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Poppleton Ousebank Primary School

Poppleton Ousebank Primary School

Tel: 01904 795930

The Early Years Curriculum and more information about our setting

Welcome to Reception

How the children Learn in Reception and what is happening in our setting

The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile and Curriculum (a brief overview)

Early years children follow a programme designed to help them achieve what are known as the 'Early Learning Goals'. These are targets that most children are expected to achieve by the time they leave the Reception Class.  This will provide a firm foundation for National Curriculum work in Key Stage 1. 

We believe that children learn best from practical experiences and therefore all areas of the curriculum are delivered through planned, purposeful play and a mix of adult-led and child initiated activities. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, think about ways to solve problems and interact with others. 

The ways in which the children learn and how they learn are known as the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ and this serves as an important aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage.  We have to give children the opportunities to learn in different ways and observe and respond to their interests and approaches to learning.

The Areas of Learning

All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

These three areas, the prime areas, are:


  • Communication and Language;


  • Physical Development; and


  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development.


We also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.

The specific areas are:


  • Literacy;


  • Mathematics;


  • Understanding the World; and


  • Expressive Arts and Design.


Communication and language development 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.


Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.


Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.


Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.


Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.


Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

In the Reception class, we are building on the children's previous knowledge. Practical experiences are more valuable and appropriate at this stage of learning. Play provides important opportunities for learning in many ways; observation, exploration, discovery and communication.  These opportunities are developed through both indoor and outdoor activities.  We work to teach your child through a variety of experiences and activities.  We follow your children’s interests and observe them to find out where next to develop them in their learning. 

What activities can I do to help my child before starting school?

Before starting school, you can support your child's learning and development in many ways.  Some examples are:

  • Encouraging your child to dress and undress independently.
  • Encourage your child to do up their coats and put on their shoes.
  • Encouraging your child to tidy up toys, books and games after using them.
  • Encourage your child to wash their hands and go to the toilet independently.
  • Talking with your child and encouraging your child to talk with other children and other adults.
  • Encouraging and supporting your child to play co-operatively with other children.
  • Encouraging an enjoyment of books and stories; visiting the local library and sharing stories with your child.
  • Encouraging your child to join in with rhymes and songs.
  • Recognising their own name.
  • Writing their own name – if they are ready, if not games to support fine motor skills, e.g. putting pegs on things, using tweezers, threading, manipulating playdough.
  • Providing your child with a variety of writing equipment to encourage drawing and writing skills, labelling your child's pictures with his or her name and perhaps some writing. Your child may want to copy your writing if he or she is ready.
  • Helping your child with simple mathematical skills, e.g. matching and sorting everyday objects, counting objects or playing with water at bath time; pouring, filling and emptying.
We will hold a Phonics, Maths and EYFS evening in the first half term of school to give you greater insight into how we teach these areas of the curriculum and how you can support this at home.
High Expectations and Support
What other things can I do to help my child in the reception year?

In the Reception year the children are encouraged to have a positive approach to learning and to believe that learning is fun and enjoyable. We have high expectations of our children and believe in the 'can do' approach to learning by always encouraging them to 'have a go' and do their best.  We talk to the children about having a ‘Growth Mindset’ and how we all need to practise and feedback to get better.

Once your child has started school, your involvement and support remains vital to his or her development. Your encouragement will help your child to settle into school happily and confidently and show that home and school are working together.

In order for your child to get the best from their education we need to work together to promote the right approach to learning.  To do this we would like you to encourage:

·        High self esteem
·        Confidence in new activities
·        Fun/enjoyment
·        The 'can do', 'have a go' approach
·        A positive attitude
·        High expectations

You can also help your child by:

  • Continuing to encourage independence, supporting your child coming into school and then when the time is right, supporting them to independently come into school with lots of positive encouragement will help with this
  • Asking if your child would like to invite new school friends home to play. If you are considering out of school activities, bear in mind that your child will be tired after a busy time at school

The Reception class will build upon story telling and reading experiences developed at home and in our nursery class or pre-school setting. Your child will learn to read using a variety of different methods. It is important to be aware that children learn at different rates and that children learn to read in different ways.

The children are taught to link letters to sounds (phonics teaching) through a wide variety of actions and games.  We use the ‘Read, Write, Inc’ programme to teach the children all the way up to Year 2.  At the same time as learning to say a sound they match the sound to the letter shape, which will then help them when they are trying to write, breaking down words into their component sounds.

Another strategy is to learn key words (most commonly used words).  We build these into our reading and writing sessions and encourage the children to read them.  These will be sent home in a blue book for you to learn together.

It is most important that children view reading as a pleasurable activity and feel positive about their achievements.

Here a few suggestions as to how you can help your child to read:

  • Choose a quiet time to read a book, magazine
  • Read to your child and allow them chance to talk about the pictures, what you can see, what is happening and think about what might happen next
  • Run your finger under the word, point out letter names
  • Try to ensure that your child has books of his/her own at home    and that they are valued
  • Regular visits to the local library can ensure that your child can enjoy looking at a wide variety of good quality books, both fiction and non-fiction.

In order to write, children need well developed hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. The Reception team will provide a variety of activities to help to develop these skills; for example, tracing in the sand, big patterns in paint, felt-tip pen, chalk, threading cutting, etc. Children may also be encouraged to play at being writers by having an office, travel agent or other role play areas that encourage writing. As their confidence and interest develops they will be taught to form letters correctly and to write simple words. We teach letter formation from the beginning of the Reception year, we use print handwriting and the children move on to learn joined handwriting in Year 1.

Here are a few suggestions as to how you can help your child to write:

  • Encourage writing/mark making while they play
  • Value their contribution
  • Ask them to read what they have written
  • Write with them – modelling writing
  •  Show examples of writing e.g. lists, letters, addresses
  • Always use lower case letters as you would normally


We cover a lot of areas and knowledge when learning Maths in Reception.  As a school we follow the ‘Inspire’ Singapore Maths programme.  We get the children ready for this way of learning by allowing them opportunities to explore concepts using practical examples.  We use the correct vocabulary when teaching concepts and make our environment rich in experiences and examples.    Early mathematical experiences include the following areas and concepts: Shape Space and measure and number.  To help children understand these concepts, they need plenty of practical, first hand experiences which you could support at home, such as:

  • Singing number songs and rhymes       
  • Look at numbers around the home and outside
  • Encourage recognition of numerals and name them
  •  Count things around the home
  • Talk about the size and shape of things
  • Let them see you using money; allow buying of items when you are together
  •  Talk about numbers; is it a big number / small number / what is the next number?
Communication and Partnership
Our contact with you

You will have regular opportunities to meet members of our team and your Class Teacher during the year to discuss your child and their progress. These will range from formal parents' evenings to open afternoons; drop-in sessions to share your child’s Learning Journey and day-to-day liaisons.   We are always available to talk at the beginning and end of the day on the gate and you are always welcome to make an appointment, give us a call or meet with us to discuss any other concerns or questions you may have.  We really want to have an open and approachable relationship with our parents and we would like you to feel we can help and support you and your child with all your needs.

Your child’s planner will stay in their book bag and should be used as a way of communicating any messages, important dates and letting us know how your child is coping with their reading books.  We ask you to make comments about what and how they have read and any other activities you do to support your child at home.  We check the planners on a Tuesday and Friday and write in any reading they have done at school and any personal messages.

We send a termly and weekly newsletter home to give you an idea of what we are learning about and any important dates and events coming up. 

We also update our website with information, letters and pictures of the children.

We have an active twitter feed giving you an up to date look at what’s going on in school.


Learning Journey

Every child will have a Learning Journey which will show a record of their knowledge and achievements over the year.  Inside it you will find observations of your child, their focussed and independent work.   The children will use a Literacy and Numeracy book to complete some focussed activities.  We will invite you to look at your child’s journey at specific times however you are welcome to look through it at any time you feel necessary.

End of year report

Your child's progress will be continually monitored throughout the year against the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. At the end of the year, you will receive a written report on your child, showing where and what they have achieved and how they have demonstrated some of the Characteristics of Learning; this may be discussed by appointment if required.

Parental involvement

All children benefit from extra adult help in their classroom. Your help will be valued greatly. If you wish to help in school, please ask. We usually encourage a settling in period for your child before you begin to help in school.

Parents might help in the following ways:

  • Sharing books with individual or small groups of children
  • Helping with art and baking activities
  • Accompanying children on school visits
  • Sharing talents and interests
  • Administrative support

If you are interested in helping, please don’t hesitate to ask us and sign up to our baking and sewing sheets - we will show you theses once your child starts school.

If you feel there is any information you would like us to explain in further detail please don’t hesitate to get in touch as we are more than happy to help you and your child with the transition to school.

School Motto

“Capturing the Imagination of Young Minds”

School Awards

Hope Learning Trust