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Learning in Reception

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Communication and language


Good communication skills and a rich vocabulary are very important to your child's development.  Reading, and being read to, every day in school and at home will help your child to express themselves.  When your child understands new words,  they develop their understanding of the world around them and their ability to achieve well increases.

When you bring your child to school, they will have access to our fantastic library bus.  With social distancing measures in place, you will be able to borrow books to read at home.

We have recorded some of our favourite stories here for you to listen to and watch together.


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Widden Primary School EYFS Policy 


“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up”


At Widden Primary school and Widden Plus Nursery we seek to provide:

Quality and consistency, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind;

A secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly;

Partnership working between teachers and with parents and/or carers;

Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported. 

For the specific area of literacy, the children are taught to read and write through the use of phonics, and specifically the ‘Read, write, inc programme; including handwriting.   Storymaking is used to develop writing. 

Mathematics is taught using some materials from Glow Maths.


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the

Reception year.


At Widden Primary School, we provide provision for up to 60 two, three and four year olds in our Widden Plus Nursery Provision.

The two year old children can attend up to 15 hours per week in the mornings or afternoons.  Three and four year olds are eligible for 15 or 30 hours of government funded hours dependent on eligibility. 

Funding becomes available the term after your child turns two years old or the term following their third birthday depending on eligibility.

Parents are welcome to remain to play with their child or can leave them with the qualified early years Teachers and Practitioners.  The children have a very well resourced and dedicated space with facilities designed  to meet their needs and inspire a love of learning.  The building is shared with the Bartongate Children’s Centre.  The Nursery’s private entrance can be accessed through the main school gates.


Children join us in the Reception classes in the September after their fourth birthday Most children will attend full time before January, however some may continue part time until the spring.  The children enter the two Reception classes through the entrance at the end of the building.  The school day begins at 8.45 and finishes at 3.15.



The EYFS is based upon four principles:

  • A Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Children develop and learn in different ways



A Unique Child

At Widden Primary School and Nursery we recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways, at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are

influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement, as well as

celebration and rewards, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.






We value the diversity of individuals within the school and do not discriminate against any child or their family. All children at Widden Primary School and Nursery are treated

fairly regardless of race, religion or abilities. All children and their families are valued

within our school.

In our school we believe that all our children matter. We give our children every opportunity

to achieve their best. We do this by taking account of our children’s range of life

experiences when planning for their learning.


In the EYFS we set realistic and challenging expectations that meet the needs of our

children. We achieve this by planning to meet the needs of boys and girls, children with

special educational needs, children who are more able, children with disabilities, children

from all social and cultural backgrounds, children of different ethnic groups and those from

diverse linguistic backgrounds.


We meet the needs of all our children through:

  • planning opportunities that build upon and extend children’s knowledge, experience

             and interests, and develop their self-esteem and confidence;

  • using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs;
  • providing a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children and to help

             them to learn effectively;

  • providing a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all

             children is valued;

  • using resources which reflect diversity and are free from discrimination and


  • planning challenging activities for children whose ability and understanding are in

             advance of their language and communication skills;

  • monitoring children’s progress and taking action to provide support as necessary.


It is important to us that all children in the school are ‘safe’. We aim to educate children on

boundaries, rules and limits and to help them understand why they exist. We provide

children with choices to help them develop this important life skill. Children should be

allowed to take risks, but need to be taught how to recognise and avoid hazards.

We aim to protect the physical and psychological well being of all children.



“Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are

met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them.”


At Widden Primary School and Nursery we aim to;


  • promote the welfare of children.
  • promote good health, preventing the spread of infection and taking appropriate

             action when children are ill.

  • manage behaviour effectively in a manner appropriate for the children’s stage of

             development and individual needs, introducing them to the whole school approach.

  • ensure all adults who look after the children or who have unsupervised access to

             them are suitable to do so.

  • ensure that the premises, furniture and equipment is safe and suitable for


  • ensure that every child receives enjoyable and challenging learning and

             development experiences tailored to meet their needs.

  • maintain records, policies and procedures required for safe efficient

             management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children.

We endeavour to meet all these requirements.


Children who stay in the nursery for a full day can bring in a healthy  packed lunch to eat in the school with the reception children.  We are currently exploring ways to offer hot meals as an alternative.

All of the children in the reception classes are currently entitled a free school lunch through the universal free school meals programme.  At Widden, we actively encourage all children to take up this offer and reception staff  join the children at mealtimes to promote healthy eating.


Positive Relationships

At Widden Primary School and Nursery we recognise that children learn to be strong independent to form secure relationships. We aim to develop caring, respectful, professional relationships with the children and their families. 



The children in the EYFS follow the FREE programme.  This is based upon the Widden school behaviour values of Friendship, Respect, Excellence and Equality.



Parents as Partners

We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and we value

the contribution they make.


