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The University of Southampton
Early Years CentrePart of Student Services

Learning through play

Early childhood years are a time for fun and physical growth, but also a time for creating the foundations of your child’s enjoyment for learning.

We promote the idea that play is the natural and most effective way a child learns. Through play, children learn to concentrate, try out ideas, imitate grown-ups, develop their imagination, share and socialise. Play activities provided at the Centre include creative play, imaginative play, play with natural materials and activities to encourage scientific interest, reasoning skills and individual choice making.


In order to ensure continuity of care, each child is allocated a member of staff as a Keyworker. As a result of observing your child's day-to-day activities, your Keyworker will have a detailed knowledge of your child's progress and developmental needs, and therefore can plan and provide for these needs. Your Keyworker will keep a record of achievements that will follow your child throughout their time at the Centre. This will contain art work, photographs, and observations of what your child did and what they said. All records are available for the parents to look at.

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory framework within which we operate. You will hear the EYFS mentioned a lot at the Centre as it sets the standards for learning, development and care. There are four guiding principles that cover the EYFS and these are:

These principles will be evident from the activities we plan, the way we work in partnership with you, and through the dedicated Keyworker provided to your child to ensure consistency of care.

Two Year-old Progress Check

Around the time of your child’s second birthday we will provide you with a written report summarising your child’s personal, social, emotional and physical development, as well as their communication and language development. We ask that you share this with your Health Visitor at your child’s two year-old health check.

More about EYFS

If you would like to know more about the EYFS you can download information from the Department for Education website or speak to your child’s Keyworker or a member of the management team.

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