Reception – a unique and important year
The Reception Year holds a unique and important position in education. It marks a significant milestone in a child’s life, representing both a beginning and an end. For parents, it is the end of early education and care, at home and/or across multiple settings, and the start of school. For school leaders and teachers, it is the crucial bridge between the EYFS and the start of the national curriculum. A child’s early education lasts a lifetime and what children are taught during Reception – the curriculum – is therefore hugely important.
As each child embarks upon their learning journey at Primrose Hill C of E Academy, the four overarching guiding principles that underpin the EYFS are embedded in our practice and shape each child’s experience. Through our play-based practice and provision, we deliver a curriculum that is in response to our children’s needs, thoughts and ideas, it is broad and balanced with rich opportunities to learn through practical activities shaped and underpinned by the seven areas of learning and development. Opportunities are presented through adult led, adult directed and child led activities and achievements are documented through the voices of parents, the child and the practitioner; photographic evidence and recorded outcomes are also used to showcase experiences. Learning and development opportunities are designed so that they are engaging, through our interactions, we encourage and enable our children to build on their prior knowledge so that they move their learning forward.
Alongside the delivery of the EYFS curriculum, a child’s ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ also informs planning and provision We aim to provide the right climate to enable our children to work and play together and in a manner that means the most to them thus expanding their learning power, self-belief and curiosity through their interests and preferred learning style. Play is an important vehicle for taking on new learning and is an essential part of the learning process for young children. It enables them to be active learners in a child centered environment and is a powerful medium for the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding; it naturally responds to the different developmental needs, interests and learning styles of individual children, ensuring they remain at the centre of all that we do.
The areas of learning are:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
We believe that optimum learning takes place for our pupils in an environment that is safe, calm, and secure with rich opportunities for enjoyment, exploration and positive relationships. Our aim is for all pupils to achieve their very best and this is realised through focussed effective teaching and learning presented by knowledgeable and sensitive practitioners who understand how young children learn; by making observational assessments to identify where a child is on their developmental continuum and the possible next steps to take in order to consolidate/accelerate learning. We research alongside our children, we scaffold, remind and prompt learning and are ourselves reflective critical thinkers. Participation, consistency, shared values, trust, faith, motivation and optimism are at the heart of all we do to encourage the children in our care to become autonomous learners with unlimited potential.
We believe that it is the entitlement of everyone to have a positive sense of self and to aspire to be the very best that they can be. When a child’s self-esteem is high, positive attitudes are fostered and the utmost importance is given to celebrating individuality, their potential is unlimited. A child’s sense of self is based upon equality of opportunity, kindness, patience, dependability and trust and is the foundation upon which new learning is built.
As new skills and knowledge are taught, we want our children to approach everything with a quiet confidence, to be excited and engaged in their learning experiences, motivated by what they encounter and to welcome the challenge that a new way of thinking brings. Variance in how children approach learning is a major source of difference within education; disposition to learning, habits of mind, patterns of thought and ‘grit’ determine success and so developing positive learning behaviour and a growth mindset is at the heart of our practice – our aim is for our children to be the very best that they can be.
Children attending our school start on a full-time basis so we introduce them quickly to whole-school life. Our culture of high expectations starts early and follows the children through until they reach Year 6. We have the same learning and behavioural expectations from the start of school as we do at the end. Success in reading, writing and mathematics is built on a strong foundation in the prime areas of learning. High standards in reading, writing and mathematics are a given, but the wider, social experiences of the school community are also important. Reception children join the whole-school Collective Worship and have lunch in the hall. These are important opportunities to bond everyone together as one community so that we have absolute consensus about what it means to be a successful, hardworking member of this school.
DGAT principles into practice (PDF document)