In Reception, our journey with the children begins before they arrive. Through meetings and activities, we get to know the children well. We make the use of technology to keep in touch with families over the summer to find out information about the children and to share stories and photos with the children to support a more confident transition into school. This helps to inform planning and to make any preparations required to meet individual needs. Our clear routines create a calm and reassuring environment for the children and gives boundaries which supports them to develop self regulation skills. On entry to Reception, teachers will complete a baseline assessment using the DFE Baseline and also observations and interactions with the children.
Our curriculum begins with giving the children a sense of belonging and responsibility to each other and their environment. Further topics are selected based on widely popular interests of children which promote all areas of the EYFS curriculum yet allowing for children’s interests to be acknowledged and introduced as learning stimuli. Children have a balance of adult led and child initiated learning opportunities and the adults are skilled at questioning and discussing learning with children to extend their vocabulary, deepen their thinking and support them to develop and test ideas and make connections between different aspects of their world. Our key group system means that children are able to spend time with their key person daily so that different learning opportunities are taught or assessed within small groups or in quiet areas. This helps the children to feel safe and secure in the setting and to develop positive relationships with adults and peers and also enables a strong focus on personal, social and emotional education and communication and language skills.
Children's phonics awareness is assessed on entry into reception and daily synthetic phonics teaching using the Read Write Inc. programme starts quickly after the children have settled with regular assessment and grouping to ensure progression and support. Children take home a ‘sharing’ library book weekly as well as a book matched to their phonics knowledge for home reading. Parents are informed on ways to read with their children and the importance of re-reading to build fluency and comprehension. Children read daily in school starting with single words as new sounds are learned and then developing to read sentences and books. Children are taught 'red words' and high frequency words to support their fluency and build their confidence and self esteem as they tackle this new challenge. Using all of their skills, this quickly evolves into a pleasure of reading and excitement to share books and discuss them with others.
All areas of learning are reflected throughout the indoor and outdoor environment and the planning for children's learning is sequential to help them develop, practise, apply and extend their skills building their deeper understanding constantly. Children are encouraged to work with others and support each others' learning and take responsibility for their own learning decisions and attitudes. We use the Characteristics of Effective Learning to observe and plan the approach that children take to new experiences, problems and opportunities and develop a can do attitude, creativity and imagination and their reasoning and critical thinking skills.
With a new EYFS curriculum introduced in September 2021, the Reception team are working closely with our on site nursery Little Pirates to ensure that we build a bespoke Drake Early Years curriculum from Birth to the end of Reception which is both supportive and ambitious to help the children to receive the very best education in these early years.