Early Years

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.’ Albert Einstein


As each child embarks upon their learning story at St John’s C of E Academy, the four overarching guiding principles that underpin the EYFS are embedded in our practice and shape each child’s experience.  Through our play-based practice and provision, we deliver a curriculum that is in response to our children’s needs, thoughts and ideas, it is broad and balanced with rich opportunities to learn through practical activities shaped and underpinned by the seven areas of learning and development. Opportunities are presented through adult led, adult directed and child led activities and achievements are documented through the voices of parents, the child and the practitioner; photographic evidence and recorded outcomes are also used to showcase experiences. Learning and development opportunities are designed so that they are engaging, through our interactions, we encourage and enable our children to build on their prior knowledge so that they move their learning forward.      

Alongside the delivery of the EYFS curriculum, a child’s ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ also informs planning and provision We aim to provide the right climate to enable our children to work and play together and in a manner that means the most to them thus expanding their learning power, self-belief and curiosity through their interests and preferred learning style.   Play is an important vehicle for taking on new learning and is an essential part of the learning process for young children.  It enables them to be active learners in a child centered environment and is a powerful medium for the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding; it naturally responds to the different developmental needs, interests and learning styles of individual children, ensuring they remain at the centre of all that we do.

The areas of learning are:
  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development
  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design


We believe that optimum learning takes place for our pupils in an environment that is safe, calm, and secure with rich opportunities for enjoyment, exploration and positive relationships.  Our aim is for all pupils to achieve their very best and this is realised through focussed effective teaching and learning presented by knowledgeable and sensitive practitioners who understand how young children learn, by making observational assessments to identify where a child is on their developmental continuum and the possible next steps to take in order to consolidate/accelerate learning.  We research alongside our children, we scaffold, remind and prompt learning and are ourselves reflective critical thinkers.  Participation, consistency, shared values, trust, faith, motivation and optimism are at the heart of all we do to encourage the children in our care to become autonomous learners with unlimited potential.

The Leuven Scales


Definition of Well-Being 

Well Being is a state of mind that can be recognised by satisfaction, enjoyment and pleasure.  The child is relaxed, they express an inner rest, they feel the energy flow and radiate vitality.  They are open to their surroundings and are flexible.

Well Being ...When children feel at ease and enjoy life, act spontaneously and are open to the world around them.  When they are relaxed and in touch with their feelings and emotions -  we know their mental health is secured.


Definition of Involvement 

Involvement is a quality of human activity.  It can be recognised by concentration and persistence and is characterised by motivation, interest and fascination.  A child displays an openness to stimuli, has intense mental energy, shows deep satisfaction and a strong flow of energy.

Involvement...when children are concentrating and focussed, interested, motivated, fascinated and mentally active.  when they can fully experience sensation and meaning, enjoy an exploratory drive and are operating at the very limits of their capabilities - we know that deep learning is taking place.


‘Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.’ Fred Donaldson


We believe that it is the entitlement of everyone to have a positive sense of self and to aspire to be the very best that they can be.  When a child’s self-esteem is high, positive attitudes are fostered and the utmost importance is given to celebrating individuality, their potential is unlimited. A child’s sense of self is based upon equality of opportunity, kindness, patience, dependability and trust and is the foundation upon which new learning is built.

As new skills and knowledge are taught, we want our children to approach everything with a quiet confidence, to be excited and engaged in their learning experiences, motivated by what they encounter and to welcome the challenge that a new way of thinking brings. Variance in how children approach learning is a major source of difference within education; disposition to learning, habits of mind, patterns of thought and ‘grit’ determine success and so developing positive learning behaviour and a growth mindset is at the heart of our practice – our aim is for our children to be the very best that they can be.   

          Belonging          Perseverance          Respect          Forgiveness          Truth          Aspiration