Reception Curriculum Information
Life in Early Years at HLC is fun and filled with exciting, playful, and enjoyable learning opportunities. Our school motto: “belong, respect, inspire, succeed and enjoy” lie at the very heart of our Early Years curriculum offer. We are a large learning community across Reception and Nursery, but every child is known as an individual, instilling a sense of real belonging. We work closely with our parents and carers and build strong relationships with them from the onset to ensure that each child is happy, safe and learning as much as they can. Our Nursery is led by experienced qualified teachers who immerse our children in their learning whilst providing them with the Early Reading, Phonics and Mathematics skills to prepare them for their journey into school.
The development of every child’s communication and language skills is at the forefront of our daily practice and we believe that planning to help every child to develop their language and emotional literacy is vital. The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. At HLC, we support children in their back-and-forth interactions from an early age as we know these form the foundations for language and cognitive development. We value the number and quality of the conversations our children have with adults and peers throughout the day and understand that a language-rich environment is crucial. Staff use a variety of strategies to build children’s language effectively, to ensure that children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures. We also ensure that our daily practice allows and encourages our EAL learners to use their full linguistic repertoire in order to empower them and help them to realise their full potential. We actively encourage our children to speak, write and/or translate to and from their first language or any language they speak, as well as English, to support their learning.
Throughout Nursery and Reception, we have used the requirements outlined in the ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021’ and the knowledge of our children and the community to which they belong to create a bespoke, progressive curriculum which is designed to meet the specific needs of HLC pupils. This unique curriculum offer, and the way it is delivered, is deeply rooted in early childhood development theory and ensures that our children work towards ambitious endpoints by working through achievable, progressive steps. We understand that progress is not linear, and that revisiting acquired knowledge and skills is crucial in ensuring that they can do and remember more. The framework sets out the three prime areas of learning that underpin everything in our early years: Communication and Language, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development. The four specific areas help children to strengthen and apply the prime areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. At HLC we understand that all of those areas of learning are connected together. The characteristics of effective teaching and learning weave through them all. That is because children in the early years are becoming more powerful learners and thinkers. These characteristics develop as they learn to do new things, acquire new skills, develop socially and emotionally, and become better communicators. We use these areas of learning to: underpin our broad and balanced curriculum offer; to ensure that our children’s social and emotional needs are being met; and their wellbeing is being nurtured.
At HLC we have created our own bespoke synthetic systematic phonics programme, through fidelity to our scheme, we strive to create fluent, confident readers and writers. We systematically teach the children to hear sounds in words (phonemes) and then represent them using letters (graphemes). Nursery pupils will be introduced to Phase 1 phonics through small, focused groups and adult-led activities. This is through fun and engaging activities, for example singing Nursery Rhymes, going on a sound hunt and exploring with musical instruments. Where appropriate, teachers will introduce some children to the initial sounds from Phase 2. All children in Reception have a daily phonics session of 20 minutes. Children are taught as a whole class, with further interventions taking place to target all children’s needs. Reception children will be taught Phases 2, 3, and 4 phonics by the end of the academic year some children will begin Phase 5 phonics where appropriate. We encourage our children to apply their phonics learning through their play and promote mark making, the use of print within the environment and story scribing.
Throughout Reception our children will progress through a range of phonetically decodable scheme books. Reading is taught through 1:1 sessions and all reading books used in these sessions are linked directly to the phonic phases that children are currently focusing upon. Books are changed weekly throughout this stage as children are expected to re-read and practice fluency and decoding skills. Our children are taught in an environment that is rich in reading opportunities and reading is rigorously promoted and planned across the Early Years. We provide an inclusive and enabling language-rich environment for reading which empowers and encourages children to read a range of genres both in and out of doors. Every day, the whole class shares texts, which are beyond their independent reading ability, often using an enlarged text. Story time is a special time where staff bring the books to life, thus providing a context for teacher modelling, teaching and applying reading skills. Children are encouraged to take home any of these books to share with an adult for pleasure, practise re-telling stories and to gain confidence in reading.
In our Early Years, we aim to equip children with a sense of Mathematics as part of their world, by providing them with opportunities for practical application of their understanding. In Reception, Early Mathematics is taught through daily Maths Magic focussing on both Number and Numerical Patterns. These sessions are used to introduce new vocabulary, ways of applying mathematical thinking or effective ways of using resources. We then encourage the children to continue to apply maths within their exploratory play and use this as a tool for Mathematics as a whole. Our staff have given extensive consideration to how each area of our continuous provision is engendering mathematical understanding or rehearsal of skills taught in our focussed Maths Magic sessions. We want our children to bring their mathematical understanding into their experiences since this makes maths more real and more purposeful.
We aim to create enabling and irresistible indoor and outdoor learning environments, thoughtfully enhanced with authentic objects for children to explore, including items from the natural world. These resources spark curiosity, imagination and bring a unique quality to their learning and play. Through high-quality interactions, we hope to inspire our little thinkers and develop their curiosity to know more and learn more. We value the importance of play and how crucial it is to all areas of a child’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. We give our children time to become deeply involved in their play and ensure that every detail of their school day is committed to knowledge and skills growth, with children applying their skills to situations and experiences, and opening up opportunities to develop new ones alongside them.
We believe that children have a natural desire to learn, explore, discover and succeed. Our caring teachers and support staff plan a wide range of learning opportunities and use exciting provocations within the environment to ensure that children are motivated and deeply engaged in their learning, including those children with SEND. Our dedicated team listen to and observe our children closely to identify and follow each child’s interests. By doing this, we recognise and take the opportunity to extend our children’s interests and build upon their learning over time, through facilitating key teaching opportunities and planning for our children’s next steps.
As an Early Years Team, we are proud to provide our children with the opportunities to thrive and become strong and independent here with us at HLC!