Learning and Development

Play helps young children to learn and develop through doing and talking, which research has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think.

The Ark Pre-School uses the EYFS guidance to plan and provide a range of play activities which help children to make progress in each of the seven areas of learning and development. Some of these activities will be child-led, and in others an adult takes the lead in helping children take part.

Characteristics of effective learning

We understand that all children engage with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning that are described in the EYFS (2017) guidance.

  1. Playing and exploring – engagement
  2. Active learning – motivation, and
  3. Creating and thinking critically

We aim to provide for these characteristics of effective learning in order to support each child to remain an effective and motivated learner.

We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (updated EYFS 2021), the statutory framework that sets the standards for Learning, Development and Care for children from birth up to 5. The EYFS sets the standards that all early years’ providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

Four guiding principles shape our practice:

  • Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Children develop & learn in different ways and at different rates

Teaching and learning is based on the EYFS seven areas of learning and development, with three prime areas;

  • Communication and Language Development
  • Personal Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development

The four specific subjects are;

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Art and Design


We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them frequently. We use information that we gain from observations, as well as from photographs of children, to document their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents know their children best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their children like to do at home and how they, as parents, are supporting development.  We do this by sharing an online Learning Journal provided through FAMLY.

We make periodic assessment summaries of children’s achievement based on our ongoing development records. These form part of children’s records of achievement. We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals as well as times of transition, such as when a child moves on to another setting or starts school.

In addition, we follow the EYFS guideline for assessment arrangements and carry out a 2 year old check where necessary.

We understand that this is a learning journey for your child and one which your Primary school will continue. We focus in the last year that your child has with us the need for transition to school and will help your child become ready for that move.