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Early Years Curriculum


“The first 5 years, have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.”

Bill Gates

At Cambrai, we recognise and value the unique opportunities and benefits that an excellent Early Years curriculum can bring. In response to the OFSTED ‘Bold Beginnings’ report, we have taken the opportunity to revisit, reflect upon and share our expectations for a quality reception year, encompassing our Trust values, and collective experience – along with a realignment of the core principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage:

These principles are:

  • 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 respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers

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

EY doc.JPG

Whilst some aspects of our ‘Trust Ready’ curriculum are academically challenging, we have fully embed and ‘live’ the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning which are:


  • playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go,’

  • active learning - children concentrate, keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements,

  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.


This curriculum is not an excuse for an overly formal, playless or sedentary Early Years experience for our children – on the contrary, our skilled practitioners can develop all aspects of child knowledge and skills through the characteristics above, with a memorable, enjoyable and effectively unique Early Years experience.

Children are statutorily assessed against the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception but our curriculum is broader than the Early Learning Goals. It aims to exemplify, broaden and balance the curriculum and in many cases, deepen it - encompassing key life skills, experiences and expectations, which are not explicitly part of the ‘Early Years Outcomes’ document. For example, the key aspects of early childhood of table manners, responding to greetings, cooking skills and fitness have all been interwoven into our curriculum.


Understanding the World is a central driver to this curriculum. As such, the experiences and expectations detailed within this section are seen as vehicles and contexts for learning across the curriculum. 

In light of the review, this curriculum demands that every child across the Trust:

  • Actively listens and takes part in five a day' language rich experiences each day (stories, poems, raps,
    rhymes, nursery rhymes, tongue twisters, songs).

  • Has access to at least one physical education lesson weekly.

  • Uses the 'Trust Bear' as a common context for learning and sharing.

  • Is expected to have the opportunity to develop accurate letter and number formation prior to year 1.

  • Develops a love of learning – they are confident, articulate and increasingly 
    independent learners, because their curriculum is fun, inspiring and relevant.

Our curriculum focuses on the 7 areas of learning of the Early Years Foundation Stage : 

  • communication and language

  • physical development

  • personal, social and emotional development

  • literacy

  • mathematics

  • understanding the world

  • expressive arts and design

For a copy of the presentation shared with new parents of children joining reception, detailing routines, systems and expectatons, click here.  

Here is our current Reception Long Term Overview
This document details our 'topics' over the year, links to National Curriculum subjects and our progression in songs and rhymes, which link to our topics. Download the document here

Here are our topic links for parents - with tips and hints for home. These are updated each half term.


Topic 1 This is me!  

Topic 2 Autumn! 

Topic 3 Let There Be Light 

Topic 4 Winter & Christmas

Topic 5 Winter and Polar Animals 

Topic 6 The Year of the Dragon

Topic 7 Cambrai Constructors 

Topic 8 When I Grow Up

Topic 9 New Life

Topic 10 Traditional Tales

Topic 11 The Coronation!

Topic 12 Once Upon a Time


For free websites to support learning at home, or during the school closures, see our 'Remote Education' page, here.

Kids in Slide
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