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Reception's Curriculum

At Greswold, we believe that children learn best through their play. Throughout the day, the children will have short adult-led activities learning about phonics and maths (among other things), and to practice their fine motor control. The environment in our Foundation Stage is set up in an engaging way matching children's interests wherever possible. For a large portion of the day, children are able to follow their own interests and ideas, learning in their own way through play, with adult support and encouragement. Teaching staff will play alongside the children, introducing new concepts and ideas. At other times we will observe the children for assessment purposes.


Communication and Language


This is a prime area that underpins much of our learning and assessment.  We encourage children to verbalise their experiences and to listen to each other.  Teachers use questioning to prompt children to explain their answers.  Towards the end of term, we use show and tell as a vehicle to encourage children to talk to each other, asking and answering relevant questions.

Early Learning Goals

Listening and attention: Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Understanding: Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Speaking: Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events

Personal, Social and Emotional Development


This subject underpins all we do in Reception. We begin each year by establishing a class charter of which children have ownership. Through giving children choices and encouraging them to self-resource we give them confidence and independence. Through circle time and SEAL units, we give children resources to cope with change and challenges.  Children know that they have similarities and differences and that all are valued.  We introduce children to the idea of achieving goals and targets.

Early Learning Goals

Self-confidence and self-awareness: Children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.

Managing feelings and behaviour: Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

Making relationships: Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.


Physical Development


In addition to planned PE lessons, children have daily opportunities to access activities that will encourage them to practise gross motor skills.  We provide equipment such as balls, bikes, large cars, hoops, stilts and obstacle courses etc.  We provide daily opportunities such as using scissors, tools and malleable materials for children to practise fine motor skills.  We encourage children to take responsibility for their own dressing and undressing, hand-washing and toileting.  We promote healthy eating.

Early Learning Goals

Moving and handling: Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

Health and self-care: Children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.




Early reading begins with listening to stories and sharing books. Children take part in a guided reading session with a teacher every week, beginning with books with no text and progressing to word books when they recognise the first stage words. Children also learn synthetic phonics in a daily phonics lesson, which they quickly begin to use to decode simple words during guided reading. Parents have an important role to play by practising reading at home using home reading books. Parents can also foster a love of books by regularly reading stories and looking at books with their children. As the year progresses, children will be given stage words to learn by sight, and will begin to read non-fiction books and poetry books as well as story books. The school reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree, and we prefer parents to refrain from buying books from the scheme. By the end of Reception, we expect the majority of children will have reached the Early Learning Goal in Reading.

Early Learning Goal - Reading: Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.


Early writing begins with making marks and giving meaning to those marks. This could be in pencil, paint, crayon, chalk or any medium. Most children enjoy learning to write their name, and begin to attempt to write labels and captions. In daily phonics lessons, children are taught to write letter sounds and phonemes. As the year progresses, children begin to use their phonic knowledge to write the sounds they hear. They become more independent and begin to practise letter formation. They have a guided writing session with the teacher every week, but they are also encouraged to write independently. They learn to spell tricky words and their writing becomes easier to read. After Christmas, they take home a short list of spellings to learn each week, linked to their phonic progression. They begin to write sentences and simple stories. By the end of Reception we expect the majority of children will have reached the Early Learning Goal in Writing.

Early Learning Goal - Writing: Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible



The children are given opportunities to count every day through songs and rhymes, and counting classroom objects and each other. Numbers and shapes are all around the classroom and are pointed out to the children. There is always a maths activity for children to do independently, and a guided maths session with the teacher every week. Once children have settled into school, a short daily maths session is introduced. By the end of Reception we expect most children to have reached the Early Learning Goals for Maths.

Early Learning Goals

Numbers: Children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

Shape, space and measures: Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Understanding the World


Within our topic work there are many opportunities for developing pupil’s understanding of the world. Children are encouraged to be curious, and to investigate their environment. They are encouraged to ask and answer questions and to give explanations about what they are learning. Class discussions often include talking about themselves and their families, and a weekly RE lesson supports learning about similarities and differences including religions, communities and traditions. Children use computers in school as well as programmable and remote controlled toys, cameras, and recordable microphones.

Early Learning Goals

People and communities: Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.

The world: Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Technology: Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

Expressive Art and Design


We use our topics to stimulate children’s creative imaginations.  Sometimes children will carry out a teacher directed piece of work where they are supported to join and combine materials, but more often, children are provided with a range of resources and encouraged to use their imagination with a wide range of media.  We also use instruments, music, role play and small world play both inside and out, to encourage children to express themselves freely.  Occasionally we will prepare songs, dances or crafts for occasions such as Christmas, Mother’s Day etc.

Early Learning Goals

Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

Being imaginative: Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about users and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.


Curriculum Enrichment


In addition to the academic curriculum outlined above, Reception also offers:

Foundation Key Stage harvest festival in October
Educational visits to Hatton Country World and Conkers
Reception Christmas Production
Foundation Key Stage Mother's Day assembly