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At Park House Primary School our Reception class are working in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which precedes Key Stage 1 (KS1).  The curriculum that we teach in the reception class meets the requirements set out in the revised National Curriculum at Early Year Foundation Stage. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Early Learning Goals and on developing children’s skills and experiences which cover the following areas:


  • Personal and Social Development (Prime Area)
  • Communication and Language (Prime Area)
  • Physical Development (Prime Area)
  • Mathematics (Specific Area)
  • Literacy (Specific Area)
  • Understanding the World (Specific Area)
  • Expressive Arts and Design (Specific Area)


Our school fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well-planned structured activities. Teaching in the reception class builds on the experiences of the children in their pre-school learning. We do all we can to build positive partnerships with the variety of nurseries and other pre-school providers in the area.


During the children’s first term in the reception class, their teacher makes a baseline assessment to record the skills of each child on entry to the school. This assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child.


We are well aware that all children need the support of parents and teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child by keeping them informed about the way in which the children are being taught and how well each child is progressing.


We know good communication skills are key to success not only in learning but in life, and we want all our children to be able to share ideas, express their opinions and   apply knowledge and skills learned in a wide range of meaningful contexts.


Therefore language and communication development underpins all we do.  We acknowledge that experience is often central to language acquisition, and we plan lots of exciting, memorable experiences for the children. This is then supported through the use of NELI (Nuffield Early Literacy Intervention) to help build upon our pupils language acquisition.




Our vision is for inspiring environments that will encourage our children to be active learners and to work hard.

We support them to understand their own emotional and physical well-being and become independent, resilient and prepared to take a risk.  We believe in an ethos where all children are encouraged to embrace challenge and share responsibility for their own learning but above all to be proud of their efforts.   At the heart of our planning is the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum that covers the following areas: 


Communication and language development


This involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations. The children play with small world environments like the farm, the town, the jungle/zoo etc. where the children can use their imagination and introduce their own narratives into their pretend play. Role – play situations like the shop, hairdressers, vets and doctors facilitate the children’s ability to act out real life situations with their friends and develop their communication and language skills. Science activities like playing with magnets, remote controlled toys and dark dens etc. enable the children to explain what they know, ask questions, make predictions and explore the world around them. Puppets are used to promote speaking through familiar characters in the stories the children know well.


Different malleable materials, sand and water are incorporated into well planned activities that encourage the children to investigate and explore different concepts. Story areas, big books and story baskets are always available for the children to talk about familiar stories with their friends and organise their own thoughts to retell these stories in their own words.


Physical development


The children in the foundation stage are encouraged to stay active and develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. The children use large apparatus on a weekly basis. Weekly P.E. sessions are structured and designed to make children think about moving in different ways. A variety of wheeled toys are available for children to explore on a daily basis including balance bikes to promote core muscle development. They learn to play simple tag games to improve their use of space. Games skills are practiced freely and in structured lessons ensuring that children gain confidence in their own abilities. Children are helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food. Action songs provide a good way of helping children to identify and name parts of the body. Playing games with toy food helps children to talk about different types of food and identify healthy options. Every day the children have physical literacy session and yoga where we talk about the changes that happen to their body when they are active. We encourage the children to become independent with their health and self-care. The children need to manage their toileting independently and wash their hands appropriately. Before going outside they are expected to put on their own coats and other outside wear like hats and gloves doing zips, buttons and press studs themselves. PE sessions happen every week where the children have to be capable of changing clothes independently. The children also learn about good life style choices concerning hygiene, fitness and diet.


Personal, social and emotional development


This involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. They are helped to form positive relationships and develop respect for others, developing their social skills. Children learn how to manage their feelings and understand how to behave appropriately in groups. They are encouraged to have confidence in their own abilities.


We provide a variety of interesting opportunities for children to choose activities and resources for themselves.  We plan small and large group situations for children to talk about their ideas and opinions. These sessions also develop attention and concentration skills. We share stories that explore different behaviours and discussions ensue where we explore right and wrong choices. Playing games where turn taking is important provide children with the opportunity to work cooperatively with the children around them.


The specific areas are:-


Literacy development involves learning to read and write. At the core of this is the systematic teaching of phonics. Lots of games are used to help with this. Children take home a reading scheme book, which is changed regularly. A book is often used at the beginning of a Literacy session. The teacher often models reading skills during this session the children then practise these skills in small groups with teacher guidance. More opportunities for sharing books, poems, rhymes and other written materials are allocated throughout the week. Reading books are taken home so that children can practise new skills with their parents.


