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EYFS Literacy Education Programme (Statutory)

It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (Spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).



  • Teach formation as they learn the sounds for each letter, encouraging an effective pen grip.
  • When forming letters, the starting point and direction are more important at this stage than the size or position of the letter on a line.
  • Show children how to touch each finger as they say each sound.
  • For exception words such as ‘the’ and ‘said’, help children identify the sound that is tricky to spell.
  • Support children to form the complete sentence orally before writing.
  • Help children rehearse the sentence before writing by repeatedly saying it aloud.
  • Only ask children to write sentences when they have sufficient knowledge of letter-sound correspondences.
  • Dictate sentences and ensure that they contain only the taught sound-letter correspondences.

Model how you read and re-read your own writing to check it makes sense


Writing (Development Matters)

  • Form lower-case and capital letters correctly.
  • Spell words by identifying the sounds and then writing the sound with letter/s.
  • Write short sentences with words with known sound-letter correspondences.
  • Re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense.


Writing (Early Learning Goals)

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.
  • Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters.
  • Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.


EYFS Fine Motor Skills (Development Matters)

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.


Fine Motor Skills (Development Matters)

  • Before teaching children the correct pencil grip and posture for writing, or how to use a knife and fork and cut with scissors, check:
    • that children have developed their upper arm and shoulder strength sufficiently: they do not need to move their shoulders as they move their hands and fingers
    • that they can move and rotate their lower arms and wrists independently
  • Help children to develop the core strength and stability they need to support their small motor skills.
  • Encourage and model tummy-crawling, crawling on all fours, climbing, pulling themselves up on a rope and hanging on monkey bars. Offer children activities to develop and further refine their small motor skills. Suggestions: threading and sewing, woodwork, pouring, stirring, dancing with scarves, using spray bottles, dressing and undressing dolls, planting and caring for plants, playing with small world toys, and making models with junk materials, construction kits and malleable materials like clay.
  • Regularly review the equipment for children to develop their small motor skills. Is it appropriate for the different levels of skill and confidence of children in the class? Is it challenging for the most dexterous children?
  • Continuously check how children are holding pencils for writing, scissors and knives and forks. Offer regular, gentle encouragement and feedback. With regular practice, the physical skills children need to eat with a knife and fork and develop an efficient handwriting style will become increasingly automatic.
  • Provide areas for sitting at a table that are quiet, purposeful and free of distraction.
  • Give children regular, sensitive reminders about correct posture: Provide different chairs at the correct height for the range of children in the class, so that their feet are flat on the floor or a footrest. Provide different tables at the correct height for the range of children in the class. The table supports children’s forearms. The top of the table is slightly higher than the height of the child’s elbow flexed to 90 degrees.
  • Encourage children to draw freely.
  • Engage children in structured activities: guide them in what to draw, write or copy.
  • Teach and model correct letter formation. Continuously check the process of children’s handwriting (pencil grip and letter formation, including directionality). Provide extra help and guidance when needed.

Plan for regular repetition so that correct letter formation becomes automatic, efficient and fluent over time.


Development Matters

Develop their small motor skills so that they can use a range of tools competently, safely and confidently. Suggested tools: pencils for drawing and writing, paintbrushes, scissors, knives, forks and spoons.

Use their core muscle strength to achieve a good posture when sitting at a table or sitting on the floor. Develop the foundations of a handwriting style which is fast, accurate and efficient.


Fine Motor Skills (Early Learning Goals)

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases.
  • Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery.

Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing.