Phase One is only part of the Communication, Language and Literacy area of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. It will support linking sounds and letters in the order in which they occur in words, and naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet.
It is an opportunity for children to distinguish between different sounds eg environmental (an aeroplane and a car), musical instruments (a triangle and a drum), or sounds in words.
Later on in the nursery year children will begin to enjoy oral blending and segmenting the sounds in words. Whilst recognising alliteration (words that begin with the same sound) is important as children develop their ability to tune into speech sounds, the main aim is to be segmenting words into their component sounds, and especially blending the component sounds all through a word.
Exploring the sounds occurs in nursery throughout the session as well as in planned adult-led sessions with groups of children. We try to foster the children’s curiosity in letter shapes and written words to help them make a smooth transition to Phase Two, when grapheme–phoneme correspondences are introduced.
Some of our children are able to progress to Phase 2 phonics whilst still in nursery.
For more information see