Gislingham Playgroup follows the principles of the EYFS and puts into practice the following four principles:

A Unique Child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents/carers and/or a key person.

Enabling Environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.

Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.The areas of learning and development

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings.

All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • communication and language

  • physical development

  • personal, social and emotional development

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.

The specific areas are:

  • literacy

  • mathematics

  • understanding the world

  • expressive arts and design

Educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as follows.

  • Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

  • Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

  • Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities. a ~,

  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

  • Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

  • Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role- play, and design and technology.

None of these areas of Learning and Development can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important and depend on each other to support a rounded approach to child development.

Staff follow the Practice Guidance for the EYFS, which sets out Development Matters (key learning objectives) which describe the stages through which children are likely to pass as they move on to achieve Early Learning Goals (ELGs). For each area of Learning and Development the ELG states what is expected each child will know, and be able to do, by the end of the reception year.

There can be a big difference between the development of children of similar ages. At the same time, age can be a cue, when taken with all other factors, to indicate that development may be atypical and that a child may need extra support. Each child’s progress is individually observed and monitored in order to provide the appropriate activity or learning opportunity to help the child move on to the next stage of development.

All areas of learning will be delivered by staff through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child-chosen activities.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development Educational programme.

Children must be provided with experiences and support which will help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others; social skills; and a positive disposition to learn. Gislingham Playgroup ensures support for children’s emotional well-being to help them to know themselves and what they can do.

Communication, Language and Literacy Educational programme

A child’s learning and competence in communicating, speaking and listening, being read to and beginning to read and write must be supported and extended. Gislingham Playgroup provides opportunity and encouragement to use their skills in a range of situations and for a range of purposes, and be supported in developing the confidence and disposition to do so.

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy Educational programme

Children must be supported in developing their understanding of Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about their developing understanding. Gislingham Playgroup provides opportunities to practise and extend their skills in these areas and to gain confidence and competence in their use.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World Educational programme

Children must be supported in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. Gislingham Playgroup supports their learning through offering opportunities for them to use a range of tools safely; encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real-life situations; undertake practical ‘experiments’; and work with a range of materials.

Physical Development Educational programme

The physical development of young children must be encouraged through the provision of opportunities for them to be active and interactive and to improve their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. Gislingham Playgroup supports them in using all of their senses to learn about the world around them and to make connections between new information and what they already know. They must be supported in developing an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food.

Creative Development Educational programme

Children’s creativity must be extended by the provision of support for their curiosity, exploration and play. Gislingham Playgroup provides opportunities to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings, for example, through a variety of art, music, movement, dance, imaginative and role-play activities, mathematics, and design and technology.

The characteristics of effective learning

The unique child engages with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning, playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.

Playing and exploring - engagement

Active learning - motivation

Creating and thinking critically - thinking

The characteristics of effective learning  underpin the learning and development across all the areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage to support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.


The Playgroup keeps an Online Learning Journey Profile for each child record and by looking, listening and noting staff are able to:

  • Get to know a child better and develop positive relationships with children and their parents/carers.

  • Plan appropriate play and learning experiences based on the children’s

  • interests and needs, and identify any concerns about a child’s development.

  • Further develop their understanding of a child’s development.

Staff observations of children help them to assess the progress which children are making. Observations help staff to decide where children are in their learning and development and to plan what to do next.

Parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and know their children better than anyone else, and therefore parental input into these records is vital.


A Key Person has special responsibilities for working with a small number of children, giving them the reassurance to feel safe and cared for and building relationships with their parents/carers.

The Key Person will observe and keep confidential records of each child’s development during their time at the Playgroup.

The Key Person will share perceptions with parents/carers and colleagues identify areas where extra support may be needed, recognise and celebrate strengths and gain a better knowledge of what each child can achieve. This will enable Gislingham Playgroup to improve its provision and develop the learning environment.