We recognise the role that parents have played, and their future role, in educating the

children. We do this through:

  • a visit to the family in their own home to talk to parents about their child before their child starts in our school or nursery;
  • informal drop in sessions for our two and three year olds and their Parents/Carers;
  • contribution from parents and families towards the two year old progress check;
  • regular meetings to develop the Every Child a Talker programme;
  • the children, with their Parents/Carers, have the opportunity to spend four afternoons in the Reception classes during the half term before starting part time at school;
  • the children and their Parents/Carers are invited to a fun afternoon session where they have an opportunity to meet other parents of children who are currently in the Reception classes and the Parents/Carers of children who will be in the Reception class with their child;
  • all parents are invited to an induction meeting during the term before their child

             starts school;

  • encouraging parents to talk to the child’s teacher/key worker if there are any concerns and where possible using an interpreter if necessary;
  • regular open mornings where the children can share their learning journeys with Parents/Carers;
  • Reading and maths meetings and workshops





Parents receive a report on their child’s attainment and progress at the end of

the Foundation Stage;

All staff involved with the EYFS aim to develop good relationships with all children,

interacting positively with them and taking time to listen to them. At our school the EYFS

teacher acts a ‘Key Person’ to all children in EYFS, supported by the Teaching Assistants.


Enabling Environments

At Widden Primary School and nursery we recognise that the environment plays a key role in

supporting and extending the children’s development. Through observation we assess the

children’s interests, stages of development and learning needs, before planning challenging,

achievable activities and experiences to extend the children’s learning.

Observation, Assessment and Planning

Planning in the nursery is based on the development matters and is changed

regularly to meet the needs of all of the children. The Planning within the Reception classes is based around half termly themes. These plans are used by the EYFS teachers as a guide for weekly planning, however the teacher may alter these in response to the needs (achievements and interests) of the children. This will be indicated on weekly planning.

We make regular assessments of children’s learning and we use this information to ensure

that future planning reflects identified needs. Assessment in the EYFS takes the form of

observation, and this involves the teacher and other adults as appropriate. These

observations are recorded in a variety of ways and used to inform the two year old progress check and the final EYFSP.

In the reception classes, during the final term of the EYFS, we provide a written summary to parents, reporting their progress against the ELG’s and assessment scales. The parents are given the opportunity to discuss these judgements with the teacher and both parents and children are encouraged to complete a feedback sheet.


The Learning Environment

The EYFS classes are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely.


The classrooms, bay area and outdoor area are set up so children are able to find and  locate equipment and resources independently.   The large purpose built outdoor areas allows continuous provision, providing children of all learning styles opportunities to explore, use their senses, develop their language skills and be physically active. We plan activities and resources both inside and outside enabling the children to develop in all the areas of learning.


Learning and Development

At Widden Primary School and Nursery we recognise that children learn and develop in different ways

and have their own learning styles. We value all areas of learning and development equally

and understand that they are often linked.


Teaching and Learning Style

Our policy on teaching and learning defines the features of effective teaching and learning

in our school. These features apply to teaching and learning in the EYFS just as much as

they do to the teaching in Key Stages 1 and 2. Features that relate to the EYFS are:



  • the partnership between teachers and parents, so that our children feel secure at

             school and develop a sense of well-being and achievement;

  • the understanding that teachers have of how children develop and learn, and how

             this affects their teaching;

  • the range of approaches used that provide first-hand experiences, give clear

             explanations, make appropriate interventions and extend and develop play and talk or

             other means of communication;

  • the carefully planned curriculum that helps children work towards the Early Learning

      Goals throughout EYFS;

  • the provision for children to take part in activities that build on and extend their

             interests and develop their intellectual, physical, social and emotional abilities;

  • the encouragement for children to communicate and talk about their learning, and to

            develop independence;

  • the support for learning with appropriate and accessible indoor and outdoor space,

             facilities and equipment;

  • the identification of the progress and future learning needs of children through




Characteristics of learning;

The children in the EYFS are also assessed in how they learn.  This enables staff to plan effectively for individual children.


Playing and exploring

“Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations. In their

play children learn at their highest level. Play with peers is important for children’s


Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make

sense of the world. They have the opportunity to practise skills, develop ideas and think

creatively alongside other children as well as individually. The children communicate with

others as they investigate and solve problems. They have the opportunity to express fears

or re-live anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations.


Active Learning

“Children learn best through physical and mental challenges. Active learning involves other

people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods.”

Active learning occurs when children are motivated and interested. Children need to have independence and control over their learning. As children develop their confidence

they learn to make decisions. It provides children with a sense of satisfactions as they take

ownership of their learning.


Creativity and Critical Thinking

“When children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a

variety of resources, they discover connections and come to new and better understandings

and ways of doing things. Adult support in this process enhances their ability to think

critically and ask questions.”

Children are given opportunities to be creative through all areas of learning. Adults support children’s thinking and help them to make connections by showing genuine interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open questions. Children can access resources freely and are allowed to move them around the classroom, bay and outdoor area to extend their learning.


Areas of Learning

The EYFS is made up of seven areas of learning.  These are subdivided into Prime and Specific areas.


The Prime areas of learning consist of:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional development.


The specific areas consist of:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design


None of these areas can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally

important and depend on each other. All areas are delivered through a balance of adult led

and child initiated activities. In each area there are Early Learning Goals (ELG's) that

define the expectations for most children to reach by the end of the EYFS.



Monitoring and review

It is the responsibility of the Foundation teachers to follow the principles stated in this

policy. There is a named Governor responsible for the EYFS. This governor has the

opportunity to discuss EYFS practice with the practitioners and provide feedback to the

whole governing body, raising any issues that require discussion.

The Head teacher and subject coordinators carry out monitoring of the EYFS through

observation and discussion.


All quotations included in this document are taken from the Statutory framework for the early years Foundation Stage

Handbook May 2008, September 2012, April 2017