Early Years and Foundation Stage

At New City we aim to provide a happy, caring and stimulating environment where all children are encouraged to reach their full potential. Every child is at the heart of our curriculum, which has been built to ensure that no child is left behind. We believe that children learn best through hands on experiences that are provided both indoors and outdoors. Children will develop positive attitudes towards learning as they are provided with a curriculum that meets their developmental needs. We allow the children to make choices about the activities they want to participate in. At New City time is given each day to the direct teaching of reading, phonics, writing and mathematics. This ensures that our children are challenged and prepared for the Year 1 Curriculum and beyond.


As you walk around the Foundation Stage you will observe the children engaging in adult–led focused or child initiated learning activities.

We value the learning that has already happened in the home environment and aim to build on this by developing close relationships with parents and carers.
Together we are able to build on the child's previous learning experiences and provide a personalised learning journey.

They need to:

  • Use the skills we are teaching them in a calm and purposeful environment
  • Immerse themselves in the processes
  • Experiment and reinforce
  • Explore
  • Play
  • Investigate
  • Think Critically
  • Challenge themselves
  • Use high quality books that engage the children and spark excitement and enjoyment in learning about the world around them


During their time in Nursery and Reception, the children will experience and immerse themselves in a broad and balanced curriculum underpinned by effective pedagogy which covers the 7 areas of learning as stated in the Early Years Foundation Framework 2021. The areas of learning are as follows:


  • Comprehension

  • Word Reading

  • Writing

Children will learn a wide range of vocabulary through talking with the adults and their peers or singing nursery rhymes. Through pleasure for reading, our children will encounter a wide range of fiction and non fiction texts. A balanced curriculum of Child led and teacher led learning means that there are many opportunities for children to apply their phonics and vocabulary into a variety of different contexts. Children will encounter many mark making activities, where children can begin to draw and write. They can use clipboards in the role-play area or paint on the ground outside. Each child also has a Literacy book which they use to record their weekend news, character descriptions and creative writing. They will be introduced to many different stories, poems, writing from personal experiences and genres. Each child is listened to read throughout the week and every day the children enjoy story time altogether at the end of the day.

Children are expected to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary; - Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories; - Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.
  • Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs; - Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending; - Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
  • Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed; - Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters; - Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development:

  • Self Regulation

  • Managing Self

  • Building Relationships

We place great emphasis on children's social skills. We encourage the children to develop positive relationships with other children and adults, to share, to negotiate, to be independent and confident.

Children are expected to:

  • Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly;
  • Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate;
  • Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
  • Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge; 
  • Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly; 
  • Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
  • Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others; - Form positive attachments to adults and friendships with peers; - Show sensitivity to their own and to others’ needs. 

Communication and Language:

  • Listening, Attention and Understanding

  • Speaking

Children will learn a wide range of vocabulary through talking with the adults and their peers or singing nursery rhymes. They will be introduced to many different stories and poems, where they will have the opportunities in one to one, small groups and class discussions to comment on what they have heard and offer their own ideas using a variety of recently introduced vocabulary.

Children are expected to:

  • Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions; 
  • Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding; 
  • Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers. 
  • Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary; 
  • Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate; 
  • Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher



  • Number 

  • Numerical Patterns

We involve the children in mathematical learning through many of the activities. For example, we may talk about how many buttons they have on their coat or how heavy a bucket of wet sand is. Maths resources for counting, sorting, matching, weighing and recognising shapes are available for the children to self-select.

Children are expected to:

  • Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number; 
  • Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5; 
  • Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.
  • Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system;
  • Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity;
  • Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally. 


Understanding of the World:

  • Past and Present

  • People, Culture and Communities

  • The Natural World

​​​​​​​This area of learning encompasses Science, History, Religious Education and Geography The children will explore their immediate environment through investigating their surroundings. They will look at natural and man-made materials. They will be encouraged to ask questions about what is happening and why. Children will also discuss how we are part of a far more global society, discussing similarities and differences.

