The Foundation Phase is the statutory curriculum for all 3 to 7-year olds in Wales, in both maintained and funded non-maintained settings. Marking a radical departure from the more formal, competency-based approach associated with the previous Key Stage 1 National Curriculum, it was designed to provide a developmental, experiential, play-based approach to teaching and learning. Drawing on evidence from good early years programmes in Scandinavia, Reggio Emilia and New Zealand (Te Wh ãriki) that indicate the adoption of an overly formal curriculum and extensive formal teaching before the age of six or seven can result in lower standards of attainment in the longer term, it set out to provide an experiential, play-based approach to learning for children aged 3 to 7-years-old. The approach emphasises the centrality of the child and the significance of children's wellbeing and advocates a balance of child-initiated and practitioner-directed (or practitionerinitiated) activities within stimulating indoor and outdoor environments.
Published: May 2015