Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception Class)
In the Reception Year at Willow Bank Primary School, we follow the curriculum set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which covers all areas of children’s learning and development from birth to five years old. The EYFS divides the curriculum into seven areas of learning and development.
The ‘prime areas’:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The 'specific areas':
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
These lead to 17 Early Learning Goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that children should gain by the end of the Reception year.
As well as what children learn, the EYFS sets out how children learn; the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’. We encourage good attitudes to learning, like curiosity, willingness to ‘have a go’, determination, persistence, and concentration, in everything we do.
We are developing our thinking skills, through the use of ‘Thinking Hats’ which helps children to think about their own thinking.
We provide a balance between adult-led and child initiated experiences. Children are supported in their development through play and exploration opportunities, short carpet sessions, and adult guided work.
Although the curriculum remains very play based, the balance shifts gradually through the Reception year towards more activities led by adults, to help children prepare for more formal learning in Year 1.
Literacy (reading and writing) is taught through the phonics programme following ‘Letters and Sounds’.
Maths is taught through Mathematics Mastery, which builds on from children’s learning of early mathematical concepts.
Reception have the opportunity for daily outdoor learning. We have a large outdoor area, which is fully resourced for children to support their learning in all areas.
We also visit forest school weekly, where children have the opportunity to develop skills through stimulating and challenging activities such as den building, which help to develop problem solving, collaboration and persistence, along with supporting many other areas of learning and development.
The environment and activities inside and outside are carefully planned to promote learning, so while it may look as though the children are ‘just playing’, actually they are learning all the time.
The classrooms and outdoor space are organised so that children can access most resources by themselves, and they can extend their own learning independently. These are called ‘enabling environments’. We follow children’s interests and provide ‘hands on’ experiences to engage the children.
Our resources are ‘open ended’, and can be used flexibly so that the children are not restricted and can follow their interests and ideas creatively.
Our timetable allows for long periods of ‘free flow’ independent play, inside and outside, which enables children to become deeply involved in their learning.
An important part of teaching in Reception is through ‘interactions’. Adults observe the children closely as they play, and join in sensitively to support them and move their learning on, extending their language and thinking, and helping to develop their skills. We support the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’, for example, encouraging children to keep going though difficulties, and to be creative and follow their own ideas. Our aim is that the children leave Reception as confident, independent learners, ready for the challenges of Year 1.
Information about what your child should be doing at this age can be found within the document ‘What to expect when’ - you can download it from: