Early Years Foundation Stage - Reception
Learning in our Reception classroom begins as part of our transition into school. We gain an understanding of children and their needs through hosting stay and play sessions for children to mix with others in their class and have an opportunity to play and get a feel for the learning environment.
As the academic year starts in September, our children begin on a part time basis. We initially start with just mornings, extending to lunch time and then whole day sessions after two weeks. This crucial time is spent learning to be at school. Following routines that may be new. Understanding where and what to play with in the classroom. How to come together for a carpet session and how to interact within a larger group. Learning to be at school is a fundamental part of learning to be at St Clements. Our adults within the classroom begin to model play behaviours and expectations by ‘getting down’ to the level of children. They need to be a four year old, immersed in playful learning opportunities. They model independence from using the bathroom to accessing their coat and finding and putting away resources. We use the term choose it, use it, put it away.
Parental input is key in enabling children to settle into school life. We host one to one meetings with families in September to find out more about each individual child, their interests and how we can best support the home - school relationship. Home - school communication continues with the use of online learning journeys. We use Tapestry to post observations of your child’s learning in school. We encourage families to post learning experiences from home.
We teach our children to be independent learners who know where resources belong and how to access them. We teach key skills through our continuous and enhanced provision. For example, you will only find primary colour paints as we teach the children how to mix their own.
We encourage creative and critical thinkers who come up with their own ideas. Who test and challenge their own thinking. You will often hear our children using the phrase team work makes the dream work. Collaboration, friendship and teamwork is taught through all that we do at St Clements. We help our friends. We are a team.
Our children enter the classroom, put away their belongings and engage in a playful learning opportunity. This soft start approach enables children to feel safe and secure; enabling them to begin their day with play.
Chatterboxes and stories sit at the heart of our curriculum. Chatterboxes are used to develop personal, social and emotional development in our children. Each week has a focus where children can bring in an object or a photograph to share with a group. Stories act as both a hook and a way into learning opportunities. For example, Phonics is taught through stories with the help of the ‘Fairies’ who delivers new sounds from their magical land. Our children believe and are engaged with the Fairy and the Tricky Troll characters.
Writing and Numeracy skills are carefully developed and children’s progress celebrated. We model letter and digit formation through rhymes and enable children to access this within their independent playful learning. Adult led carpet sessions take place across the week. In Numeracy we begin by focussing on specific numbers to wholly understand how to represent them in different forms including as an amount and written as a numeral. Our writing opportunities are always purposeful to children. We use stories, the real world and events as a stem for developing early writing skills.
Progression washing lines enable adults to see how children are developing both their name writing and formation of numerals 0-9. We also ask the children to independently draw self portraits each month. From this we look at pencil control, formation of shapes and lines as well as being able to record.
The voice of the child is the centre of what we teach. Our adults observe children in their play, carefully listening to the language and vocabulary that children use. Adults scaffold learning, where appropriate, to extend and stretch children’s ideas. The use of bespoke next steps allow for our children and adults to engage with every child’s individual needs. Each half term these are updated with the input of children across all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage.