St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Cross Street, Chesterfield, S40 4ST

01246 232170

St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Let Your Light Shine

Early Years

Our Vision for the Foundation Stage

Throughout your child’s time within the early years at St Mary’s Catholic Primary school, we aim for them to feel happy and safe. They are excited and motivated to learn through rich and challenging learning experiences; opportunities to explore and take risks, and have first-hand experiences. 

We understand that children have different starting points within their learning and plan according to each child’s stage of development. We have high expectations of all children we teach and support them into being well-rounded individuals who are independent, confident and resilient.

We pride ourselves with great partnership with parents, working closely with them to support children’s transition into school. We want parents to be actively involved in their child’s learning and to share experiences through termly ‘stay and play’ sessions, wow moments, volunteering, visits and trips and parent meetings.

Our classrooms are laid out with child-initiated play which allows children to explore, create and learn through exciting, stimulating and accessible resources.

We value both indoor and outdoor learning, and carefully organise our daily planning to develop children’s characteristics of effective learning. Children have free flow times where they are supervised by adults observing and engaging in meaningful play. The curriculum which we provide is centred around children’s interests, with a balance of child initiated and adult led activities.

Early Years Curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a very important stage in a child’s life as it helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. Children’s early years’ experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.  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 before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances.

The EYFS framework explains how to support children’s learning through specific requirements through the 7 Areas of Learning and Development.

Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language;
  • Physical development; and
  • Personal, social and emotional development.

These prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning.

As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy;
  • Mathematics;
  • Understanding the world; and
  • Expressive arts and design.

 Phonics teaching and learning is taught through a scheme called Read Write Inc. This approach develops early reading and writing skills through to Y2.


Children are assessed on the 17 Early Learning Goals in the summer term at the end of Foundation. Observations are recorded of the children and this information is used to guide a ‘best fit’ assessment at certain points throughout the year. In the final term, the EYFS Profile is completed.


Characteristics of Effective Learning (P. 5)

Development Matters:

Early Years Outcomes: