Starting school at Harold Court
What learning looks like in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Children start school in the academic year in which they turn five and are placed into a Reception class. Each Reception class has a teacher and a teaching assistant. The school day begins at 8:50 however the children can walk into their classrooms from 8:40 each day, and are then collected when the school day finishes at 3:15pm. During the day the children are involved in a wide range of activities either chosen by themselves or led by teachers and teaching assistants. They have access to carefully planned activities where they are able to learn through play. Play is recognised as so important to their well-being and development that the right to play is set down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and play is a fundamental commitment within the Early Years Foundation Stage. More information is available at http://www.keap.org.uk/documents/LearningPlayingInteracting.pdf
Understanding the World (The World 30-50 months) – Talks about why things happen and how things work
Each day is very different but there is a general structure which is roughly as follows:
Self-registration followed by activities to help the children settle. As the children become settled into school they then start to attend assemblies (celebration, singing, infant and whole school).
Activities inside and outside
“We are princesses and we have lost our glass slippers”
Expressive Arts (Being Imaginative 30-50 months) – Use available props to support role-play
“I can keep my balance and walk from one end to the other without falling off”
Physical development (Moving and Handling 40-60 months) – Travels with confidence and skill around, under, over through balancing and climbing equipment.
Drink and fruit time
Activities inside and outside
A daily structured phonics lesson.
At Harold Court we follow the Jolly phonics Scheme of work and Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics published by the Department of Education and Skills. More information is available at
Lunchtime – children have either a packed lunch or school dinner
A daily oral maths lesson
Activities inside and outside
Story time or music or use of the laptops
Twice a week the children have a dance, PE or games lesson. This year, both classes have hall time on Mondays and Thursdays.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum information about the curriculum and assessment
Whilst in Reception the children are working within the Foundation Stage and follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. This curriculum has four key themes and principles. These are:
A Unique Child
– every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
– children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
– children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
Learning and Development
– children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Within the Foundation Stage curriculum there are seven areas of learning – 3 Prime Areas and 4 Specific Areas and at Harold Court these are taught through themes and topics. Parents will be provided with termly curriculum newsletters informing them of the topics to be covered, and how to support their child’s learning at home. This information is also available on the school website. Additional information is available at
1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development which falls under 3 headings-
Self-confidence and self awareness
Feelings and behaviour
Children have been enjoying the story of the 3 Little Pigs and are negotiating how best to make a strong house of bricks.
2. Physical Development which falls under 2 headings-
Moving and handling
Health and self-care
Children are accessing the freeflow outdoor learning environment. They are practicing some appropriate safety measures without direct supervision.
3. Communication and Language which falls under 3 headings-
Listening and attention
Children made their own puppets and re-told the story of the 3 Little Pigs. They were able to introduce a storyline and narrative into their play.
Literacy – Reading, Writing
Developing recognition of sounds and letters.
Using and applying phonic skills to segment for spelling.
Mathematics – Number
Counting using one to one correspondence and showing an interest in representing number.
In practical activities and discussion, children are using vocabulary involved in adding and recording numbers and marks that they can explain
Shape, space and measure
Children are showing an interest in 2D shapes and arranging them to make a picture.
Children using and applying counting skills to accurately measure ingredients to make a gingerbread man. Developing early understanding of weighing using standard units.
Understanding the World – People and communities
3. Understanding the World which falls under three headings-
People and communities
Children learning about the Festival of Diwali and were able to enjoy a visit from a parent who shared with them how she and her family celebrated this special time.
Children donated money to come to school in their pyjamas to raise money for children in need.
The World, Technology
Children are able to interact with age appropriate computer software to support learning in a safe managed learning environment.
Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and using media and materials
4. Expressive Arts and which fall under 2 heading-
Media and materials
Exploring how clay can be moulded and used to make a pot. Children made a special pot to plant a seed to celebrate the Christening of the Royal baby, Prince George.
'Children are playing cooperatively as part of a group to develop a narrative'.
At the start of the year each child is assigned a key person, generally the class teacher of teaching assistant. Their role is to help ensure that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs. They help each child to become familiar with the setting, offer a settled relationship for the child and build a relationship with parents and carers. We do have a communications/home school links book in place where information can be exchanged on a daily basis.
Assessment in the Foundation Stage
Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and practitioners (teachers and teaching assistants) to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support.
Assessment begins on entry in the Foundation Stage and involves practitioners observing children whilst they are working and playing. At the end of the Foundation Stage the Foundation Stage Profile is completed for each child and outcomes are reported to parents and carers. The profile provides a picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities and their progress against expected levels.
2Build a Profile
At Harold Court we feel it’s important that we share all children’s learning journeys with parents/carers. New to the Foundation Stage in September 2013 is the 2Build a Profile app. This new app provides a simple, effective and powerful way to log children’s achievements against the Early Years Profile. It enables staff to capture planned and spontaneous important moments, which are recorded and used to monitor each child’s progress against individual targets. It also empowers the children by allowing them to record their own achievements using our new iPads.
2Build a Profile provides accurate and detailed progress tracking from birth to the end of reception. It creates pupil learning journeys that can be shared with parents/carers and enables all staff to compare cohort groups and identify areas for intervention.