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Foundation Phase and Nursery Education

The Foundation Phase

Is a new approach to learning for children from 3-7 years of age. It combines what we currently call Early Years Education (for 3 to 5-year-olds) and Key Stage 1 (5 to 7-year-olds) of the National Curriculum. Children will learn through first hand experiences with play providing the vehicle. Through their play, children practice and consolidate their learning, play with ideas, experiment, take risks, solve problems, and make decisions.

Seven Area of Learning in the Foundation Phase

Seven areas of learning have been identified to describe the Foundation Phase. These must complement each other and all work together to provide a practical relevant curriculum for 3 to 7 year olds. Emphasis is placed on developing children’s skills across all areas of learning.

The Seven areas of learning are:

Creative Development
This area of learning focuses on developing imagination and creativity. Their natural curiosity and disposition to learn is stimulated by everyday sensory experiences.

Physical Development
Enthusiasm and energy for movement is continually promoted through helping children to use their bodies effectively. Spatial awareness, balance, control and co-ordination is encouraged to develop motor and manipulative skills.

Knowledge and Understanding of the world
Children will be given experiences that increase their curiosity about the world around them and to begin to understand past events, people and places, livings things and the work people do.

Welsh Language Development
Welsh Language skills are developed through communicating in a range of enjoyable, practical planned activities and using a range of stimuli that build on children’s previous knowledge and experiences.

Mathematical Development
Children will use numbers in their daily activities and develop a range of flexible methods for working mentally with numbers. They will then move onto using more formal methods of working and recording when they are developmentally ready.

Language Literacy and Communication Skills
These skills will be developed through talking, signing, communicating and listening. Children will be encouraged to communicate their needs, feelings and thoughts and retell their experiences. As most of our schools in Ceredigion use Welsh as the main language of tuition in the Foundation Phase, this Area of Learning is only relevant to those schools which are on the developmental stage of the Welsh Language continuum as stated in the Welsh Language Strategy.

Personal and Social Development, Well-Being and Cultural Diversity
This area of learning focuses on children learning about themselves, their relationships with other children and adults.


The Welsh Assembly Government has set aside a substantial budget to meet the needs of the Foundation Phase. This includes:

  • training staff
  • supporting non maintained settings which provide education for 3 to 4 year old children outside the County Council
  • employment of support staff to ensure a ratio of 1:8 for classes which educate children under 5 years of age; 1:15 for classes which educate children between 5 and 7 years of age. The employment of staff depends on the number of pupils in a class or year group.


For further information please contact Mary Davies School Improvement Officer at 01970 633600. email

Foundation Phase Parents Brochure

How is my Child doing in the Foundation Phase

SNAP Cymru – Parent Partnership Service