A rough guide as to what we will aim to achieve over our year in Reception:
Research shows that children who are taught well in their first year of school go on to achieve better GCSE results in English and maths.
Reception teacher Hayley Garland reveals why the reception year is one of the most important years of a child’s school life:
“As a parent, you are your child’s first educator, and your home is their first learning environment.
It is here that firm foundations are laid to build a sense of emotional security and resilience. After their home, school is the next most important place for most children.
The experiences at school play a vital part in children’s lives, determining their academic, social, and possibly occupational futures.”
That’s why it’s so important to get it right from day one.
Reception is the first year of primary school and the final year of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) before children start KS1. It’s compulsory in England and Wales.
Most children start reception in the year they turn five years old. Year groups follow the birthday cycle of 1st September – 31st August.
It is generally accepted that children’s early experiences have the biggest impact on their later life.
In the first five years, children develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally at a faster rate than at any other time.
In reception, teachers work hard to embed positive attitudes towards school and learning.
In addition to setting the expectations for children’s behaviour and building a sound understanding of key concepts such as reading and numbers.
It is believed that children who are taught well in their first school year go on to achieve better GCSE results in English and maths (from academics at CEM and Durham University). Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:
“The early years are a crucial time for development and we know that quality of teaching has the single biggest impact on how well children do in school.”
The “Bold Beginnings” report published by Ofsted in November 2017 also emphasised the significance of the teaching of the initial concepts of reading and numbers that takes place during reception:
“Put simply, by the end of reception, the ability to read, write and use numbers is fundamental. They are the building blocks for all other learning. Without firm foundations in these areas, a child’s life chances can be severely restricted.”
But the reception year teaches so much more than that!
In reception, teachers have a statutory duty to carefully facilitate the ‘characteristics of effective learning’. These are the fundamental skills and attitudes required to help children become lifelong learners, focusing on not just what children need to learn but how they learn it.
Reception children develop the ability to become independent and capable learners for life when we focus on the following skills and attitudes:
Moreover, the reception class national curriculum uniquely highlights the importance of other learning skills that children need in order to access the learning that takes place later on in primary school.
These skills are considered ‘prime’ interdependent areas and underpin all other teaching in reception classrooms.
The prime areas of learning and development in reception year are:
It’s clear that these skills undoubtedly support and scaffold learning across all areas of the curriculum as well as helping children to become well-rounded, capable individuals.
So, what will your child learn?
During reception year, your child will learn how to speak clearly using correct grammar through activities such as show and tell, singing and making up stories.
At this stage of school, children learn how to recognise the letters and sounds of the alphabet. They will also learn to read common words and understand that stories have beginnings, middles and endings.
Get some help learning phonics at home!
Children will learn how to use a pencil, write the letters of the alphabet, their name and begin to form simple sentences.
In reception maths, your child will learn to count to 10, estimate, compare numbers and use a number line for counting. They will also start to explore shapes, quantities and simple patterns.
Lots of learning at this stage of school is based around play. This can include monitored free play, organised games and class activities.
By the end of their reception year, children should be able to achieve an expected level within several different areas, including;
The aim is for children to…
Don’t worry if your child struggles with some of the expectations above. All children are different and learn at their own pace. If you’re worried about your child’s level of development, speak to their school to find out if they need extra support such as maths or English tuition.
By the time children get to reception year, they should be able to dress, feed and go to the toilet themselves. They should also be able to maintain attention for short periods of time and be able to recognise and write their own name.
To help them get ready to start school, you can begin preparing for reception before the summer term kicks off. Here are some tips…
Building up their confidence with small, everyday tasks like using a knife and fork or putting their shoes on independently can help prepare them for school life.
We would also expect your toilet to be toilet trained and be able to go to the toilet independently. We will of course be on hand to assist or deal with any "accidents" should they occur!
It’s normal for your child to be worried about the first day of school. Talking to them in advance about their emotions and what will happen on their first day can help to put their mind at ease.
From helping to lay the table to family games night, getting them used to simple instructions will help to make your child feel comfortable following their teacher’s requests.
A few playdates in the lead up to reception year can help get your child used to socialising with others their age. All good practice for sharing, taking turns and spending time away from the family home.
A story before bed is a wonderful way to boost their literacy and reading skills and provides a calming routine to continue as school gets started and life gets busier.
Why not try using games to make learning part of everyday life? From counting apples during the weekly shop to word games in the car – practising simple literacy and maths skills ahead of school can help them feel more confident in the classroom.
Looking for some extra help for your child?
Online tutoring and support can be effective for children as young as 4 years old, giving them a great introduction to the world of learning and the primary curriculum.
Starting reception is an exciting time of learning lots of new skills! We’re here to support your child through the early years and beyond.
We understand that your child starting their school journey can be a daunting time and you may have many questions about how you can help to prepare your children for starting school. There is a lot of conflicting advice about what children should be able to do before starting school and it is understandable that this can cause stress for you as parents which can affect the children too, and our goal is to make their transition into school as smooth and happy as possible for everyone involved. Please check back over the next few months for more resources and ideas to help you in becoming part of our Icknield Family
Oxford Owl offers some great advice on how to prepare your child for being a successful reader, which comes down to one key thing; talking. When children are successful communicators this gives them a great start to their reading journey. Visit their website for some more practical tips and ideas on how to support your children at home https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/advice-for-parents/reading-at-home/getting-ready-for-reading-ages-3-4/
Phonics sounds pronunciation
If your child is already showing interest in reading and writing then you may already be teaching them how to recognise sounds at home. This is fantastic but what is crucial is that children learn how to pronounce these sounds correctly. Please see the video below which demonstrated the correct articulation so that you can continue to support this learning at home.
Our school are fully paid members of the Little Wandle Letters and words scheme. They have a marvellous approach and have a detailed, supportive plan that will nurture your child's development.
Please follow this link for an insight as into how the scheme works:
There are various theories as to how we should approach mathematics. However, the fundamental and basics remain the same. Children need to be hands on and visually see items and be able to manipulate and touch them. We will be doing lots of practical sessions with various objects, represent amounts in different ways, do lots of counting, etc.
Please have a look at this link for a more in depth look into the working of maths within the EYFS framework (Early Years Foundation Stage) while your child is in our Reception class: