At Kirkstall Valley, our Early Years Foundation Stage setting, comprising a Nursery class and Reception class, is a special place where children flourish. The experienced and passionate EY team work together tirelessly to create an environment of emotional security and happiness where every child is respected, valued and cared for – an environment that gives an amazing scope for learning. We provide a high-quality, broad, meaningful education where the whole child is nurtured and grounded in both the academic aspects of learning and the social and emotional foundations underpinning these. We understand how vital developing resilience and confidence is to each child’s wellbeing. The positive atmosphere in EYFS is created through warm and caring relationships not only between each child and their Key Person, but with every member of staff. The wellbeing of every child comes before everything else.

We welcome children into our Nursery from the age of 3. We have separate classrooms for Nursery and Reception, who share two large, well-equipped outdoor areas. It is wonderful to see all the children in Early Years building positive relationships with each other and with all staff members. Transitions are carefully planned, children settle well into EYFS, and we are proud of the way our Nursery children successfully transfer into Reception class and then on into Key Stage 1.

Our staff work together to design inviting and vibrant areas where children can develop in all areas of learning. Recently, new climbing, balancing and traversing equipment have been fitted in the outdoor area and a gardening area is currently being developed with the help of the children. They love watching their plants grow and change!

In addition to the Foundation Stage’s wonderful classrooms and outdoor areas, we regularly use many other areas in the school, including:

- Tyre Park with large equipment for climbing, jumping, running and sliding; - School hall for P.E., performances and assemblies; - School Library; - Wildlife area and pond; - Picnic area with beds for planting and growing vegetables.

The EYFS curriculum is carefully planned to give all children the knowledge, self-belief and cultural capital they need to succeed. (Please see the ‘What we teach’ section of the website for more details). We understand that children mature in each area of development at their own pace and in their own ways. Our curriculum is coherently sequenced and takes into account the interests and learning needs of each child. It builds on what children know and can do and starts from familiar points with each child, connecting the learning to their individual world. All children have time to initiate and plan their own learning so that they can explore their interests and develop and apply the skills they need to be independent learners. The children love learning; they can talk about their own learning; how they manage the challenges it brings; and, how they celebrate their successes. We promote independence and believe that children learn more effectively if they are given the strategies to do so: if they understand how they can make decisions and investigate for themselves, they will become more interested, more capable, and keen to learn.

When we welcome a new child to Kirkstall Valley, we welcome their family too - we pride ourselves on the close partnerships we build with every family. Parents and carers are our partners in teaching, facilitating and celebrating children's learning.

We have one childhood and one chance at education so we can achieve our very best and have a successful career and a happy, healthy lifestyle. Every moment is precious. In our Early Years setting we strive to create a special place where children develop a love of learning. We are proud to be able to support them to become the best possible version of themselves!