Children are expected to:

  • Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society; 
  • Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class; 
  • Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling;
  • Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps; 
  • Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class; 
  • Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps. 
  • Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants; 
  • Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class; 
  • Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.


Physical Development

  • Gross Motor Skills

  • Fine Motor Skills

​​​​​​Children are active learners and are encouraged to develop their fine and gross motor skills. They love to be outdoors come rain, snow, sun or wind. We provide a range of opportunities for children to develop their physical skills. We have a range of climbing equipment in the spacious garden that is set up to provide different opportunities for learning each day.

Children are expected to:

  • Negotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others;
  • Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing; 
  • Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing. 
  • Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases; 
  • Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery; 
  • Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing. 


Expressive Art and Design

  • Creating with Materials

  • Being Imaginative

Expressive Art and Design includes Music , Art and Design Technology . The children are able to create many scenarios in the role-play area. They are able to act out many different roles and explore the world of fantasy. The children will be given the chance to become familiar with different painting techniques and malleable materials. The music area allows children to become familiar with a range of different instruments.

Children are expected to:

  • Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function; 
  • Share their creations, explaining the process they have used; 
  • Make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories. 
  • Invent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher; 
  • Sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs; 
  • Perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others, and – when appropriate try to move in time with music.

Parents Guide to Early Reading with your child

At New City we aim to encourage a love of learning from an early age.

Why Sharing a book with your child is so important:

  • It encourages good language and dialogue. Children learn new words and what they mean which builds up their vocabulary.
  • It prepares children to become good readers, they learn that words carry meaning and begin to recognise words, letters and sounds.
  • It helps them to listen and concentrate and it builds a longer and better attention span. Reading with your child also increases their memory skills which helps them in all areas of their learning.
  • Reading to your child builds their imagination and their understanding of the world.
  • Reading prepares children to become good writers as this increases their vocab and helps them create their own stories from their own imagination.
  • Children begin to understand that stories have a beginning , middle and end.
  • Reading with your child is a great opportunity for you to bond with your child as its quality time just focused on them.
  • Helps to relax your child and addresses any feelings of anxiety around reading.
  • This is a great opportunity to model handling a book correctly, turning the pages with care, reading from left to right and turning the book round the correct way.

Top Tips for reading with your child.

  • Find a quiet and comfortable area to read, avoiding any distractions such as music, a tablet/phone or the television.
  • Remember that reading with your child is not just for bedtime (often children are too tired to read). Reading can and should take place throughout the day when your child is willing to read.
  • You can share a book anytime and any place, for example on a bus journey, in a waiting room.
  • Allow your child to choose a book that they are interested in and allow them to turn the pages as this will keep them involved.
  • Keep it short at first, they might only be able to listen for 5-10 minutes (then extend this time gradually when ready).
  • Ask your children questions about the book, asking questions such as ‘What Happens next?’ helps with their understanding, as does asking them about the story after you have read it to check their understanding.
  • Children love to read the same book over and over again. Although this can be boring for us adults it very helpful for the children as they learn the pattern of the words.
  • Pointing to the words as you read them helps them learn that there is a difference between words and pictures and that words carry meaning. Using your finger as a guide also models reading from left to right.
  • Rhyming books are great for young children as they quickly learn what words are coming next.
  • Let children repeat the words after you as copying you makes them feel like they are reading and increases confidence.
  • Keep it Fun, using a variety of different voices when reading aloud always helps!
  • Children do not just have to read with mum and dad, why not involve the whole family, brothers, uncles, cousins, grandparents should all read alongside the children. The more people the children read with, the more confident they become.
  • If you are not a confident reader yourself or English isn’t your first language it does not matter. Talking about the pictures in a book is just as important. Pointing at objects in books and saying the names (in your language) helps them associate words with pictures and learn the importance of language.
  • Dual language books are now available in many book shops (see Newham Bookshop, Barking Roads).

Reading aloud to children helps create a lifetime interest in reading which is one of the biggest factors of success in school and further education.


Curriculum Map

Please click on the link below to view the curriculum map. It will open in a new window.

Early Years Curriculum Map 2023-2024