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EYFS Curriculum Overview

EYFS Curriculum Overview

Teaching in Reception builds on the learning experiences children have already achieved at home and at nursery. We continue that journey in school as each child develops through Reception Class. Much of the learning is through structured play, which is appropriate to the needs of young children as well as adult-led learning tasks. We are continuously working hard to ensure the learning environment supports the children and that their interests are taken into account when planning topics.  Our extensive outdoor learning environment has also undergone major development over the past couple of years.

The Reception Year is part of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our principal objective is to give the children secure foundations for later learning by building on the wonderful work of earlier settings such as pre-schools and nurseries. Throughout the Year, we work to develop key learning skills such as listening, speaking and sustained concentration. As part of this the children learn to work together and to co-operate with adults and other children.

Our aims of Reception Class are to: 

  • provide a well-planned and resourced curriculum 
  • meet the emotional and educational needs of each child 
  • help children learn and provide opportunities for all children to succeed 
  • provide an atmosphere of care and of feeling valued 
  • encourage each child to become independent. 

The Foundation Stage curriculum is set out by the Government and covers the learning as follows: 

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development 

    Through participating in a variety of activities they will become more confident when speaking in a familiar group. The children are encouraged to respectfully say what they like and dislike. We encourage the children to become independent and yet to ask for help if they need it. We value the children as individuals and children of God, who are encouraged to respect each other and the environment. We place great emphasis on social skills, such as using good manners, listening carefully to others and working together. Each child in Reception is allocated a ‘Buddy’ from Year 4. Activities are planned regularly for the children to spend time together. This is usually a very enjoyable and valued time for all involved!

  • Communication and Language 

    Using stories and rhymes, we help the children to improve their listening and responding skills. It will become second nature to listen to what others have to say and to react effectively when given instructions. The children are always given the opportunity to speak in front of both small and large audiences and are encouraged to use past, present and future tenses accurately.

  • Physical Development 

    The children are supported to become very confident with their movements and will develop their control and co-ordination on a large and small scale. Safety is of huge importance and the children will be able to find a space of their own in which to work. The children will be introduced to a range of equipment for PE, cooking and constructing. They will be taught how to use these safely and efficiently. We promote a healthy lifestyle in many ways at school. The children are made aware of, and are taught about, the importance of physical exercise, a balanced diet and other ways in which they can keep themselves healthy and safe, inside and outdoors. The children quickly become independent with regards to their personal hygiene.

  • Literacy Reading 

    The children take part in daily phonics sessions where they are taught the graphemes, a written symbol that represents a sound, a phoneme. They are also taught how to blend sounds together to read simple words and segment words to support their spelling.‘Tricky words’ are taught through learning by sight. Each week, your child will bring home reading books and word cards with a ‘Reading Record’ for parents and the class teacher to write in to ensure parents are being involved in their child’s learning. Your co-operation in listening to and helping your child read will aid his/her progress. 

  • Writing 

    The children are encouraged to use the sounds that they hear in words when attempting to spell them. The children will write sentences independently and are asked to read their work with adults and peers. Some words will be spelt correctly and others will be phonetically plausible. All attempts are praised.

  • Mathematics

    Counting to 20 and beyond, ordering numbers and finding one more and one less are skills that we work on throughout the Reception Year. This will help the children when we start to add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on and back to find the answers. The children are encouraged to solve problems and to talk about how they are finding out the answers. The children will use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They will be able to recognise, create and describe patterns. They will explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

  • Understanding the World 

    We spend a lot of time exploring the similarities and differences between people, cultures and lifestyles. The children have the opportunity to share the things that are going on in their own lives and to learn to be sensitive to their peers. We enjoy helping the children to find out more about their own environment and about the world in which they live. They will explore changes that might occur through the seasons and make observations of animals and plants. Children are becoming more and more knowledgeable about technology and how it is used at school and in the home. They enjoy using the PCs, iPads, laptops, cameras and listening stations.

  • Expressive Arts and Design 

    Singing songs, dancing and making music is something that the children love to experiment with. They are taught how to safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. The children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories

  • Religious Education

    At St Mary’s we use the ‘Come and See’ programme for RE. This is the nationally approved learning resource for Religious Education from the Bishops’ Conference. There are three topics per term. They learn to recognise stories from the bible linked to the main feasts in the church’s year and are introduced to some of the actions, symbols and prayers that are said in church. They will also take part in a daily act or worship, either in whole school assemblies (usually on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or in the classroom. Children are also given the opportunity to attend Mass at St Mary’s R.C. Church on a regular basis.

Learning Environment

The areas of learning are further broken down into early learning goals, which most children are expected to achieve by the end of the foundation stage. The learning experiences we offer to the children in order to achieve the early learning goals are a balance of adult supported, adult directed and child initiated. They will also allow for a variety of learning styles, e.g. individual, small or large group. At St. Mary’s we promote learning outside of the classroom where possible, making full use of our school environment to develop children’s natural curiosity of the world around them, children have weekly sessions in our Forest School area and the school allotment in addition to their own EYFS ‘Outdoor area’.

We believe in well-structured play as a way of learning for young children. Play is a natural and enjoyable way for children to learn, it puts them in charge of their own learning and allows them to learn about making choices and decisions. Play is not a free and totally unstructured activity and needs to take place in an environment that is planned and well organised. Children will also work in small groups on tasks which are supported by an adult such as reading and writing. The Reception classroom is set up in workshop areas, each of which promotes the delivery of the early learning goals.

At St. Mary’s we capture our children’s achievements through daily observations of them during their child-initiated play. These observations are shared with home to create a strong home school relationship, allowing parents to play an active role in their child’s education. We encourage observations of the children from home to be shared on tapestry so that we can celebrate achievements that we may not have witnessed at school.