Playing and Learning



All early years providers registered with Ofsted must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS). This guidance sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old. Within the EYFS Framework practitioners provide activities and make assessment judgements based on seven areas of learning: Three Prime Areas and Four Specific Areas.

  • Prime

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development



Research into early child development shows that children learn more rapidly during their first three years than in later life; whilst all areas of learning are important and inter-connected, the three Prime areas are crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, building their capacity to learn and form relationships and thrive. The specific areas will enable them to be self-motivated learners who are confident to succeed.



At Froxfield Pre-School,  play is central to all learning. We view our children as navigators of their own learning journey, valuing every child as unique, with individual interests and fascinations. These interests are used as a vehicle to progress learning and development within all areas of the curriculum. We do not subscribe to one fixed learning theory. Instead we have cherry picked, what we consider to be the best aspects of several different approaches.


Both our indoor and outdoor environments are integral to inspiring and stimulating our little learners innate desire to explore so, we have filled them with carefully chosen, open-ended resources that invite endless educational opportunities. Where possible, we use authentic or ‘real life’ resources rather than plastic toys, in order to provide a multi-sensory experience - affording a richness to our children’s play.


Learning unfolds naturally through play experiences that have been designed to capture each child’s sense of curiosity, awe and wonder. Our teachers harness teachable moments as they present themselves, using these moments to challenge and extend children’s thinking and learning, thus making learning relevant, meaningful, enjoyable and age appropriate.


Every area within our setting has been carefully considered to provoke learning in all areas of the curriculum, allowing our children to develop into independent, creative and critical thinkers, prepared for when they make the move into formal schooling.

Rhythm of the Day


Morning Session

9am   Children Arrive

The children hang their coats up and place their trugs in the hallway. Children then self-register by placing their name cards onto a self-registration tree.

Learning through Play

Activities/Resources are out for the children to freely access. Staff plan in the moment, following children’s fascinations and interests in order to progress learning and development. The outside space is available for free flow – should the children wish to go out.

10am (ish)  Snack Time

Children are able to come and help themselves to a drink of water or milk and a snack (which they help to prepare)

11:30am  Key Group Time

The children come together in their key groups and a group activity will usually take place.

11:45am  Story/Rhyme Time


Afternoon Session

12pm   Lunch Time

The children wash their hands and sit together to have their lunch.

Learning through Play

The children are able to access the resources freely. Staff will use sustained shared thinking and in the moment planning to progress understanding and learning through following individual children’s interests. The outside space is available for free-flow.

2pm (ish)  Snack Time

Children are able to come and help themselves to an afternoon snack.

2:30pm Key Group Time

The children come together for a group activity.

2:45pm  Story/Rhyme Time

3pm  Home Time

This is a guide and the times will often vary in order to provide flexibility - so that the children’s interests and fascinations can be fully utilised in order to maximise learning potential

Monitoring Progress


Whilst your child is with us, we will record your child’s learning journey using a combination of photographic evidence, written observations and first-hand evidence e.g. children’s paintings/drawings. These will be placed into a learning journey scrap book and will form a record of your child’s progress whilst they are with us. This record will be unique to your child and is kept to allow key people to build up a comprehensive picture of every individual child within their group, so that they are able to support each child’s future development and learning. These records act as an important tool, which help to provide appropriate, stimulating, relevant activities and experiences for our children.


We gather information primarily through observing children at play and match this against the Early Years Framework Guidance, this is a good indicator of how children are developing. We then invite parents to share information about their child at home and discuss next steps in development. Parents are invited to contribute to their child’s learning journey book  which is available at every session. We also hold regular open mornings, specifically designed for parents to share their child’s latest achievements.


At the end of the Autumn and Summer terms, your child will receive a record of development. This is a more detailed overview of your child’s progress during that term and provides a brief outline of development within each of the seven areas of learning.

We are always happy to discuss your child’s needs, progress etc. at any time. Please feel free to speak to your child’s key person should you ever feel you would like to have a chat about your child’s progress.

The revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) also requires early years professionals to complete a two year progress check, which is carried out for any child beginning pre-school before their third birthday. This progress check compliments the developmental check that is carried out by the Health Visitor. It aims at providing parents with a clear picture of their child’s development by reviewing the prime areas: communication and language, personal, social and emotional development and physical development. This check is always carried out in collaboration with parents and will result in a short written summary of your child’s development being given to you. On starting Pre-School you will be asked to produce your child’s ‘red book’ so that the key person can view the appropriate page re: Two Year Progress Check.

As with all our information regarding the children in our care, these remain confidential. However, it is sometimes necessary to share the Two Year Progress Check with the Health Visiting Service, Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services or other settings (only if the child attends more than one setting, currently or in the future). You will be asked to sign a declaration, to give your consent for this to happen. (If you have any concerns, please speak to your child’s key person).

Emotional Literacy



Emotional literacy is a vital skill for children to learn as it helps them deal with everyday situations. We work hard to develop every child’s awareness of their own feelings, so that they are able to identify and understand how to manage their emotions. These skills aid well-being, independence and social interaction, whilst also being important skills necessary for school readiness.


At Froxfield Pre-School, we follow the Five to Thrive approach. This approach promotes emotional development through modelling empathy using five steps, portrayed on the building blocks below.

Emotional literacy is a term used to describe the understanding and identification of feelings/emotions.

emotional literacy.jpg

Scientific research would suggest that it is these five things that children require to enable connections to form within children’s brains, enabling children to feel secure, loved and confident. By acting upon each block in turn when children exhibit heightened emotions, children  learn the skills required to manage emotions independently.


We understand that children’s behaviour is a form of communication, that young children do not always have the skills to verbalise feelings and will often act on impulse. Even the most articulate of children can find it difficult to weight up the consequences of actions and will sometimes act before thinking. At Froxfield Pre-School we also recognise that a child’s behaviour can be affected by frustration, tiredness, jealousy, hunger or a strong desire e.g. wanting a toy.


Along with the use of the ‘Five to Thrive’ approach, we also have a set of shared values. These values are created every year with the children participating in their design. They allow the children to contribute to how they would like to be treated whilst they are at pre-school and provide a set of positive values by which the children are then able to navigate our setting e.g. we listen to one another.