering topics from “It’s all about you…” to “Born to be wild…”. Supporting texts further enhance this learning by connecting fiction, non-fiction, and British Values. Activities are developed across areas of learning over several weeks.

The EY REC contains ambitious links to strategies such as, Talk for Writing, Mastering the Curriculum (Maths), and the Launchpad for Literacy Pre-Phonics programme with the intention of preparing children well for Reception and beyond. The needs of all children have been carefully considered when setting this ambition. The length of books and difficulty of texts progress over the year to promote Reception readiness.

Cross curricular links provide plentiful opportunities for children to explore, test out and revisit a broad range of purposeful, engaging and deliberately chosen content across areas of learning.

Connections are made throughout the EYFS curriculum to children’s wider personal development. For example, teaching children about relationships, friendships, and friendly bodies links to our JIGSAW (PSHE and RSE programme).


RWI is our chosen phonics scheme. Those children that join our Nursery are able to begin those first steps in phonics and this is further developed as they move into Reception.

At the start of the year, we utilise the “Launchpad for Literacy” program to support pre-phonic development by providing young children with language and literacy skills. Through engaging activities and interactive lessons, children build essential skills in listening, speaking, and early reading, preparing them for successful phonics learning. This program aims to foster a love for reading and effective communication from an early age.

As the year progresses, children meet ‘Fred the frog’ who helps them progress to the RWI phonics scheme introducing single sounds such as ‘m, mountain’.

How do we teach phonics?

  • We use a simple, consistent approach to teaching phonics.
  • Your child will experience the same classroom routines within each lesson which reduces cognitive load and maximises the chances of success.
  • All children are supported within the lesson to use their new pre-phonic knowledge independently.
  • Daily Launchpad for Literacy Phonics sessions
  • Launchpad for Literacy Phonics activities available through provision to revisit learning.
  • Opportunities for mark making (pre-writing) exploration.


Tapestry is an online, learning journal where practitioners and parents can work collaboratively to highlight the progress, development and personal milestones achieved by children. Practitioners will upload observations of the children at school based on the learning taking place. The observations are then linked to the statements and ages expectations, there are then celebrated with parents too.

Parents can log on to tapestry, view these observations and have a dialogue with practitioners. We feel this important, as it strengthens the communication between school and home. We also encourage parents to upload their own milestones of their children, which can be celebrated in school.

Nursery library

Books are a driver behind most of our learning within the Early Years; we have half-termly books supporting our learning, themed books placed around our classroom, and time for reading for pleasure.

To continue developing the children’s love of reading for pleasure we have set up a classroom library in the cloakroom. There are picture books to encourage your children to talk about what they see and tell their own story, and there are story books which you can read to your child.

We encourage you to look through the books on the shelves and in the baskets and borrow any books that interest you or your child. If you would like to borrow a book from our library, please fill in our library form on the top of the bookshelf and borrow to your hearts content!