Welcome to Reception
Having visited every child in their home environment at the start of the year we now really know each child and are privileged to watch our Reception children blossom in our school environment.
We have 2 classes in our Reception, RM (Mrs McMullan’s class with Mrs Dodd) and RT (Miss Talent’s class with Mrs Green) and our support staff are Mrs Pearson and Miss Barton.
Mrs McMullan, Miss Talent and the Reception Team
Settling into Reception
1. A welcome meeting towards the end of June is a chance to learn more about expectations, routines and stages of transition; at this meeting, parents are able to meet key members of the school staff including the Reception team.
2. Taster sessions take place in the Summer term: the children who already attend our Nursery will visit with Nursery staff in the school day.
3. Reception staff will visit nursery settings. This will allow staff to see the child in an environment which is familiar to them, and to talk with nursery staff about any issues.
4. In the first two weeks of September, two members of staff will arrange to visit you in your home. This will allow you to ask any more questions which you may have, and to observe your child in familiar surroundings.
5. A ‘staggered start’ during the third week in September means that a small group join the class each day. This means that each child can be welcomed and have the chance to settle in.
6. We then begin what’s called ‘base line assessment‘ where we observe, talk and work with your child and assess what they can do and what they like to do. This information means the Reception teacher can plan for the year ahead, making sure she and all the Reception team meet the needs and interests of your child as much as possible, providing just enough support and challenge for each pupil to enjoy and achieve.
In September Our Lady Of Lourdes Reception Team invite our families into school to talk about our curriculum. There is an opportunity for parents/carers to listen to their child’s teacher, ask questions and look around the classroom.
The Reception classes at Our Lady Of Lourdes Primary are a learning environment which aims at all times to be happy(because we know that happy children are responsive, receptive and enthusiastic to learning) and challenging(because we know children are capable and keen to learn, and enjoy the challenge and the achievements that come with it).
Through planned, purposeful play, children are able to discover, practise and refine their skills in literacy and mathematics as well as find out about themselves and their environment. In a broad and balanced way, our provision ensures coverage of the seven areas of learning and responds to the needs and interests of all our children. At all times, we consider characteristics of effective learning which promote positive attitudes to learning, an enthusiasm for knowledge and the confidence to become successful learners.
We place a good deal of importance on the characteristics of effective learning:
- playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’ (you can support your child by, for example, making sure they encouraging them to try out new experiences and asking open-ended questions that might stimulate their curiosity);
- active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements (allow your child to play independently – avoid leading your child’s play, and don’t let them engage for too long in passive activities like watching TV); and
- creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things (when your child is playing, provide some challenges and allow them to be inventive – try leaving fewer toys for them but add a few unknown objects for them to use… don’t forget how much fun a cardboard box can be!).
Our assessment data for older children shows that those children who demonstrate strong characteristics of effective learning are more likely to enjoy and achieve at a higher level as they get older. Support your child to develop these characteristics just as much as you support the academic side of things. This document gives you more information about the characteristics – it might help you get an idea of how you can support your child to develop good ‘learning behaviour’.
Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
Communication and Language;
Personal Social and Emotional development.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
Understanding the world;
Expressive Arts and Design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
There are different areas in the Reception classroom (both indoors and the outside). These are known as the ‘areas of provision’: different places set up in different ways. These might vary from time to time, but typically include areas for role-play, reading, writing, maths, sand, creative development, technology… come and have a look! Each area has lots of resources which allow children to learn independently or with an adult to support. Look out for all the different learning challenges in the areas, too – these are prompts for specific learning which could take place.
We believe effective learning in the Early Years is the result of a balance between:
- adult-led learning: this is led and managed by the adult and is typically planned to meet the specific learning needs of the child(ren)
- adult-guided learning: this is where adults might support a child by guiding them (for example, by questioning and prompting, or by providing specific resources in an area of the classroom) and the child(ren) can independently practise or explore
- child-initiated learning: this is when the child chooses where to go and what to do in the learning environment – it might look like play, but a lot of incidental learning can happen
Research shows that the best outcomes for children’s learning occur where most of the activity within a child’s day is a mixture of child-initiated play (actively supported by adults) and focused learning (with adults guiding the learning through playful, rich experiential activities). As the Reception year progresses, and the children become more mature and ready for Year 1, the balance will gradually shift to more adult-led and adult-guided learning.
A key aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage is to move the learning from what children already know to what children want to know and what children need to know (and there’s often an overlap between the two). Staff in Reception find out what children want to know – what interests them, sparks their natural curiosity, engages them to be effective learners – by making lots of observations of the children and having discussions with children and parents to inform the direction of learning. This will usually influence future topics in the class. What children need to know also derives from observations but staff make sure they use Early Years and Key Stage 1 curriculum documents to make sure we are aware of expectations so children are challenged appropriately.
By the end of Reception, we will have prepared our children for their next step, the transition into Year One.
We will have encouraged our children to develop independence, perseverance and reasoning skills by demonstrating high levels of engagement in their thinking. These skills result in the thrill of learning and the children will show sustained concentration on their tasks. All these skills are essential when accessing the Year One curriculum.