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Early Years Pathway

The Early Years Pathway provides child-centred, individualised learning opportunities for our youngest children as they embark on their learning journey at Penn Hall School.  All of our children between 3 and 7 years will follow the Early Years pathway. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage framework to inform and guide our provision.

Our focus as children first join our school centres on the three prime areas of Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development which is widened and enriched by the specific areas of Understanding of the World and Creative Development.  The teaching of Literacy and Numeracy is introduced when a child is developmentally ready.

Our curriculum provision and practice is underpinned by the four guiding principles of the EYFS:

  • Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences are planned on the basis of their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.

  • Children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates.

​The delivery of the curriculum is based around learning through play to engage children with active learning, exploration and becoming a critical thinker. A three-year topic cycle ensures breadth and balance. We base children’s learning intentions around the outcomes in their EHCP to ensure that learning is relevant and personalised. It builds on their individual strengths and interests, enabling progress through the vehicles of sensory learning, play, and discrete specialist teaching. This ensures the holistic curriculum (people, environment, activities and events) considers each pupil’s individual needs or barriers to learning, how these can impact on their ability to learn, and how best to overcome them.

Communication and Language gives children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and understanding others; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical Development provides opportunities for children to be active and interactive, to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement, to understand and make healthy choices.

Personal, Social, and Emotional Development helps children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Understanding the world enables children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design enables children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials and provides opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Literacy encourages children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.

Mathematics provides children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measure.


We aim for our  pupils in the Early Years Pathway to:

  • Enjoy their first experiences of school and for each day to be happy, positive and fun.

  • Develop as communicators, thinkers and problem solvers. We want them to develop a ‘can do’ attitude, take a risk, engage in new experiences and learn by trial and error.

  • Learn how to play and to use play to extend their learning.

  • Understand they have a voice and to develop their skills in order that they are able to communicate  their particular interests and preferences.  

  • Use their senses to widen their learning and to explore the world around them. 


This is through:


  • The Early Years practitioner’s secure knowledge and understanding of each pupil’s unique abilities and ways of learning.

  • Efficient and clear planning and recording strategies incorporating all medical, feeding, communication, sensory and physiotherapy needs.

  • Effective reflection upon and evaluation of what each pupil can do, how they learn and achieve.


By the time children leave the Early Years pathway and move to either the informal , semi formal or formal pathways we aim that they will:​


  • be developing their ability to communicate and have  a detailed communication profile, detailing key strategies and supporting their transition into Key Stage Two.

  • be developing their cognition, physical and self help skills

  • enjoy a range of learning opportunities​

  • accept and enjoy the company of other people​

  • feel settled, safe and secure and valued in their surroundings and with familiar adults and peers​

  • be ready to access wider areas of the building and school site with less anxiety around transitions.​

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