First Federation Trust
'I have been fortunate to work across many, many schools across the years and I can conclude with confidence that the EYFS environment at Gatehouse is one of the best I have seen. The children have a vast outdoor area within which they can explore and develop as learners, but within the safety of the area being fully fenced. There is also a solid outdoor canopy which covers a third of the area, meaning the children are outside all year round. It is wonderful to see the provision provided by the adults, both inside and outside to meet the needs and the inquisitive minds of our wonderful youngest children. I always feel immensely proud of showing new families, staff and the community all of our school, but also to emphasis the great early start that they get in EYFS' Mrs Naldrett, Head of School
Welcome to Gatehouse EYFS
Our Classrooms and Outside Space
EYFS at Gatehouse
In the Reception Year at Gatehouse Primary Academy, we follow the curriculum set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This ensures that we cover all areas of children’s learning and development from birth to five years old. The EYFS divides the curriculum into seven areas of learning and development. Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. These are the prime areas:
• communication and language
• physical development
• personal, social and emotional development
Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
• understanding the world
• expressive arts and design
These lead to 17 Early Learning Goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that children should gain by the end of the Reception year.
As well as what children learn, the EYFS sets out how children learn, these are known as the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’. We encourage good attitudes to learning, like curiosity, willingness to ‘have a go’, determination, persistence, and concentration, in everything we do.
We provide a balance between adult-led and child initiated experiences in both our indoor and outdoor learning environments. Children are supported in their development through play and exploration opportunities, short carpet sessions, and adult guided work.
Although the curriculum remains very play based, the balance shifts gradually through the year towards more activities led by adults as the year goes on.
We are fortunate enough to have a large outdoor area, which is fully resourced for children to support their learning in all areas. In addition to this our school site has a Forest School area as well as a Nature / Gardening area. Children have the opportunity to develop skills through stimulating and challenging activities such as den building, which help to develop problem solving, collaboration and persistence, along with supporting many other areas of learning and development.
The environment and activities inside and outside are carefully planned to promote learning, so while it may look as though the children are ‘just playing’, actually they are learning all the time. Our timetable allows for long periods of ‘free flow’ independent play where children can access inside and outside learning, which enables them to become deeply involved in their learning.
An important part of teaching in Reception is through ‘interactions’. Adults observe the children closely as they play, and join in sensitively to support them and move their learning on, extending their language and thinking, and helping to develop their skills.
Information about what your child should be doing at this age can be found within the document ‘What to expect when’ - you can download it from: