The curriculum in Reception builds on the curriculum and learning journey embarked on in Squirrel Kittens, Nursery and Kindergarten. The Reception year is a key year – it is the first year of school and is vital that children experience the best environment to ignite a love of learning and enable your child to develop, grow and learn. We offer a wide range of learning opportunities aimed at stimulating and nurturing your child’s development and interests, laying down the important educational foundations for academic development across the curriculum.
Reception children benefit from small class sizes, enabling each individual to be supported and challenged allowing them to develop key skills quickly and ensuring an excellent foundation for their learning. We believe in giving children the opportunity to flourish and find their talents – developing the ‘whole’ child, and therefore our curriculum includes French, Music, Dance, Drama, P.E., Swimming, Games and Forest School in addition to the areas below.
Reception children follow the Foundation Stage framework across seven learning areas. This is a statutory framework taught in all schools.
The seven key areas of learning (Early Learning Goals) for the Foundation Stage are:
1. PERSONAL, SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
This area of learning is about emotional well-being, promoting self-esteem. It is also about developing respect for others, social competence and a positive disposition for learning.
2. COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
The development of communication and language is at the heart of young children’s learning and a vital part of the Reception curriculum; this includes giving many daily opportunities for speaking and listening for different purposes, developing children’s confidence and skill in expressing themselves. In class the children are given different ways to develop and practise these skills, including speaking and listening to others during ‘Show and Tell’ and ‘news’, learning to ask questions to find out more, being able to explain and present information about something they have brought in to class, or to express an opinion. The children are also given opportunities to learn words for class assemblies which they then present to the school, building up their confidence when speaking in front of others on a bigger stage.
3. LITERACY DEVELOPMENT
This involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters, being read a wide variety of books and beginning to read and write.
Within the Early Years/Foundation Stage, the alphabet is learnt by a method called Jolly Phonics. In Reception, children build on knowledge started in Kindergarten and then develop by learning di and trigraphs. Phonics are the building bricks of all words and will eventually help your child decipher new vocabulary.
In Jolly Phonics the 42 main sounds of English are taught, not just the alphabet sounds. For each sound there is an action which helps the children remember the sound the letter makes. In Reception, as the letters are taught, they are stuck into a ‘Sound Book’ which your child will bring home. The letters are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first group: ‘s, a, t, p, i, n’ has been chosen because they make more simple three letter words than any other six letters. Sounds with more than one way of being written are first taught in one form only; for instance, the sound ‘ai’ (rain) is on the Sound Sheet, the alternatives ‘a-e’ (cake) and ‘ay’ (day) will be taught later.
Children in Reception soon start to use this knowledge in their writing which enables them to write independently. As their understanding of phonics develops they will be able to use digraphs and trigraphs (for example ‘ay’ and ‘igh’) in addition to using the standard spellings of high frequency words. By the end of Reception most children are confidently able to write a short story or recount of an event independently.
Children’s mathematical development arises out of daily experiences in a rich and interesting environment. It involves becoming confident and competent in learning key skills in numeracy and simple mathematical problem solving. In Reception, children build on their early experiences and learn to record their practical work – for example record practical addition of two groups of numbers. Reception children will also start using maths workbooks, recording their answers and working independently.
5. UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD
In this area of learning, children are developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them make sense of the world. This forms the foundation stones for later work in science, design and technology, history, geography, information and communication technology.
6. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT
Physical development in the Foundation Stage is about growth of co-ordination, skills, control, manipulation and movement. Two other very important aspects are increasing self-confidence in what can be achieved and learning about the positive benefits of being healthy and active.
7. EXPRESSIVE ARTS AND DESIGN
Creativity is fundamental to successful learning. Being creative enables children to make connections between one area of learning and another, extending their understanding. This area of learning includes art, music, dance, role play and imaginative play.