Early Years

At Shillington Lower School the Reception Team firmly believes that play is a crucial part of young children’s development. We aim to provide a safe and stimulating environment where children can actively engage in a variety of well-balanced activities. Children will develop a range of skills to prepare them for the next step in their learning journey, enabling a smooth transition into school. Most learning will be introduced through a mixture of carefully planned play and adult-led focused activities. We provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that takes into account the individual needs of each child, inspiring and motivating children to develop their understanding encourages them to ask questions. There will also be opportunities for children to choose and explore activities that appeal to them, following their own particular interests. Children will be able to maximise their learning through forming strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults and their peers. We use the Development Matters framework alongside the new EYFS framework (2021) to assist us in planning exciting opportunities to enable children to achieve their Early Learning Goals in the seven areas of development:  

  • Communication and language development: Children are given the opportunity to experience a rich language environment, to speak and listen in a range of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves. We display any new vocabulary used in our ‘word garden’ and discuss the meaning of them, enhancing the children’s understanding of a variety of words.  
  • Physical development: Children are given the opportunity to enable them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences are crucial in early year physical development. By providing opportunities for play, both indoors and outdoors, adults with support children in developing their core strength, stability, balance and spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Children are taught the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food. We regularly take part in fun fitness sessions and dough disco to support our gross and fine motor skills.  
  • Personal, social and emotional development: Children are given the opportunity to develop a positive sense of themselves and others, to form positive relationships and to develop respect for others. They will also develop social skills, learn how to manage their feelings, understand appropriate behaviour and to have confidence in their own abilities.  
  • Literacy: Children are given the opportunity to develop a life-long love of reading through a variety of activities such as sharing books, re-enacting them, ‘innovating’ existing tales and creating their own stories. Children are also given plenty of opportunities to develop their early mark making skills through multi-sensory approaches. They will develop their early reading and writing skills through the phonics programme Letters and Sounds. Alongside this, Jolly Phonics is used to enhance their learning through enjoyable songs and actions.  
  • Mathematics: Children are given the opportunity to develop a strong grounding in numbers so that they develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. By providing frequent and varied activities to build and apply this understanding, children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, our curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics such as shape, space and measures.  
  • Understanding the world: Children are given the opportunity to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories e.g. non-diction, rhymes and poems will foster children’s understanding of our culturally, socially and technologically diverse world. Children will take part in a ‘Growing’ topic in the Spring term where relevant story books are linked to the children planting their own seeds. Throughout the year, the children grow their own fruit and vegetables which are used to make our school dinners. By taking part in these projects, children will learn how plants grow, the importance of insects, observe seasonal changes and gain an appreciation for nature and the circle of life. 
  • Expressive arts and design: Children are given the opportunity to develop their imagination, creativity and their ability to use a wide range of media and materials. They will also be encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology. We deliver weekly cooking sessions where children learn how to follow instructions, use specific vocabulary and aim to write a list of ingredients and the method used.  

Parents/carers are informed of their child’s learning regularly through Seesaw posts and pictures, newsletters and parent evenings.