learning in Early Years

Welcome to Early Years Information!


Early Years is often a child’s first venture alone into the larger world outside the family home. What children experience and learn in Nursery and Reception can create strong and lasting foundations on which to build in later life, so we believe it is essential that the experiences in the Early Years are of the highest quality.

Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.

A Unique Child

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

Staff at St Aidan’s

• understand and observe each child’s development and learning, assess progress, plan for next steps

• support children to develop a positive sense of their own identity and culture

• identify any need for additional support

• keep children safe

• value and respect all children and families equally

Positive Relationships

Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

Positive relationships are

• warm and loving, and foster a sense of belonging

• sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs, feelings and interests

• supportive of the child’s own efforts and independence

• consistent in setting clear boundaries

• stimulating

• built on key person relationships in early years settings


Enabling Environments

Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.

Enabling Environments

• value all people

• value learning

They offer

• stimulating resources, relevant to all the children’s cultures and communities

• rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching 

• support for children to take risks and explore


Learning and Development

Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.

They foster the characteristics of effective early learning

• Playing and exploring

• Active learning

• Creating and thinking critically


Click here for the Parental Information Powerpoint


The Communication Friendly Spaces™ Approach




Within Early Years we have used the Communication Friendly Spaces Approach to develop our learning environment to meet the needs of our children. 

The Communication Friendly Spaces™ (CFS™) Approach focuses on the role of the environment in supporting speaking and listening skills, emotional well-being, physical development and general engagement. Elizabeth Jarman conceptualised and developed this approach and now works internationally with partners as a consultant, delivering conference keynotes, training, publishing and also leading action research projects.

Elizabeth Jarman says, ‘it’s critical to understand how the physical space should connect with its intention. I think it’s essential to tune into the environment from the learner’s perspective. To do this, it is really important to observe, reflect and then make informed decisions about the way that children and families interact with the environment if a developmentally appropriate, personalised, responsive learning space is to develop, reflecting preferred contexts for learning.’

The CFS™ Approach involves a great deal more than merely altering the appearance of a learning space. Understanding the theoretical base for the work is essential. With a significant evidence base, so far over 100,000 delegates have accessed CFS™ training globally, with significant impact captured through hard and soft data. Feedback continues to be overwhelmingly positive.

‘This approach provides a framework for review and also begins to challenge some of the outdated historical stereotyped ideas about the way that environments are set up for children today,’ says Elizabeth Jarman.




Teaching staff within the Early Years are trained in Elklan techniques to support children’s Speech, Language and Communication development.

Elklan has been highly successful over the past 12 years at helping the wider workforce develop the speaking and listening skills of all children and especially those with Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

Staff who are trained in ‘Elklan’ are of huge benefit to the children because they:

  • Understand why it so hard for children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs at school

  • Understand the breadth and extent of children's communication difficulties, how this affects their learning and their ability to access the curriculum

  • Can interact at an appropriate level with children with Special Educational Needs and Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

  • Give the children time to speak and understand the importance of actively listening to the child.

  • Can help the children access whatever and wherever they are being taught.

  • Are able to change the way they speak to children so they understand more of what is said.

  • Understand how to help the child with his/her speaking.

  • Can support a child with speech difficulties who has a speech therapy programme to follow.