Early Years

EYFS at Christ Church & Holy Trinity School


The transition from home or nursery to a fulltime school is a huge step for children and we seek to ease this transition via the provision of a rich curriculum and a team of staff who are sympathetic to the needs of pupils and of their parents. We take care to offer a gentle induction into school life and place a huge emphasis upon home-school links and effective communication with parents. In practical terms this means children and parents will always be greeted with a friendly face and a listening ear, even in a busy Early Years classroom.

In the spirit of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum our approach is a holistic one, meaning that our first concern is the social and emotional well-being of the children in our care. As Church schools we place much value upon a school community that is harmonious and caring; from Reception Class to Year 6 all pupils and staff are expected to treat one another with kindness and respect.  We aim to develop strong bonds between Reception Class and Year 6 from the very start.

At the beginning of our children’s school life there is much to be learned and some social skills need to be taught explicitly – e.g. the need to share and respect school equipment, to listen carefully to friends and adults and to learn self-care skills and independence when becoming familiar with daily routines.

Communication & Language along with Personal, Social & Emotional Development are the drivers in the Early Years and strong emphasis is placed upon these. ‘Understanding’ is integral to speaking and listening. The Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky believed that children create themselves as thinkers through language, and that the role of the ‘more experienced other’ is significant in helping children to move forward in their thinking. Jerome Bruner built on Vygotsky’s work, using the term ‘scaffolding’ to describe how adults support children learning at a pace and level that is right for them. Learning is essentially a social process, and we have a vital role to play in helping young children discover and engage with their natural, social and cultural environments through language.

The children are sensitively led through new experiences and given ample time to get to know the many new people in their lives – adults and children. Games and activities are planned to help encourage communication skills and to model appropriate behaviour.

We take a formal approach towards the teaching of writing, reading and maths and our aim is for all children to be confident learners in preparation for the transition to Year 1.

The children have their own dedicated outdoor space and much use is made of this; it is proven that children are happier, more creative and more open to learning experiences when outside. For this reason, the children in Reception Class are given an opportunity to learn outside daily, come rain or shine! Our outside classroom is an important part of our school day and experiences there provide long-lasting and happy memories for your child as he or she moves through the school.

Implementation: (see additional document which contains examples and further detail)

  • A well-structured timetable with core learning explicitly taught in the mornings
  • A mixture of independent tasks and adult led learning in order to support and reinforce explicit teaching
  • Learning is planned to ensure children have a good balance of child initiated and adult led learning
  • At least 3 whole class adult led sessions per week in Alphabet Code (phonics), Literacy & Maths
  • We use The Sound Reading System written by Fiona Nevola based on the work of Diane McGuiness
  • Children in Reception Class learn Key 1 – a sound is represented by single letters c-a-t, Key 2 – a sound is represented by 2 or more letters h-i-ll and Key 3 – same sound can be represented in more than one way m-e, t-r-ee, s-u-nn-y, t-ea-m. In Reception Class children tend to focus on 1 or 2 different spellings and then in Year 1, the children are exposed to all possible spellings for a sound.
  • Intervention is planned for those groups of learners who are falling behind
  • Children take home at least 2 reading books each week, starting from the beginning of Autumn 2, once they have received at least 4 weeks of phonics teaching. Home reading books are from the series ‘Dandelion Readers’ that include words containing their most recently taught phonemes, and no phoneme that they have not yet been taught or exposed to.
  • We ensure that the children in Reception Class do not take home reading books until they have had at least 4 weeks of phonics teaching to help promote a positive learning experience.
  • We support Reception Class parents by inviting them to a workshop early in the Autumn term to ensure that they have the knowledge & skills to support their child.
  • Every child will have a Year 6 shepherd who will visit them in the classroom on a regular basis and will also provide comfort and support during playtimes
  • Children are taught a mastery curriculum in Maths using the Inspire programme
  • Teachers regularly assess children’s journey towards the ELGs in all areas of learning – there are formal assessments 3x per year and judgements are made on a regular basis through observations
  • Teachers use ‘Evidence Me’ by 2 simple to record observations and these are then put into their profiles
  • Children’s adult led learning is recorded in their Learning Journal and any child initiated or independent learning is recorded in the profile
  • Weekly sessions with their Year 6 shepherds, talk partners, circle time, reflecting on their learning, weekly discreet PSHE lessons, weekly discreet RE lessons, drama sessions, opportunity for role play
  • Children receive a 1 hour music lesson each week with our music teacher
  • 1 our dance lesson per week with our dance teacher
  • 2 hours of PE each week with our PE teacher
  • 1 hour of Spanish each week with our Spanish Teacher
  • Zones of Regulation are used to help them to understand their emotions and feelings and those of others
  • Art and Design: this key area of learning in Reception class focuses on the ELG of Physical Development and Expressive Arts and Design. During this year the children will develop their small motor skills so that they can use a range of tools competently, safely and confidently. Alongside their PE lessons, they learn to use their core muscle strength to achieve a good posture when sitting at a table or sitting on the floor and develop overall body-strength, balance, coordination and agility. Reception is a time for them to explore, use and refine a variety of artistic effects to express their ideas and feelings. They are encouraged to return to and build on their previous learning, refining ideas and developing their ability to represent them. Art and Design activities are carefully designed to help them create collaboratively, share ideas, resources and their skills.
  • Design and Technology: this area of their learning is similar to Art and Design, as it focuses on the ELG of Physical Development and Expressive Arts and Design but there is also an important link to Understanding the World and PSHE. Children in Reception are invited to select and use activities and resources. This helps them to achieve a goal that they have chosen or one which has been suggested to them. They are encouraged to make independent choices but are given help when needed. In this this area of their learning, they explore how things work and experiment with a range of materials and techniques.
  • Geography: this subject is embedded into the ELG of Understanding the World, in particular People, Culture and Communities and The Natural World. In Reception class the children will learn to describe the immediate environment around their school and local area, using knowledge from observation, discussion, a range of stories, non-fiction texts, maps and globes. They are taught how to explain similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries through narrative, images and real life experiences. The Natural World is at the centre of their learning for Geography and the curriculum reflects this as they learn about the important processes and changes in the environments around them. This includes activities about the weather, seasons, holidays and the seaside.
  • History: Closely related to Geography at this stage, this area of their learning also focuses on the ELG of Understanding the World. However, the emphasis for History is on the concepts of Past and Present. The children are given opportunities to talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society. They learn to know the similarities and differences between things in the past and now. This is based on their own personal family history, their life-story and other narratives which have been read in class. They begin to understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books, talks, images, films and other forms of storytelling.


Children who settle quickly and happily into school life
Consistently high achievement across all areas of learning at the end of EYFS
Children who see themselves as learners and feel confident about taking the next step into Year 1
Children who understand what it takes to be an ‘Excellent Learner’ (characteristics of effective learning)
Children who can follow the Code of Conduct around the school
Children who have strong communication skills