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The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the stage of education from birth to five. At The Russell School this includes the Nursery and Reception years.

In this time children learn through a play based curriculum where they are given the opportunity to talk, observe, plan, question, experiment, test, repeat, reflect and respond, independently, with peers or with adults. The EYFS provides children with the skills they need to progress onto Key Stage One which includes Year One and Year Two. The staff across these stages of development work closely together to ensure our children have the best possible experience of education right from the start.

The practitioners working within the EYFS focus on seven key areas of learning. They will work towards achieving the development points in the:

Prime Areas

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
    This includes making relationships, self-confidence and self-awareness and managing feelings and behaviour
  • Physical Development
    This includes moving and handling (fine and gross motor skills), health and self-care
  • Communication and Language
    This includes listening and attention, understanding and speaking

Specific Areas

  • Literacy
    This includes reading and writing
  • Mathematics
    This includes number, shape and space and measure
  • Understanding the World
    This includes people and communities, the world and technology
  • Expressive Arts and Design
    This includes exploring and using media and materials and being imaginative

The Nursery

Our Nursery is part of our Foundation Stage. The Nursery has its own classroom and an outdoor area which they share with Reception Class. Children can join the Nursery from the September after they are three years old and will go to Reception Class the September after they turn four. They will attend a morning session which is three hours and can choose to remain in school for lunchtime and the afternoon as paid, wrap around play sessions. We also offer some 30 free-hours places. 

The Nursery children are taught the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum by a team of dedicated staff including a teacher and teaching assistants. These adults will help and guide the children to make steps in their learning throughout their time in the Nursery.

The Nursery is led by the Early Years Foundation Stage Leader who works closely with the Nursery staff. Children in the Nursery are included in many aspects of main school life. They take part in whole school activities such as sports day, special days and themed weeks. They attend some assemblies and perform in a Christmas production. They are also very closely linked with our Reception Class. The children learn through play and are prepared for the next steps in their learning when they will continue their Foundation Stage development into their Reception year.


Reception is a continuation and development of the learning that has taken place at Nursery whether they attend The Russell School Nursery or another feeder Nursery.

The children have their own classroom space and an outdoor area which they share with the Nursery. The class is staffed with a dedicated teacher and a teaching assistant, with a maximum of 30 children.

The children will work on all of the areas of the EYFS and will be encouraged to become more independent. They will complete some slightly more structured activities than they would have encountered in the Nursery but will still gain most of their knowledge and skills through play.

Children in Reception become more involved with the rest of the school and begin to attend more assemblies. They take part in a Christmas production and are more involved with themed activities and sports day. They will also have playtimes and lunchtimes with the other children in the school.