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Foundation Stage

In the Reception classes we aim to create a stimulating environment where all the children can develop warm and secure relationships with adults and peers. This is achieved by providing a place where the children can explore, experiment, observe and discover the world around them. We want them to develop confidence, independence and an awareness and respect of themselves and others.


We hope, within this secure environment, to help the children to become independent learners capable of making choices and decisions for themselves. We shall provide opportunities for challenge; to be creative; to be imaginative; and to be able to explore the new and the familiar with equal confidence.


Many of you will know that reception year is part of the Foundation Stage. The Foundation Stage is a distinct period of education with its own “early learning goals”. Most children should be able to reach these by the end of this stage. Foundation prepares children for the work of the National Curriculum in key stage 1.


The curriculum within the Early Years Foundation Stage is planned around four main themes:


A Unique Child

Positive Relationships

Enabling Environments

Learning and Development


Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and Self-assured.



Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person

The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning

Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected



Three Prime Areas

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Communication & Language

Physical Development

There are seven areas of Learning and Development

Four Specific Areas



Understanding the World

Expressive Arts & Design


The seven areas of Learning and Development are further divided into strands, and children’s progression is recorded in order to support and encourage them throughout their journey. The goals are designed to be achieved by children in a fun and enjoyable way, so there’s no pressure on them and it won’t feel like hard work. Some of the activities used to help boost the Early Learning Goals are group activities, such as singing, sharing stories, doing arts and crafts, physical activities or music and dance. On other occasions, children may be able to play and learn individually on their own, whilst supported by teachers and experienced care workers.


The overall aim is to give children a good early education start in life, in a supportive and helpful environment, and to promote the idea that learning is fun.

The Foundation Stage Profile


When they reach the end of the Foundation Stage, which is when they’re five years old and getting to the end of their time in reception class at school, an assessment of their progress is made. This is called the Foundation Stage Profile.


No formal exam or test-like assessment is involved in compiling the Foundation Stage Profile. Instead, the teachers record details of your child’s achievements throughout the six areas of learning (the Early Learning Goals). This is based on the teacher’s observations of your child’s activities during the time they’ve spent in their reception class. For parents, it provides a useful summary of your child’s achievements so far.


Childhood is important and here at St. Matthew’s we want all our children to have enjoyable and satisfying childhood experiences. It is these important early experiences that affect our children’s attitudes to learning and create the foundations for their later learning in school and beyond.