GSO Test

Early Years Foundation Stage


At Immanuel we recognise the importance of Early Years as the foundation of a child’s learning.  We believe that each child is unique and value their individuality, listening carefully to their ideas and opinions and using these to plan activities which suit their needs and interests. 

Children learn best through play.  Playing with others enables them to develop communication skills, creativity and problem solving skills in a safe and stimulating environment.   We provide opportunities to learn through first hand experiences, outdoor play, indoor activities and short yet engaging carpet-sessions.

Children are encouraged to explore and investigate, which enables them to flourish as they learn to work with others and grow in confidence.

We aim to equip children with a love of learning and develop their natural curiosity as they become successful, independent learners.


Early Years at Immanuel

Characteristics of Effective Learning:

The Characteristics of Effective Learning are an essential part of the EYFS curriculum.  At Immanuel we provide opportunities for children to learn these skills throughout their time in Early Years and beyond.  The Characteristics of Effective Learning are:

Playing and Exploring – engagement

Finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to have a go.

Active Learning – motivation

Being involved and concentring, keeping trying, enjoying achieving what they set out to do. 

Creating and Thinking Critically – thinking

Having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.

By developing and valuing these characteristics, children become confident to explore new things and persevere when things are difficult, overcoming challenges and breaking down barriers to learning. 


A schema is a repeated pattern of behaviour through which young children explore and learn.  By noting children’s schemas and providing them with opportunities to work through them, we encourage their interests and support their learning and development.  Some of the schemas you may notice your child exploring include:

Rotation:  A fascination with spinning including wheeled toys, being swung around or riding on a roundabout. 

Trajectory:  An interest in dropping things from a height, climbing and jumping off of things.  A child with a clashing trajectory schema may be fascinated by things that open and close such as scissors, staplers etc. 

Enveloping:  Covering objects of themselves, wrapping things up or putting them into bags.  Children with this schema may colour or paint over any pictures or writing that they have done.

Transporting:  Moving themselves or objects from one place to another.  Bringing objects to an adult or carrying things in bags or containers.

Enclosing:  Putting borders around drawing and paintings, making block enclosures; for examples animals in a field with fences around them. 

Connecting:  Joining and disconnecting train tracks, using construction sets, gluing or taping materials together.

Positioning:  An interest in lining up objects such as cars, books, or shoes or organising them in groups.

Orientation:  An interest in putting objects or their own bodies in different places and positions – upside down, on their side.

(Louis et al., (2013), Again, Again: Understanding Schemas in Young Children, London:  Bloomsbury Publishing plc.)


 The Great Outdoors

The outside is a great space for learning and provides children with lots of opportunities to explore and engage with things on a large scale, which isn’t always possible indoors.   Our outdoor environment enables children to access all areas of the EYFS curriculum as well as providing a safe space to develop the Characteristics of Effective Learning. 

We go outside all year round to ensure children are able to experience the joy of outside regardless of the conditions – there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!  Children are encouraged to think about what they need to put on in order to make the most of their time outside, for examples, coats or wellington boots and staff support them with this as necessary.

Learning outdoors enables children to look closely at their environment, noticing changes and making comparisons.  It also allows them to explore growing things and we work alongside our school gardener to plant and grow fruits, vegetables and flowers.  Children have the chance to enjoy digging, searching for mini-beasts, running and climbing as well as having quiet areas to read, talk and reflect. 

Within the outdoor space, children are able to access resources and activities that allow them to work on a grander scale, for example mark-making on the floor and walls or on large pieces of paper. The children are able to develop both their fine and gross motor skills through the use of outdoor activities, such as riding bikes, playing ball games and joining in circle games such as Duck, Duck Goose.

We are keen to promote talk across Early Years, and to facilitate this outside provide lots of opportunities for children to engage in role-play and other imaginative activities. 



Further Information:


Development Matters


How to help your child in Early Years at home 


At Immanuel we recognise that parents play a vital role in their child’s education and we work in close partnership with them.  In Early Years we hold regular workshops to support parents in key areas such as literacy and maths, as well as having professionals such as Speech Therapists or the School Nurse coming in to talk to parents.

We also offer 1:1 support for parents who require more advice about reading with their child.

What can I do with my child?

Here are some links with idea activities you can do with your child:

Top marks - This website has activities and games for Nursery up until Year 6 in all subjects, but particularly useful for Maths.

Super Simple Songs -Lots of songs and Nursery Rhymes suitable for young children.  Singing is a great thing to do with young children and if you don’t know many songs and rhymes this website offers a good starting point.

Learn English Kids- Stories, songs and games with a focus on language development. 

Phonics Play -Games and activities to help support phonics.  In Early Years we focus on Phase 1 (Nursery) and Phase 2, 3 and 4 (Reception).


We are so lucky to live in London where there are lots of amazing resources on our doorstep.  Don’t forget to visit our wonderful local libraries and museums, as well as exploring places such as Streatham Common, Morden Park and the River Thames.


Reading at home 

If you would like to know what other books are good for Nursery and Reception children lots of book lists are available online:

Read Brightly


Book Depository