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Hillcrest Early Years Academy

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Early Years Curriculum

Hillcrest Early Years Academy


A Hillcrest Early Years Academy, our EYFS curriculum aims to support all children to develop into confident, happy, well rounded, creative, and independent learners. Through our exciting and nurturing environments, we can support the children to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to start their learning journey and lead fulfilling lives.

Our intent is to secure solid learning foundations and develop the children’s independence so they have the best start to their learning journey.


At Hillcrest Early Years Academy, our Early Years Foundation Stage department consists of 4 rooms. Our Little sparkles (2-3year old) are based in our cabin and have their own age-appropriate outdoor area. Our Little Gems (3-4year old) are based in their own nursery room and have their own outdoor classroom with access to another EYFS outdoor area. We are a 2-form entry school, we have 2 reception classes that each have their own indoor and outdoor classroom and have access to the EYFS outdoor area. We all have well-resourced indoor and outdoor classrooms that allow us to build on each child’s learning journey. We provide continuous provision and learning opportunities through our ‘Discovery Time’ and the children can explore and develop their knowledge through exciting, engaging and fun trays, areas, and activities inside and outside the classroom.

Our bespoke curriculum is underpinned by the EYFS ‘Development Matters’ document, our Gem Power Project and our Academy’s 5 core values.

M – Memories

A  Ambitious Aspirations

G – Growth

I  Independence

C  Courage


Our curriculum links to the Key Stage 1 curriculum so that our pupils can have a smooth transition into Year 1, Year 2 and beyond.

Teachers plan key objectives in a play-based approach to learning. We aim for all children to discover independently and our insightful adults can provide meaningful quality interactions to ensure each child has an opportunity to thrive. We refer to our EYFS progression map to underpin our continuous provision activities.


At Hillcrest Early Years Academy, the children in our EYFS will demonstrate high levels of engagement through our adult led and child led opportunities. By developing their speaking and listening skills, we can provide the children with a solid foundation for their educational life.

The children will create memories that inspire them to make ambitious aspirations for their future. Our children will become independent learners and will be able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations.

From their own unique starting points, we expect all children, even those at risk of disadvantage to achieve their early learning goals and/or to make excellent progress throughout their time in our Early Years setting.

A message from the EYFS Lead 


Welcome to Hillcrest Early Years Academy's EYFS curriculum page. Children can start learning with us from 2 years old in our Little Sparkles cabin. After this, the children move to our Little Gems Nursery. The children then start their first year of school in Reception where we have 2 classes children could be placed into that are called Diamond class and Ruby Class. 


In our EYFS rooms, we explore provision through our 'Discovery Time'. Our rooms are open for exploration and the children are invited to discover, investigate, play and learn. We create a unique balance in our learning environments and allow the children to explore areas of the classroom that are always there/enhanced throughout the year and focus activities that link to our learning objectives. With our focus activities, we aim to create exciting invitations to learn and inspire our children to see the Magic within their learning environment. 


We have created our own bespoke curriculum that links to to the EYFS Framework and works towards the Early Learning Goals so the children are ready to continue their learning journey into Key Stage 1 and beyond. 


We encourage the children to develop independence through their discovery time and their learning within setting. In each classroom, we have independent choosing shelves relating to an area of learning. The children particularly love our maths, construction and small world independent choosing shelves. 


We are able to follow the children's progression of skills through incredible communication within our team and our classrooms reflecting each others. We are able to build on prior knowledge from our close links between Nursery 1 and 2 and Reception.


We encourage a love of reading from an early age through regular story times and an invitation to explore books through our magical classroom libraries. In Reception, we share a library as well as having our own classroom book corners. We also vote for a story to read every day and we have books throughout our environment that link to our independent choosing shelves. In Reception, we also take part in a 'Drop Everything And Read' every Wednesday afternoon. We take this time to choose a story and read independently, with friends or share a book with an adult. At any opportunity, we invite our families in to share stories and engage in discovery time.


In Little Sparkles we start our phonics journey through links in the environment;, provision and Quality Interactions. In Little Gems, we start our Phase 1 phonics by following the Little Wandle 'Foundation for Phonics' planning. This helps us to say our sounds and practice our oral blending. In Reception, we start Phase 2 Phonics in the second week of learning. We then progress through Phase 3 and Phase 4 throughout the year. We want to give our children the best possible start to their reading journey. As well as our phonics lessons, reception all take part in 3 weekly group reading sessions. 


We love to learn in our new outdoor environments. Little Sparkles had their outdoor area created in October 2022 and have created a free flow environment, where the children can choose to learn indoors or outdoors during Discovery time. Little Gems and both Reception classes share our big EYFS outdoor area where there is lots of opportunity to practice our gross motor skills and investigate the natural environment. The team also enhances this area to follow the children's interests and their learning objectives. As well as our big outdoor area, Little Gems and both reception classes also have their own outdoor classrooms where the children can free flow and explore prior learning and current learning objectives. 


As a team, we understand the importance of Quality Interactions within the environment and endeavour to provide these at every opportunity. We find the opportunity to learn and explore in every conversation. 


If you have any questions about our EYFS, please don't hesitate to call our school office and ask for our EYFS Lead. 


Thank you so much, 


Miss Laura McCutcheon