Year R is the final year of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which aims to give children 'the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress throughout school and life' (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2017).


You might like to have a look at a document called 'What to expect, when?' which details how your child's learning journey in the reception year builds on what they have been learning at home and at preschool settings.  It also includes the Early Learning Goals your child will be working towards by the end of the year. 


The areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage are organised into 'Prime Areas' and 'Specific Areas'.  'Prime Areas' are the fundamental areas which run through and support learning in all other areas.  'Specific Areas' include essential skills and knowledge.  They grow out of the prime areas and provide important contexts for learning.  Please click on the tabs below for more information about what your child will be learning in each area of the curriculum.  

Prime Areas:


  • We learn to be independent
  • We learn to be confident
  • We learn to get along well with other children and adults
  • We learn to understand and follow the rules
  • We learn to think about other people and their different needs and feelings

To help me with this at home, you could try playing turn-taking games or meeting up with a friend for a walk or a play in the garden.  Support me to learn important phrases such as 'Would you like to play with me?' and 'Please may I have a turn'.  Talk about how characters are feeling in books and give me time to talk about how I feel too.




  • We learn to listen to and respond to stories and rhyme
  • We learn to listen to each other and to concentrate on what someone else is saying
  • We learn to follow instructions and to answer 'how' and 'why' questions
  • We learn to talk to others about the past, present and the future
  • We learn to tell stories and to explain our ideas

You can help me with this at home by making sure we have screen-free time where I can look at your face as we chat together.  Share lots of stories with me and let me hear my favourites over and over again.  Sing songs with me and teach me nursery rhymes.  Talk to me about what we are doing now and what we are going to do next.  Share photos with me so that we can discuss what we have done in the past.


  • We learn to explore different ways of moving with confidence, safety and control
  • We learn about how to keep healthy and fit
  • We learn skills like throwing and catching, rolling and kicking
  • We learn to use tools and malleable materials safely
  • We learn to develop good pencil control

You can help me at home by encouraging me to climb, throw, play with dough, paint and draw.  Give me opportunities to use a vertical surface, such as 'painting' a fence panel with a roller or big paintbrush dipped in water.  Make sure I have time to lie on my tummy too, maybe while completing a puzzle or drawing a road map for my cars.  I will need to practise getting dressed in my school uniform and taking my shoes and coat on and off.  

Specific Areas:

  • We have lots of fun with books and we get to know stories very well by acting them out and drawing story maps
  • We learn to read simple sentences using our phonics skills (by 'sounding out' words to help us read them) and our knowledge of 'tricky words'
  • We talk about what we have read in a group
  • We learn to write for simple purposes such as a message to a friend, a card or a list
  • We learn to write simple sentences using our phonic skills (by 'sound-talking' words to help us spell them) and our knowledge of 'tricky words

At home, you can help me by reading me lots of stories at bedtime and at other times of the day too!  Sometimes point to the words as you read so that I get the idea that the words have meaning and match what you are saying.  Talk to me about who the characters are in the story and what is happening.  Help me learn to recognise my name by labelling my things.  



  • We learn to count, recognise and order numbers to 20
  • We learn to sort, match and create patterns
  • We learn to add and take away using practical resources
  • We learn new words to describe shape, size, position, direction and money
  • We learn to solve problems

You can help me at home by singing number songs and rhymes and encouraging me to use my fingers to act them out.  Counting as we go up or down the stairs is great practice too.  It's good for me to talk about the numbers we see on doors, car number plates and buses.  Let me help you with shopping and cooking (when it's safe to do so) and we can talk about the size and weight of the different items. 


  • We learn to talk about the past and present
  • We begin to learn about our families, communities and traditions and those of our friends
  • We learn about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things
  • We learn to make observations and to talk about change
  • We learn to find out about our environment and how other environments may be different
  • We learn to use ICT

At home, you could try going on a nature walk and talking about what you find or sharing photos of family celebrations and events.  Encourage me to ask questions and to try things out as I play.  Even simple things such as giving me a whisk to play with in a bowl of soapy water or a bubbly bath can lead to new discoveries!


  • We learn to sing songs, respond to music and explore different sounds
  • We learn to use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques
  • We experiment with colour, design, texture, form and function
  • We learn to use our imagination and to represent our ideas, thoughts and feelings in different ways

To help me at home, you could try joining in with my imaginative play and letting me take the lead.  If I'm not keen on drawing, it might help if we make a picture together.  You could draw a car and I'll add the road and the traffic light, for example.  There are lots of easy ways to make music at home - try making a shaker using a yoghurt pot filled with lentils or rice.


Alongside these curriculum areas, we are constantly supporting children to develop the 'characteristics of effective learning'.  These include skills such as 'being willing to have a go', 'keeping on trying' and 'making links'.  They are a bit like learning superpowers!  If children are good learners, they are able to learn any aspect of the curriculum much more easily, not just in Year R, but throughout the rest of their learning lives.




At St. Michael's Infant School, we believe that children learn best through play.  Children will have plenty of 'Explore Time' each day to follow their interests and access exciting resources both indoors and outside.  During this child-initiated play, the teachers will play alongside children to help develop their language and social skills and to promote the characteristics of effective learning.  We will also be observing the new learning which we see the children bringing into their play to help us plan for each child's next steps. 




During adult-directed time, we still place learning in playful contexts so that children are naturally engaged and keen to have a go. In these pictures, children are applying their phonics to read instructions for planting cress and finding out about shapes as they create a rocket picture.

Our learning is structured around high quality books and supplemented by rich experiences (including lots of cooking, experiencing nature, scientific experimentation, visitors, visits and artistic opportunities) because we know that these are key to increasing a child's vocabulary, and in turn their future life chances.  


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