Early Years

The Early Years Curriculum

The Early Learning Goals (ELGs) are the knowledge, skills and understanding which young children should aim to have acquired by the time they reach the age of five.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is made up of seven areas of learning; 3 prime areas and 4 specific.

The prime areas of learning are:

– Communication and Language

– Physical Development

– Personal, Social and Emotional Development

 The specific areas of learning are:

– Literacy

– Mathematics

– Understanding of the World

– Expressive Arts and Design

Characteristics of effective learning (CoEL)

CoEL is about how children learn rather than what they learn. Children, particularly during their Early Years, form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime.

Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning which are intertwined into the provision at Maryland are:

Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things and are willing to have a go.
Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying when they encounter difficulties and enjoy their achievements.
Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, are able to make links between ideas and develop a range of strategies for doing things.

Early Years at Maryland Primary School


The school provides a rich and exciting curriculum, with a strong focus on active, play based exploration to develop curiosity, critical thinking and a love of learning both indoors and outdoors. Communication & Language are prioritised because of the diversity and language needs within our community. PSED is another key focus so that pupils can learn to operate and interact well in a social setting, as this is often the first educational experience for them, especially post-pandemic. We support the children to develop their self-confidence and independence in order to become resilient to face future challenges.
Our rich and stimulating learning environment provides memorable and unique experiences to enable pupils to understand the world and develop imagination e.g. the school has built its own beach within the Nature Garden and children are involved in caring for the school chickens. Our curriculum is designed to reduce disadvantage and facilitate all children achieving the best possible start to their early education.


Teacher planning is based on emerging pupil interests. For example, investigating static electricity which could lead to further science experiments.  Teachers also plan to cover topics which might not necessarily be of interest to a child initially (but may develop into one) due to their prior limited experiences, such as exploring famous artists using paint, colours and patterns. 
Resilience and growth mindset are integrated into the day-to-day teaching of the curriculum and not just isolated to subject specific teaching eg. Personal Development. The children are introduced to growth mindset dinosaurs such as ‘try-a-saurus’ which shapes the children’s approach to their learning.
Staff also carry out home visits before Nursery admissions to build knowledge of pupils’ backgrounds and circumstances which informs provision planning and support that is put in place. This helps to ensure children transition well and begin to make progress earlier on.


Progress is outstanding from overall low starting points. GLD is consistently above national standard.

In 2019, 76% of children who had been with us since Nursery achieved a Good Level of Development compared to 65% for children who joined in Reception. The LA moderation process in 2018 demonstrated that our end of year reception judgements were highly accurate. The moderator commented, “The EYFS staff have a ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude (to ensure the children get the very best)”.