At the Kinabalu International School Early Years Foundation Stage (3 – 5 years old), we want your child to flourish and thrive. We offer a wide range of learning opportunities through a broad and balanced enriched Early Years, through a bespoke wellbeing curriculum, through trips and excursions and through a wide range of enrichment opportunities.

From Reception, the students follow the UK’s Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) as we believe it provides balance, quality and consistency in academic development, pastoral care and creativity for children aged 3 to 5. As an international school, we further enhance this framework by incorporating elements of world cultures, and children’s existing knowledge and interests.

The Early Years Department is structured as follows

ReceptionFor children who turn 3 after 1st September
Foundation 13-4 years of age
Foundation 24-5 years of age


Across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Primary school, children are actively encouraged to be inquisitive and to play a part in their own development and learning. In order for children to discover their full potential, we provide opportunities for collaboration, communication and critical thinking throughout the curriculum. There are four guiding principles shape our practice in EYFS. These are:

  • Every child is a unique child;
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments,
  • Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

In Early Years Foundation Stage we aim to provide:

  • Quality and consistency, so that every child makes good progress;
  • Learning and Development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of the individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly;
  • Effective partnerships with parents;
  • Equality of opportunity, ensuring that every child is included and supported.

We believe that all of these contributes to effective learning in EYFS.

Characteristics Of Effective Learning In EYFS

Playing & Exploring – Engagement

  • Finding out and exploring
  • Playing with what they know
  • Being willing to ‘have a go’

Active Learning – Motivation

  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keep trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do


Creating & Thinking Critically

  • Having their own ideas
  • Making links
  • Choosing ways to do things

In EYFS, the playing, exploring, active learning, creating and thinking they take part in throughout the day, will be based on a series of objectives that will support your child’s learning, enabling them to eventually meet these Early Learning Goals.

These goals are based on areas of learning and development that comprise of the Prime Areas and the Specific Areas

Prime Areas

  • Making relationships
  • Self-confidence and self-awareness
  • Managing feelings and behaviour
  • Moving and handling
  • Health and self-care
  • Listening and attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

Specific Areas

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Numbers
  • Shape, space and measure
  • People and communities
  • The world
  • Technology
  • Exploring and using media and materials
  • Being imaginative

Teaching Methods

In EYFS we teach through a mixture of planned, purposeful play activities and adult-led lessons. To guide high quality teaching and learning of EYFS children, KIS ensures that we provide at least one member of staff for every eight children in Reception and Foundation 1, whilst in Foundation 2 we provide one member of staff for every twelve children.


We believe that play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about and solve problems, and relate to others. A range of play activities are set up in the classrooms each morning. Activities are carefully selected by staff based on knowledge of each child’s stage of development at a given time.

During supported play sessions children choose from a variety of pre-selected activities that;

  • allow them to consolidate and demonstrate knowledge and understanding
  • provide opportunities to apply newly learned skills.

In addition to supported play sessions, students take part in short structured whole class and group lessons, led by the teacher. As children grow older, and as their development allows, children enjoy more teacher-led sessions, to help them prepare for more formal learning in Year 1.

We pride ourselves on our community, our inclusivity and our ambition for all children to become successful global citizens. We work hard to create an environment where children enjoy learning and feel safe and confident to participate and reflect on their achievement.

At the end of EYFS we want all children to be confident and independent individuals with a love of  learning. This principle will nurture well rounded learners and young global citizens through Primary school and beyond.