To be good writers children have to feel free enough to talk about their experiences, thoughts and feelings. If they cannot talk about it they cannot write it. Writing opportunities are planned for and take place both inside and out. The children have access to a wide variety of mark making resources like chalks, paints, crayons, pens etc. We approach writing very creatively and try and provide new ways of making writing interesting and fun! We write on the playground, whiteboards, chalkboards, mirrors etc. Guided writing sessions happen weekly where children’s skills are developed with an adults input.


Mathematics development involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers to 20, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems which include doubling, halving and sharing numbers of objects.


We count absolutely everything!  We start by learning simple number rhymes. We sing these at carpet times but also in small group situations. We expect the children to join in with these as the rhymes become familiar. We encourage the children to listen to number rhymes independently on a listening center and join in where they can. We learn to recognise what numbers look like by putting numbers in the sand and the water and asking the children to find and name them. We use number puzzles regularly so that the children become familiar with number names. We learn about the order of numbers. Our washing line is very important here as we often hang numbered items on it for the children to explore. We often show the children what we expect and then let them try on their own. We sometimes give the children numbered beads and laces and expect the children to thread the beads correctly. Cubes and number lines are also provided for the children to explore and order. We learn about adding and taking away. We play lots of games with dice so that children can practise this.  We expect the children to tell us’ how many altogether’ and ‘how many are left’.  We learn to sing number rhymes where we expect the children to add or take away. The children then explore activities where they have to count on or back from a number to find the answer.


They explore and develop language to describe shapes, spaces and measures. The children learn to recognise different shapes by sorting them. They play games like shape bingo, shape dominoes where we expect the children to match or name individual shapes.  They play circle games with shapes where we ask the children to guess the shape. We often read shape stories and set up shape interest tables. We provide opportunities for the children to weigh lots of things. They begin by using their hands to feel the weight and then they move on to using a weighing scale. We expect the children to begin using words like heavy and light.  We also expect them to begin to realise what happens to the scales when something is light or heavy. At the end of Foundation Stage we find out how heavy by using objects that we can count easily like cubes. Tipping and pouring into different containers allows children to explore the idea of capacity and find out how much an object holds. We measure how full it is by counting cupfuls.


Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of the world around them through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.  Throughout the Foundation Stage we use all of our senses to learn about different materials for example by playing with sand, water and dough. We learn about living things by looking at insects, by growing plants and caring for them etc. We learn about objects and places. Science activities are available every session for the children to explore. These include looking at and using mirrors, kaleidoscopes, magnifiers, instruments and magnets. The outside play area is also available every day with carefully planned activities. We expect children to ask questions and make simple connections while investigating objects and living things.


Expressive arts and design involves encouraging children to make and create, paint, print, draw and collage using a variety of colours and textures. We provide opportunities for the children to talk about their ideas and encourage them to select any colours, textures and shapes they might need in their pictures.  We provide opportunities for the children to use their imaginations and express their feelings, ideas and thoughts while carrying out a variety of activities. The children learn to sing songs; rhymes and use musical instruments freely and in structured situations and they can explore the grown – up world through planned role – play situations. They build using lots of different construction toys both on a large and small scale. 



However we also truly value our wider curriculum where meaningful links can be made to help secure prior learning or to develop learning further.  We place high value on a ‘hook’ to excite and engage the children. This might be an artefact, a trip, a visitor or an experience.


Our implementation:


Our teaching practice is rooted in evidence- based research, and we recognise that play is an essential part of early learning. As children play, they are developing the cognitive, social-emotional and physical skills they will need to take them into a successful adult hood.  Young children have a natural desire to learn, explore and question; and at Park House Primary School you will see we take a play based approach to learning to promote these skills.  Our Foundation Stage team use a balance of adult initiated and adult led teaching, but we also place high value on our children’s ideas and experiences and ‘In the Moment’ planning is used to seize the moment when a child shows a high level of interest and curiosity that can be built upon there and then.  Our continuous provision has been carefully considered to provide opportunities for skill building, sequential learning, and challenge for all.  Our staff are reflective and always looking at ways to enhance their teaching skills and strategies to help raise standards.


Our impact:


At Park House Primary School we assess our children in a number of ways.

During the children’s first term in the reception class, their teacher makes a baseline assessment to record the skills of each child on entry to the school. This assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child.

 This is a statutory requirement for all children from September 2021. Their ongoing progress will be assessed against the Early Learning Goals using the Foundation Stage Profile throughout their Reception Years. We also assess language skills through NELI and this all provides parents, carers and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s development, their progress against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1.


At Park House Primary School we place high value on both progress and attainment. We know that children come from many starting points and we understand that children develop at different rates and in different ways. While we appreciate that children can sometimes have barriers that influence their progress, we believe there are no limits to learning; we are ambitious for our children and we work hard to help them overcome any difficulties.

Our aim is for all of our children to be the very best they can be.