Literacy Policy


This policy is a statement of the aims, principals and strategies for learning and teaching within the area of Literacy.


What is Literacy in the Foundation Stage?

The EYFS 2012 states that

“Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.  Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.”


In the Revised EYFS 2012 Literacy is one of the four specific areas of learning in the EYFS framework.  It has been separated from the other aspects of Communication and Language – listening, speaking and understanding – which are all considered to be prime areas of learning.


“Prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.      

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.  The specific areas are:

  • literacy;
  • mathematics;
  • understanding the world; and
  • expressive arts and design.” EYFS 2012


The three prime areas should be the focus for practitioners working with the youngest children as they form the basis for successful learning and progress in the four specific areas.  As children become older the emphasis will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as the children’s confidence and abilities increase.


Literacy covers several areas of learning and development which were found within ‘Communication, Language and Literacy’,’ Linking Sounds and Letters’, and ‘Handwriting ’ in the original EYFS framework;  these are now found in ‘Reading and Writing’, as well as in aspects of ‘Physical Development, Moving and Handling.’


To help children develop their reading skills, practitioners should make sure they have access to a wide range of reading materials – books, poems, electronic books and other written materials – to ignite their interest.  They should allow plenty of time for children to browse and share these resources with adults and other children.

Early Learning Goal for reading

“Children read and understand simple sentences.  They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately.  They also read some common irregular words.  They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read”


To help children develop their writing skills, practitioners should plan an environment that is rich in signs, symbols, numbers, and words.  They should allow children to see adults writing who then encourage children to write for themselves, through making marks, personal writing symbols, and conventional script.


Early Learning Goal for writing

“Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.  They also write some irregular common words.  They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others.  Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.”


“Practitioners working with the youngest children should focus on the prime areas, but also recognise that the foundations of all areas of learning are laid from birth” – for example literacy in the very early sharing of books.”            [Tickell Review of the EYFS, 2011]


The Revised EYFS states

“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”.


Each child is unique

Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured”.   EYFS 2012

At Hadfield Nursery School we aim to recognise each child as a Unique Child:

We value each child as an individual accepting their individual needs, and rates of development.

  • We identify and respond to any particular needs in children’s language development at an early stage.
  • We show particular awareness of, and sensitivity to, the needs of children learning English as an additional language, using their home language when appropriate and ensuring close teamwork between practitioners, parents and bilingual workers so that the children’s developing use of English and other languages support each other.
  • For children who may need to use alternative communication systems, we provide opportunities for them to discover ways of recording ideas and to gain access to texts in an alternative way, for example through ICT.
  • We aim to support children in recognising that their views count and that their opinion is valued, eg in following children’s interests and ideas in this area.

The Importance of Positive Relationships

“Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.” EYFS 2012

At Hadfield Nursery School we aim to promote Positive Relationships:

  • We respect parents/carers as the child’s first and continuing educator, and work with parents/carers to support and encourage their child’s development.
  • We allocate  a key worker to each child who will make a special bond with the child and their family and thus support and guide them through their nursery experience.  The key worker observes the child at play to gain an insight into their developing needs, so that each child achieves the very best they can.
  • We helping children to communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings, and build-up relationships with adults and each other.
  • We give daily opportunities to share and enjoy a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, rhymes, music, songs, poetry and stories.
  • We provide children with the opportunity to see adults reading and writing, and encourage children to experiment with writing for themselves through making marks, personal writing symbols and conventional script.
  • We aim to support children to work together and begin to take account of ideas and preferences which differ from their own.


The provision of an Enabling Environment


“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.” EYFS 2012


At Hadfield Nursery School we aim to promote Enabling Environments:

  • We plan an environment that is rich in signs, symbols, notices, numbers, words, rhymes, books, pictures, music and songs that take into account children’s different interests, understandings, home backgrounds and cultures.
  • We aim to create an environment where it is “safe” to make mistakes, to share thoughts and ideas, explore different options, and work collaboratively.
  • We allow time for children to browse and share these resources with adults and other children.
  • We provide time and relaxed opportunities for children to develop spoken language through sustained conversations between children and adults, both one-to-one and in small groups and between the children themselves.  We allow children time to initiate conversations, respect their thinking time and silences, and help them develop the interaction.
  • We aim to support children with additional needs by providing supplementary experiences and information about the world around them in appropriate formats.


Learning and Teaching within Literacy

Effective Learning at Hadfield Nursery School involves:

  • Catering for different learning styles (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic).
  • Our children being in a secure and happy environment that is rich in print.
  • Participating in play where our children are given the opportunities to imagine and to recreate experiences, and communicate their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a range of expressive forms, such as body movement, art, dance and songs.  As they play they will practise doing and saying things that they are not yet able to do.  They can capture their actions in drawing, painting, thoughts and ideas, writing, or the use of a digital camera/video, or talking tins.  Through this they learn that pictures and words are symbols for meaning.
  • Our children being able to use literacy in every part of their curriculum.  Their learning is not compartmentalised and they require a freedom to make connections between experiences and ideas that are related to any aspect of their life in nursery at home or in the wider environment.


