Reception is an exciting time for children here at Hill West, where they are nurtured and happy. In Reception, we place emphasis on learning through play and exploration. The well-being of the children in our care is at the heart of our teaching, enabling pupils to gain a deep level of learning and development. Through an explorative, creative and investigative approach to play, our children are able to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem through high levels of involvement.
The Foundation Stage Curriculum is made up of seven areas of learning and development. These are divided into three prime areas and four specific areas. At Hill West, we ensure that the Prime Areas are incorporated into the children’s learning throughout the year. These are;
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
Development in the Prime Areas enables our children to go on and master the skills within the Specific Areas, providing them with the essential skills and knowledge to participate successfully in society. Personal, Social and Emotional Development underpins all that we do in Reception at Hill West. We support our children by helping them to interact effectively and develop positive attitudes of themselves and others. Children at Hill West are given many opportunities to speak and listen in a range of situations, to develop their confidence and the skills of expressing themselves. Our wonderful school grounds provide our Reception children with the opportunity to access daily learning in all curriculum areas outdoors, but particularly encourage both gross and fine motor physical development.
These Prime Areas are fundamental to a child’s development. Children are then ‘ready’ to learn in The Specific Areas. The Specific Areas are;
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
At Hill West we provide a curriculum that follows the children’s interests through a combination of child led, child initiated and adult led activities. Children enjoy working with adults during this time and their learning is expertly scaffolded in order for children to be challenged appropriately to meet their full potential. Our curriculum instils a love for learning as well as a hunger to explore and investigate, take risks and problem solve within a safe, stimulating and happy learning environment both indoors and outdoors. A carefully planned curriculum for the year ensures that we constantly revisit prior learning in order to ensure that learning is embedded.
Children have plenty of opportunities to become independent learners, in all areas of the curriculum, through exciting, effective continuous provision. The purpose of continuous provision is to continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult. Children are motivated and challenged by the resources that we provide for them. We want our children in Reception to be thinkers, negotiators and problem solvers – to apply the knowledge that they already have to enable them to explore new possibilities. Our well planned continuous provision raises attainment through active learning and high level engagement. Our experienced staff observe and scaffold learning alongside the children, introducing new concepts and ideas, taking next steps into the children’s play. Alongside this we teach daily phonics sessions, following Letters and Sounds, we use a range of practical, visual and written approaches during these sessions. The teaching of phonics often incorporates the use of technology, our children make excellent progress in both Reading and Writing. Supporting children to develop a comfortable pencil grip and pencil control to aid the correct formation of letters is an essential part of the writing process.
In Mathematics we follow a Maths Mastery Approach, in which each numeral is taught separately. Children are fully immersed each week, they look at how the quantity can be represented using a range of equipment, how the amount be made in different ways etc. Children are continually asked to reason about their mathematical understanding e.g. How do you know that? Our children have lots of practical opportunities for counting objects, ordering numbers, adding and subtracting, doubling and halving, sharing, investigating shape and patterns and using mathematical language. Skills are often developed through cooking, technology and craft activities, helping to deepen mathematical understanding. As a school, we are guided by the Hamilton Trust planning which ensures the coverage of statutory objectives.
Creative imaginations come to life both inside and outside our classrooms and within ‘The Pod’. Our children have access to a wide range of resources and are encouraged to use their imaginations to create constructions, potions, models, collages and paintings where they will try out new skills or practise and refine skills already learned. Our children are encouraged to express themselves freely when experimenting with musical instruments, role play, music and dance.
Our imaginative curriculum provides many exciting opportunities for developing our children’s understanding of the world around them. Our children are encouraged to be curious and to investigate their environment by asking questions and observing changes. This includes using age appropriate technology. Our children interact with and explore iPads, digital cameras, interactive whiteboards and electronic toys.
Key Questions to drive learning and progress
- Who’s afraid of the Big Bag Wolf?
- Is there room on your broom?
- Who’s in my family?
- 999: What’s your emergency?
- Where did the snowman go?
- Would you be friends with the Gruffalo?
- Do dinosaurs roar or squeak?
- Who’s at the top of the beanstalk?
- How does a Zookeeper get so mucky?
- Would you pack a marmalade sandwich?
- Are you brave enough to walk the plank?
- Can we catch the Evil Pea?
Exciting events in Reception
- Performing in our first class assemblies
- Attending our first Christingle service
- A trip to Twycross Zoo
In Reception, children are read to daily. Texts are chosen to link closely with exciting and stimulating topics, which follow the children’s interests closely. Alongside this, children also listen to a wide variety of stories which are shared during a daily story time session. Here are the some of the authors who help to instil a lifelong love of reading in Reception
- Julia Donaldson
- Jill Murphy
- Nick Sharratt
To find out more about the Early Years Curriculum please access: