Early Years Department

The Early Years Department at St Bernard’s is a welcoming, stimulating environment where your child will be inspired and motivated to learn. They will develop and achieve through commitment, team work and a sense of belonging to a caring school community.

Our strengths are:

  • The high quality education we provide to all children
  • The happy, safe and secure learning environment
  • The positive relationships established between staff, governors, children and the school community as a whole.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage ( E.Y.F.S)?

  • The E.Y.F.S. is the stage of education for children from birth to the end of the Reception year.
  • It is based on the recognition that children learn best through play and active learning.

It is developed around 4 themes that underpin the EYFS;

1. A unique Child- Observe what a child is learning

2 .Positive Relationships- What adults can do

3. Enabling Environments- What adults could provide

4. Learning and Developing- Children’s achievements  through the above Areas of learning…

The New Foundation Stage Curriculum for 2012


  1.   Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  2.   Communication and Language
  3.   Physical Development

These are crucial for developing children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.

Then there are 4 SPECIFIC AREAS

4.   Literacy;

5.  Mathematics;

6.  Understanding the world;

 7.  Expressive arts and design

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Become self-confident and self aware;
  • Making and building relationships
  • Know what their own needs are;
  • Dress and undress independently;
  • Become independent
  • Manage feelings and behaviour - tell the difference between right and wrong.

Communication and Language

  • Encourages children to develop conversational skills in a rich language environment and in a range of situations
  • Will help children to develop listening and concentration skills.
  • Enables children to express themselves and understand and act on instructions given to them.

Physical Development

  • Supports children’s healthy development.
  • Provides opportunities for using a range of large and small equipment.
  • Helps them to develop a sense of space around themselves and others.
  • Encourages balance.
  • Develops practical skills such as dressing, undressing etc
  • Handling equipment and tools effectively including pencils for writing.
  • Fine motor skills


Reading- Continue a rhyming string

  • Link sounds and letters
  • Segment sounds in words and blend them
  • Read  words and simple sentences

Writing- Encourages children to develop pencil control and to begin to make marks on paper.

  • Communicate meaning through clearly identifiable letters
  • Write for a wide range of purpose- name, labels

Mathematical Development


  • Helps children to count up to ten and beyond.
  • Supports children's understanding of numbers

Shape, space and measure

  • Encourages the use of mathematical words such as greater, smaller, heavier, lighter, more, less etc
  • Develops skills in comparing and sorting objects.

Supports children’s understanding of shape and size including 2D and 3D shapes

Understanding the World

  • People and communities- Helps children to gain an understanding of their world 
  • Encourages them to look at changes over time (History)
  • Encourages them to explore, observe  and investigate their environment (Science)
  • Helps to develop designing and making skills (DT)
  • Will give your children the opportunity to understand and use information and communication technology  and understand how it is used in homes and schools (ICT).

 Expressive Arts and Design

  • Inspires children to explore colour and colour changes.
  • Helps them to explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques
  • Experiment with colour, design, and textures
  • Develops an interest in music, singing, music-making and dancing.
  • Develops confidence and imagination.

What can you do to help your child’s learning when they begin school?

  • Sharing books, talking about the pictures
  • Reading Book, make comments in their reading diary
  • Read/share books at least 3 times a week
  • Ongoing-encourage mark making, shopping lists etc.
  • Encourage children to talk.
  • Practise counting at any time-climbing the stairs, shopping etc
  • Play simple board games
  • Sing number rhymes and songs together
  • Support any homework that comes home, sounds and number work