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St Peter's Catholic Primary School

St Peter's Catholic Primary School

The EYFS Curriculum Areas

The EYFS Curriculum

There are seven areas of learning and development in the Foundation Stage. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. 

The Characteristics of Effective Learning:

The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe behaviours children use in order to learn. To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all the Areas of Learning and Development.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning:

  • playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
  • active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; 
  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things. 

The EYFS Curriculum Areas  of Learning & Development 

The Areas of Learning and Development affect each other.  For example, developing communication and language will support children to understand and explain mathematical ideas.

Developing physical skills will allow children to be more active explorers and so enhance their progress in Understanding the World.  The more concepts they develop within Understanding the World, the more they will be able to relate to what they find in books and so support their development in Literacy.

Experiences and activities that relate to Areas of Learning and Development, when they offer children opportunities to have autonomy and develop their own ideas, can also provide the contexts for children to practise their learning behaviours,  and so reinforce the Characteristics of Effective Learning. 

Prime areas of Learning & Development:

The Prime areas of development and learning lay vital foundations in the early years.  They are time-sensitive because of biological factors that enable rapid brain connections, particularly in the first three years of life but continuing throughout early childhood

The Prime areas are:

  • Communication and Language 
  • Physical Development 
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development 

Specific areas of Learning & Development:

Specific areas of learning and development provide children with knowledge and skills to flourish in society. The Specific areas are not time-sensitive in terms of the brain’s biological responsiveness to experiences. The Specific areas represent crucial shared cultural tools and knowledge, which babies and children engage in as members of the society in which they live.

Many aspects of these areas arise naturally for young children as they make sense of their experiences, such as an awareness of quantity, enjoyment of telling and hearing stories, finding out how things work, rhythm, and movement.  Children often begin to represent what they understand with their own actions, marks or words.  There are also ways of representing understanding with more formal symbol systems such as numbers, writing and other cultural tools and methods for sharing and recording ideas, as well as large bodies of knowledge to be shared with children. 

As adults gradually support children to know about and use these Specific areas, either informally as part of daily life or in planned activities, they give children access to the wide scope of shared cultural and intellectual life in modern society, and skills and knowledge to support them in their future learning.

The specific areas are:

  • Literacy 
  • Mathematics 
  • Understanding the World 
  • Expressive Arts and Design 

Information taken from Birth to 5 Matters 2021


The EYFS Educational Program by Areas of Learning:

Communication and Language

Subdivided into:

  1. Listening, Attention and Understanding
  2. Speaking

This area of learning involves giving children opportunities to:

  • experience a rich language environment;
  • to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves;
  • to speak and listen in a range of situations.

We give the children opportunities to talk and listen to each other in a variety of situations inside and outside and we encourage good communication skills through clear modelling.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Subdivided into:

  1. Self-Regulation
  2. Managing Self
  3. Building Relationships

This area of learning involves helping children to:

  • develop a positive sense of themselves, and others;
  • to form positive relationships and develop respect for others;
  • to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings;
  • to understand appropriate behaviour in groups;
  • to have confidence in their own abilities.

PSED development feeds into all subjects of the national curriculum. We ensure that the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs are already implicitly embedded in our practice. An example of this is when the children share views on what the theme of their role play area could be with a show of hands, this is democracy in action.  

Physical Development

Subdivided into:

  1. Gross Motor Skills 
  2. Fine Motor Skills 

This area of learning involves providing opportunities for young children to:

  • be active and interactive;
  • to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement.

We have a well-developed outside area where the children are able to develop physically through large movements. The children will also develop their fine motor control so that they are able to hold a pen/pencil and use it to form recognisable letters. They will understand how their bodies feel when they exercise and will begin to gain more control when using different P.E. equipment.


Subdivided into:

  1. Comprehension
  2. Word Reading 

  3. Writing

Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.

We provide writing resources for both indoor and outdoor play enabling a range of opportunities to write for different purposes about things that interest children. We plan enjoyable, motivating activities and games, that help children create rhyming strings of real and imaginary words.

Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. We have a language rich environment to enable print to be seen inside and outside. We provide daily systematic synthetic phonics sessions. These are multisensory in order to capture their interests, sustain motivation and reinforce learning. 


Subdivided into:

  1. Number
  2. Numerical Patterns 

Maths involves providing children with opportunities to:

  • develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers;
  • calculate simple addition and subtraction problems;

The children have opportunities to explore number in a variety of contexts. Although it is not a specific learning goal, supporting children to describe shapes, spaces, and measures is an integral part of our educational programme. 

Understanding the World

Subdivided into:

  1. Past and Present 
  2. People, Culture and Communities 

  3. The Natural World 

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment both now and in the past. 

The children enjoy observing the environment outside change, watching the leaves fall, animals, birds and insects emerge. We take care to protect and respect our natural environment, finding ways to nurture and encourage the animals and plant life.

Expressive Arts and Design

Subdivided into:

  1. Creating with Materials
  2. Being Imaginative and Expressive 

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance,  storytelling, role-play, and design and technology.