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Princes Risborough Primary School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Early Years Foundation Stage

'The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn'.

Maria Montessori

Our Learning Environment



At Princes Risborough Primary School, we are committed to the values and principles that underpin the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and Every Child Matters. We ensure we are meeting the standards that childcare providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five, by offering a curriculum rich in wonder and memorable experiences. We offer a stimulating environment that provides exciting opportunities, promotes challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning.


It is our intent that all children develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally in an environment which values all cultures, communities and people. we aim for our children to be confident and independent, to believe in themselves and interact positively with others. We understand that play is an integral part of learning and this is at the heart of our early years’ curriculum. We believe that the correct mix of adult directed and uninterrupted child-initiated play ensures the best outcomes for pupils. We aim to provide children with real-life experiences and opportunities to learn through the natural world, thus allowing the children to investigate and apply their learning using our stimulating indoor and outdoor environments.


We build warm and positive relationships with the children, ensure consistent routines and build strong relationships with parents. We recognise the crucial role that early year’s education has to play in providing firm foundations upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based.



At Princes Risborough Primary School, we understand that all children are unique, have individual interests and learn best in different ways, thus linking to ‘The Characteristics of Effective Learning’ which are at the heart of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. The way children engage with others and their environment underpins learning and development in our Reception class, thus supporting our children to become enthusiastic learners and remain motivated throughout the curriculum.


Children in our Reception class are fully supported to reach their full potential and progress across the seven areas of learning from within the Early Years Curriculum:


· Personal, Social and Emotional Development

· Communication and Language

· Physical Development

· Literacy

· Maths

· Expressive Arts and Design

· Understanding the World


At Princes Risborough Primary School we prioritise creating a ‘language rich’ environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, stories and providing time for quality interactions between adults and between peers. Trained staff ensure that interactions are positive and progressive, allowing children to flourish and gather words at pace in order to become confident communicators.


Children are encouraged to become early readers through enjoyment of books and the teaching of a systematic synthetic phonics programme ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised’. The children develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration within the environment both indoors and outside. We support our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.


Our early years environment has been developed to enable our children to strengthen their core muscles through physical play, we encourage the children to spend time outdoors in their natural environment in all weathers. They grow and develop through wonderful, exploratory, sensory experiences in our mud kitchen, and garden area, and our learning environment is adaptable in order to reflect children's interests and progression. The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult facilitated play.


The curriculum is taught through topics which are enriched with classroom enhancements, trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts, and these are chosen carefully to encourage children's speech, language and communication development. All planning however, is flexible and responsive to children’s needs so plans can be changed and adapted dependent on children’s interests. We understand the importance of parental engagement and believe that our parents have a crucial role to play in their children's education. We work hard to create strong partnerships between home and school, and do this by offering half termly 'Stay, Learn and Explore' sessions where parents are invited to come and spend time at school with their child and actively involve themselves in the learning. We create 'floor books' which capture the children's enjoyment, engagement and progression of learning and send home fortnightly 'learning blogs' with photographs, explanations, captions and comments of the learning. The staff in Reception hold weekly meetings to discuss the children, celebrate their achievements and raise concerns, thus enabling them to build a profile of the children’s development, growth and progress, and plan for their immediate needs, interests and next steps.


As part of the learning and teaching process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards the Early Learning Goals and reaching GLD at the end of the year. These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in-depth knowledge of the children which is acquired through ongoing interactions and assessment. 


At Princes Risborough Primary School, we focus on strengthening the children’s language and vocabulary development, and strengthen their literacy to ensure all children have a strong grasp on the skills that will prepare them for Year 1. To ensure we are in line with the new government guidelines, we have adapted our Early Reading and Phonics scheme to ensure we have a validated Systematic Synthetic Programme in place. We have invested in ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised’ to ensure we are providing a complete teaching programme meeting all the expectations of the Early Years Curriculum, and preparing our children to become confident and fluent readers. In addition to the ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised’ reading books, our existing Big Cat Collins reading books have been carefully matched to the ‘Little Wandle’ progression document, ensuring high quality decodable texts are available to support the children in applying their decoding and blending skills independently. In Reception we are continuously assessing the children’s learning across the EYFS Curriculum to ensure they are all receiving the support in which to make progress and ensure we meet the individual needs of all children.



Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children, from their own starting points make good progress. Children in our early years, on average, arrive with much lower starting points than national. During their time with us children make rapid progress towards the national expectation for a good level of development at the end of the year. Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations both academically and socially, developing a sense of themselves before transitioning into Year 1. Children develop their characteristics of learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with peers and adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.


We believe our high standards are due to our carefully planned environment, enriched play-based curriculum, quality first teaching and the rigour of assessment. Pupils achieved 70% GLD in the academic year 2022, which is above the national average of 65%. 


Our curriculum is reviewed annually to ensure relevance and to ensure the voices of our pupils, parents, staff and governors are heard.

ICAN Accreditation and PiP Project


The Side by Side - Providers in Partnership (PiP) is an endeavour, started three years ago, supported by the Buckinghamshire County to encourage Early Years providers to work together within their local communities to improve outcomes for our vulnerable children and families.  The aim of all involved is to close the achievement gaps and provide support to those who are most at risk of not having the opportunities and experiences they need to succeed.  The sharing of strategies and strengthening of ties between local providers, in the community services, preschools and schools, has allowed for improvement in transitions, parental engagement, home learning and language skills.  
We are currently celebrating our successes both as a preschool and reception class at a county event related to the PiP. We have shared a presentation of improvements in our provision of learning focussing on outdoor learning and in our focus on communication and language development. We are incredibly proud that the Princes Risborough Preschool has been awarded the ICAN  Accreditation to certify that it is a Communication Enhanced Level School. This includes demonstrating effective support and outcomes for all children, including those with Speech Language and Communication Needs. This Accreditation embodies all the hard work that the team have put in to empower all of our children to reach their full learning potential.

Our Outdoor Environment

Early Years Curriculum at PRPS

Useful Documents