EYFS (Reception)

Making sure that every child has an excellent start to their education is incredibly important.

"Brains are built, not born."

Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Harvard Center for the developing child


We believe that brains are built through well planned learning environments; through language rich conversations and through carefully thought through activities, where the learning is matched beautifully to the child’s needs. Using our inclusive strategies, we ensure that all the children can access this learning.

We know that we can help the children in La Fontaine become even more powerful learners through three characteristics of effective teaching and learning:

Playing and exploring

I investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.

Active learning

I concentrate and keep on trying even when I encounter difficulties. I enjoy achieving.

Creating and thinking critically

I am learning to develop my own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

The curriculum at La Fontaine is carefully planned from Reception to Year 6, so the building blocks start in their first year with us. The prime and specific areas of learning and development, from the Department for Education's 'Early years foundation stage statutory framework' as well as the early learning goals, have been mapped onto each curriculum area so that links from early years to the national curriculum are explicit and understood, and progression is planned for.

The first thing we do at La Fontaine is to think about the individual child and their context.

We begin our journey by thinking about the context and the community that our children come from. The families they have grown up with, the nurseries and pre-schools they attended, and the places that they have lived before entering our setting. 

We do this by attending the Bromley schools forum to talk with nurseries and other settings about the children coming to our school. We meet with the families on Zoom and in person to get them familiar with us and we go to see the children in their previous setting. This builds a clear picture of their starting point and how we as Early Years practitioners can support them. 

This then helps us to plan how we can successfully integrate each child into our school community. 

The statutory early year’s framework tells us that providers must offer a range of adult-led and child-led opportunities for children to develop and learn.

There has been much research into the importance of learning through play and the extent to which children and adults should be directing the learning of young children.

At La Fontaine, our approach is to find the balance between direct teaching by adults, adult-led activities and child-led activities. We believe that all of these are necessary to help children to develop and learn successfully and to inspire a love of learning. We therefore have short taught ‘inputs’ in a variety of subjects and skills that all the children participate in. We then provide planned, purposeful play-based activities for the children to explore. The activities available link to the children’s learning and/or particular skills. Children learn through play and through taking the lead and making decisions about their own play. However, they also need adult direction to move their play, and therefore their development, forward. Adults in the classroom will ‘join’ the play, asking questions, making suggestions, supporting and challenging in order to help the children get the most out of their activity. Children also learn by taking part in play and activities that are led or directed by adults, and we will have certain tasks that all children are asked to complete over the week. These are often known as ‘adult focus’ activities.

We believe that the balance is the key. We believe that even very young children are capable of participating in taught lessons and can take a lot of enjoyment and learning from them. We also believe that it is an important skill and part of their development as learners that they can sit and engage in lessons.

We also believe that children then need to explore what they have learned, to try things out and ‘play’ with their new knowledge. To support this, we offer high quality continuous provision activities that the children can choose from. This allows the children to take ownership of their learning and to follow their own interests and ideas. Giving children a range of learning and development opportunities in a secure and supportive environment allows them to flourish and grow at their own pace.