Welcome to Early Years Foundation Stage

Click here to apply for your child’s place at Barley Mow Primary School and Nursery now! 

At Barley Mow Primary we believe that children learn best when they are excited, motivated and interested to learn.  Learning in EYFS is planned to be practical, creative and challenging. Children are encouraged to discover things through their own child initiated play and are involved in adult directed tasks. Above all, the focus for learning is based around the children’s interests.

Our curriculum is based on the fundamental principle that children in Early Years learn through play. This play is purposeful and is supported and developed with adult enhancements and modelling. Children are also taught through adult led activities which are designed to allow children to apply, develop, consolidate and extend their learning. We feel it is important to ensure through teaching and adult interactions that we provide children with the ability to acquire skills such as a growth mind-set, perseverance and resilience.

In order for children to develop a passion for learning we strive to embed the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) in our indoor and outdoor learning environment, with the provision we provide and in our approach to teaching. The characteristics of Effective Learning are based on not what the child will learn but how they will learn. Supporting and developing children’s attitudes and skills to learning that will set the foundations to continue their learning throughout their lifetime. The three Characteristics of Effective Learning are as follows:  

  • Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
  • Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
  • Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Characteristics of Effective Learning Document

The curriculum is based upon seven areas of learning. For each area of learning there is an Early Learning Goal which explain the expectations of skills that children should achieve by the end of their Reception year. These can be found by clicking on the link below


Early Years Policy 2023-2024

The seven areas of learning are as followed:

Prime Areas

Communication and Language

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Physical Development

Specific Areas



Understanding the World

Expressive Art and Design

Tracking Documentation 

Plan, Do, Review


Nursery Sports Day

Wow Nursery had so much fun at their stay and play sports day! We complete a variety of activities which helped us to practice our throwing, balancing and jumping skills. We especially loved the egg and spoon race and the wellie throwing station. Nursery were super...

Reception’s Sports Day.

Reception had the best afternoon on Thursday, when they completed their sports day for all their grown ups. We practised our races for a couple of weeks before the event, to make sure we were amazing. We were put in red, yellow, green and blue teams and completed a...

Parks, Beaches and Holidays!

In Nursery we have currently been learning about ‘holidays, beaches and parks’. To start off this unit we all brought in pictures from our adventures to these places. We loved sharing news in circle time with our friends about what we had been doing with our families....

Where in the World?

Reception have had a very busy few weeks recently, looking at our topics travel, holidays and beaches as well as exploring the vehicles that get us to our destinations. Reception have painted beach pictures in the art area and used real sand to complete their scene....

Nursery Love Vehicles!

Nursery started off this term by looking at different types of vehicles. In our phonics we have enjoyed singing vehicle based songs such as ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and ‘Down by the Station’. In our small group we made our own vehicles! We focused on cars, Nursery...

Take One Picture 2024

Whole School Art Day In conjunction with The National Gallery in London, on Friday, Barley Mow Primary School pupils once again took part in the annual Take One Picture art project. This involves studying an art work from the gallery's collection alongside other...

Olympic 2024 Celebrations

To celebrate this year’s Olympics in Paris, the whole school took part in a range of activities. The children were able to create their own torches at home and there were some fantastic entries. The winner from each class was awarded their very own medal. During the...


Reception had the most amazing time outdoors at Gibside today. We started our day at the walled garden, on a mini-beast hunt. We explored the grounds and found spiders, ladybirds, worms and more using our magnifying glasses and pots to observe them closer. Reception...

Mad about Mini-beasts.

Reception have had such a busy couple of weeks, learning about mini-beasts. We made different types of mini-beast art ,which includes using our cutting and sticking skills to make collages like the artist Henry Matisse, which we have previously learnt about. We made...

Learning about mini-beasts

Nursery have loved learning about mini- beasts this term. We have been looking at where mini-beats live and what they like to eat. We couldn’t believe worms eat mud! We have been practicing moving our bodies like different bugs and searching for mini- beasts in our...