There are 7 areas of learning and development that shape learning in Reception. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are: communication and language; physical development; and personal, social and emotional development. The specific areas of maths, literacy, understanding the world and expressive arts and design support the development of the prime areas.
We teach literacy using a scheme of work called The Power of Reading. Reading and writing skills are embedded and taught by studying a whole text from beginning to end. Children are encouraged to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. They have access to a wide range of different text types.
Numeracy focuses on numbers and shape, space and measures. In number they learn to count reliably from 1 to 20, order and use the language ‘more’ or ‘less.’ They learn to add and subtract 2 single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems including doubling, halving and sharing. In Shape and Space, they discuss size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to solve problems. They recognise and create patterns and begin to use mathematical language. Children are regularly taught problem-solving skills and given the opportunities to apply these to a real-life context.
Prime Curriculum Areas
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Homework is set half-termly and matches the class Learning Journey for the half term. There are non-negotiable tasks that must be completed weekly such as letter formation and reading. In addition there are a further nine tasks (either literacy, numeracy or topic based) that the children can choose to complete (a minimum of three must be completed.)
What Will You Be Learning About in Reception?
During the year you will go on many Learning Journeys with your class. You can find information about some of these below.
What Do I Know About Me?
This challenge enables children to develop self-awareness and to settle, look at themselves and to get to know their classmates. It also enables children to look at their own and others’ special qualities and to start to consider the idea of equality. We will look at baby pictures and discuss how we have changed as well as talk about what we can do now compared to what we could or couldn’t do when we were babies. We will look at where our families come from and discuss the different languages we have in the class, and even say good morning during the register to greet each other in the different languages. We will talk about our families and our family traditions/celebrations and highlight how we are similar or different to each other. We will then look at homes in a different country and discuss the similarities and differences of our homes and others.
Why is it Always Cold in Winter?
The purpose of this is to develop a basic understanding of seasonal changes. It can also make children aware of the environment around. We will discuss how it is important to look after and care for our environment. We discuss winter and the changes from autumn to winter and view these changes by visiting our school woodlands and recording our findings through art and ICT. We will explore why we see our breath and where animals go over the winter season. We will then also cover Christmas and the celebration.
How Can we Help Cinderella Have a Ball?
This challenge develops an appreciation of traditional tales and a simple introduction to story structure. It also brings in the moral aspect of kindness.This is a good challenge to develop the love of literature that we want children to have. Children will get to grip with the usual structure of a story and develop their story telling skills. We will learn about the different types of characters we usually come across in stories and think about a problem that usually arises that needs to be solved. We will also plan our own fairy-tale ball, which includes cooking, writing invitations and learning how to waltz with a partner. We will look at the difference between Prince Charming’s lifestyle compared to Cinderella’s and think about which one we would prefer and why.
Are all Minibeasts Scary?
This challenge enables exploration of the outdoor area and use of scientific equipment. Children can learn how to attract minibeasts to the outdoor area and the importance of minibeasts in the environment. We will also cover non- fiction books and how to use them to find out information. Children will learn about lifecycles and the important roles minibeasts have in the world. We will look at different minibeasts and learn about why some have no legs or more legs than others. We will go on to design our own minibeast city.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star How I Wonder What You Are?
This challenge gives children a sense of the universe. While this is a concept that children will find difficult, it does give them chance to consider facts like our own sun as a star, stars making constellations and the use of the word ‘star’ in relation to fame. We will learn about the difference between day and night and why we can’t see the stars during the day even though they are still there. We will look at different universe and think about what it would be like to live on another planet with no water. To finish our topic, we will have our own talent show and celerate being stars.
Who Can I Ask for Help?
This challenge enables discussion around future careers and gives children aspirations. It also enables them to see the range of helpful people in the community. If it is appropriate, it is a good time to look at ‘stranger danger’ too. Children get the opportunity to meet many visitors and ask them questions to find out more about their job role and how they help people. Children will be able to set themselves their own goals and write themselves a letter to their future self.
Wise Owl Woods (WOW)
The woods were gifted to the school in 2013 and officially ‘opened’ by the Deputy Mayor of Croydon in September 2013. They are a superb resource and we use them as often as possible, to enhance learning across the curriculum. Trained teachers and Teaching Assistants lead Forest School sessions and Year 5 and Year 1 children attend scheduled Forest School sessions on Friday afternoons during the course of the school year. Class teachers will use the woods at any other time to support outdoor learning.
The Tree House Enhanced Learning Provision
The Tree House is a purpose built SEN unit for children on the Autistic Spectrum, built and opened in 2014. The Tree House can cater for up to 14 children, two per class from Reception to Year 6. There is an infant classroom (Holly class), a junior classroom (Chestnut class), a therapy room, sensory room, meeting room and toilets. There is also an outdoor area. Where appropriate, children from the Tree House will join their mainstream classes for lessons.
Targets for Reception
Reading – Reception
Read some common irregular words.
Use phonic knowledge to decide regular words & read aloud accurately.
Identify rhymes and alliteration.
Join in with rhyming patterns.
Read & understand simple sentences.
Demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Make basic predictions.
Identify start and end of a sentence.
Write simple sentences which can be read by themselves & others.
Use capital letters and full stops to demarcate sentences.
Write demarcated sentences.
Use correct pencil grip.
Write name (correct upper & lower case).
Use correct letter formation for familiar words.
Count reliably to 20.
Order numbers 1 – 20.
Say 1 more/1 less to 20.
Add & subtract two single digit numbers.
Count on/back to find the answer.
Rights and Responsibilities
We use our Courtwood Rights and Responsibilities as a way for all the children in the school to understand the school rules. The principle is that children understand that they have a right to certain things, but with that right comes a responsibility to behave in certain ways. We have a right to:
Be treated fairly
Be listened to
The RIPPLE effect is a set of six learning behaviours that we believe will enable the children to do the best they can in their learning, whilst at Courtwood. These were developed in partnership with our children, governors and staff. They are:
Our children understand the language of learning and are able to articulate how these skills are used in their daily lives at Courtwood. Achievement is celebrated weekly.
At Courtwood, we see PSHE as central to everything we do. We teach PSHE as a discreet subject at least once a week, but it is also integrated in all aspects of daily school life. We place great importance on helping children to learn the knowledge, understanding and skills required to live healthy, safe, responsible and rewarding lives. We recognise that in order for children to achieve their full academic potential they must also develop socially, emotionally and morally.