Effective teaching at Hadfield Nursery School involves :


  • Staff valuing “talk” in our children, and encouraging them to communicate with each other and adults wherever possible.  Show them how what they say can be written and read.
  • Staff helping the children to feel both confident and motivated in order that they can develop their speaking and listening skills.  Staff acting as role models, sharing books with the children, and providing key language connected to a particular activity.
  • Staff sharing books, and reading stories, poems and rhymes and telling stories to the children daily, demonstrating the use of language for reading and communicating.  Library time provides an excellent opportunity for staff to help children understand how books and texts work.   Similarly staff will make sure that they regularly write in front of the children in all areas of the nursery environment.
  • Observing and listening to children to better understand their interests and provide opportunities/resources for child-initiated learning.
  • Developing children’s phonological awareness, particularly through rhyme and alliteration, and their knowledge of the alphabetic code.  This is implemented through our focused activities, little group times and a specific topic related rhyme of the week which is also distributed to parents.


Planning for Literacy

Planning at Hadfield Nursery School is devised in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework and Guidance (“Development Matters” 2012) and from observation and assessment of children’s needs. It takes into account:


  • The nursery’s two year rolling programme
  • Assessment/levels and stages of development
  • Records (including the nursery profile)
  • I.E.P.’s where necessary
  • Observations
  • Targeting specific children, including gifted and talented children
  • Individual learning styles.
  • Continuous monitoring


Effective planning includes:

  • Well-equipped indoor and outdoor writing areas with display boards for both children and staff, open shelving for labelled resources, permanent writing table and evidence of print in the environment.
  • Opportunities both indoors and outdoors, which allow for meaningful writing, and oral communication.
  • The implementation of a variety of “imaginative settings” which change over the terms.
  • A book corner and library area, digital camera/video, talking tins, Bee Bots, Remote Control Toys, metal detectors, computer subject related software, tape recorders, sound stations and interactive whiteboard.
  • Class groups (twice weekly) encourage “listening” within a large group.
  • Key worker groups (thrice weekly) meeting  at the end of the session to share rhymes, songs, poems, mimes and books.
  • The development of permanent small groups meeting daily with their key worker to implement specific tasks and to enable the development of close relationships.
  • Display boards with extensive labelling.
  • Use of name cards for registering, and encouraging children to use a variety of media to sign in with.
  • Participation in a wide variety of games.
  • Freedom of expression using both the inside and outside environment.
  • Watching, responding and copying staff writing and reading.


Observation, Assessment, Monitoring and Record-Keeping

Children’s skills and stages of development are observed and monitored by key-workers and the whole teaching team.  Observations may be long or short and supported by evidence such as annotated photographs or pieces of work when possible. These observations also include Levels of Well-being and Involvement (Laevers).  Samples of writing are levelled each term, and targets are given to develop their writing skills.


Records of individual children’s progress and achievement are kept electronically as part of each child’s “Markbook” on Classroom Monitor. These observations and records inform planning, identify specific targets for each child, may identify a learning difficulty or talent, and provide the school with the means to monitor cohort progress and collect data on the effectiveness of the provision.


Data collected each half-term will identify children requiring additional support or challenging in this specific area of learning  (see Medium Term Planning).


Children’s progress in Literacy is shared with parents/carers during consultations, during the child’s Curriculum Consultation during their third term in Nursery.  This enables two-way sharing of information and the planning of “next steps”.


Supporting  All our Children’s Needs

  • Provision will be made to meet the individual requirements of children with any additional needs, to enable them to make progress in Literacy and achieve their full potential, eg through specific targets as part of an Individual Support Plan.
  • Staff will liaise and work closely with other professionals involved with the child and respond to the advice they offer.
  • Where necessary, resources and equipment to support children with additional needs will be procured from other agencies.


Equal Opportunities

At Hadfield Nursery School we aim to offer children and their families a safe environment, free from harassment and discrimination, in which children’s contributions are valued and where racial and religious beliefs are respected.  We aim to challenge discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, ability, or culture.  We will be particularly sensitive to those children for whom English is not their first language, by working closely with parents/carers and any other bilingual staff, to support the child’s development of both languages.

All children will be treated as individuals and they will have full access to all elements of Literacy provision and opportunities, regardless of race, gender, ability, or culture.  Our enabling environment will take into account children’s different interests, understandings, home backgrounds and cultures.


Health & Safety – Managing Risk

The health and safety of the children will be paramount, and as with all areas of learning, we aim to ensure that the work and activities carried out by the school do not adversely affect the health and safety of other people.


The Role of the Subject- Co-ordinator

The Subject Co-ordinator is responsible for

  • the writing and reviewing of the Policy for Literacy
  • the development and auditing of this area of learning
  • ensuring that all children receive their entitlement to all the elements of this area of learning
  • identifying and meeting the needs of those children who show a particular talent in this area
  • Identifying and meeting the needs of children with special educational needs or disability
  • monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and learning in this area and the children’s progress towards ELG’s
  • monitoring, maintaining and ordering resources
  • supporting colleagues in their understanding and delivery of this area of learning
  • identifying and attending relevant courses to promote continued professional development (CPD) and to feed-back to the Head-teacher and staff.
  • ensure equality of opportunity and access to all aspects of Literacy
  • liaise with the Governor with curriculum responsibility for Literacy in order to support their monitoring.


Linked Documentation

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Policy for Equalities, Differences and Cohesion
  • Behaviour, Discipline and Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Policy for Teaching and Learning
  • Assessment and Recording Policy
  • Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Policy (incorporating Modern British Values)
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