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Early Years

Reception at


Primary School












Rationale for the Reception curriculum at Dringhouses

At Dringhouses, our school culture of high expecations for learning and behaviour is introduced in Reception and continues through to Year 6 with Reception children forming part of a successful, hard working community. Children are inspired through an extension of their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in and the provision of a caring, secure and supportive environment. We provide a carefully planned, structured and monitored, child-initiated and adult-led curriculum that enables each child to develop maximum levels of self-confidence, self-motivation, and resilience whilst learning positively, happily and collaboratively with others. The curriculum is mapped in collaboration with Key Stage 1 with common ‘learning projects’ used to package the learning – appreciating the need to ensure the processes of learning to read and write together with understanding and using number are at the forefront. As such, the Early years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) is used as a guide to end-of-Reception expectations rather than a definition of what should be taught.
























Aims of Reception learning at Dringhouses

  • Reception children at Dringhouses engage in a stimulating curriculum that ensures that all seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) learning and development are addressed with the understanding that securing the essential skills of reading, writing and mathematics enables successful learning across all other subjects;
  • We recognise that the teaching of reading, including systematic, synthetic phonics, is central to the Reception year at Dringhouses;
  • Carefully planned areas of provision allow children to explore and investigate both new and familiar topics with enhancements included to develop basic skills e.g. phonics, writing and number. Adults skilfully play alongside children ensuring progress through higher level questioning;
  • A wide variety of teaching approaches are used to support, encourage and challenge active involvement in the children’s learning. Learning projects guide children’s learning but do not dominate. Child led play can lead to a completely new adventure!
  • As children progress through the reception year, they are gradually exposed to more formal teaching and learning through guided group work in preparation for moving into year 1.

Daily Phonics                                                                 


We have a rigorous approach to teaching and acquisition of phonics. There is a daily 20 minute whole class session taught by the class teacher. ‘Letters and Sounds’ is used to inform planning and a large amount of practical activities both inside and outside.  Each adult led session is split into four parts, revisit, teach, practise and apply. There is an equal focus on reading and writing.


Daily Mathematics

Mathematics in Reception at Dringhouses starts with a daily adult led session. The session includes the understanding of number and the number system and shape, space and measure. The adult led session is then extended into the learning through areas of provision providing mathematics based problem solving play activities.




We believe that every child should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Inclusion is at the very heart of our curriculum. Activities are carefully planned and resourced with this in mind ensuring access to all. Children are closely monitored to ensure that no child is knowingly left behind. We run daily phonic interventions, ‘Talk Boost’ for children finding communication and language challenging and daily ‘keep up’ sessions to prevent children from falling behind. 

Children identified with special educational needs (SEN) embrace our language rich curriculum. Support plans and packages are carefully and collaboratively planned with parents and carers and reviewed regularly.



Physical development

Activities are planned to provide opportunities for children to be active as well as develop their co-ordination, control and movement. These activities include access to the outdoor play environment, weekly PE sessions and Forest Schools. These all help the development of both fine and gross motor skills.









Fine motor skills

Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands and fingers. It is important that children have the opportunities to strength these areas of the body in preparation for writing and forming letters. In the Early Years at Dringhouses we provide a range of different activities to support this development:

  • Cutting and using scissors
  • Using tweezers
  • Threading
  • Using pegs
  • Use of malleable materials such as play dough
  • Funky finger sessions once a week
  • Puzzles and jigsaws
  • Drawing with pens, pencils and crayons
  • Painting with various sized painted brushes
  • Model making with bricks such as Lego







Gross Motor Skills


Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements. For children to develop larger movements and have the ability to walk, run, hop, skip, slide, catch, jump and kick they must practise these movements regularly. Activities to strength these movements include:


  • Riding bikes and scooters
  • Using the climbing wall
  • Using big tools to paint, dig and clean with
  • Crawling through things
  • Balancing
  • Climbing
  • Carrying large boxes and crates


Health and self-care

Children are supported to become independent and resilient. This begins with being able to look after themselves and their belongings. We actively encourage our children to place high regard on responsibility and safety for themselves and others. The children have the opportunity to find out about how to keep their bodies safe and healthy, by supporting them to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.


Personal social and emotional development

Children develop a positive sense of themselves and others. They are supported to form positive relationships and have respect for others. They develop their social skills and learn how to manage their feelings appropriately in different contexts.




Communication and language development

Language development is based around three aspects: listening and attention, understanding and speaking. Children have opportunities to experience a rich language environment, to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations. The adult’s role is to model language, hold conversations with the children and ask stimulating questions to foster such development. The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill and the better a child is at it, the better their future prospects will be. At Dringhouses we realise these ambitions by fostering good language skills that will make it easier for our children to strike up conversations with peers, listening to others and interpret non verbal clues. For those children who find communication a challenge we offer language interventions such as ‘talk boost’, time to talk and other such early literacy supports. For more information on communication and language please see









































Being able to read, like communication and langage, is a key skill that improves future life chances. At Dringhouses we teach reading directly, through daily synthetic phonics, guided reading sessions, whole class reading and individual reading. Reading books are phonically regular and we have access to on line reading books through ‘Bug Club’.


Reading is everywhere at Dringhouses and is an important focus for the Reception year. Story time happens every day and sometimes more than once. Children are invited to share their favourite books and often we will read stories relating to the learning in the classroom. The children are given reading books to take home from the reading scheme that are changed regularly. Each week the Reception children visit the school library when they can choose and take home an additional book.

Opportunities for the teaching and learning of reading:

  • Reading areas within the classroom
  • Role play
  • Books areas of provision to enhance learning
  • Individual reading times with the teacher or a parent helper


  • Reading labels and captions
  • Finding letters and words in the classroom
  • Key word learning
  • Guided reading with a teacher and teaching assistant
  • Using magnetic letters

Mark making and writing


Mark making and writing are essential skills that are fun and exciting. Children see writing as an independent skill purposeful to their learning. Writing is all around and not just confined to the writing area. Cursive script is taught from the outset, using the ‘Debbie Hepplewhite’ method:



We promote the writing of:





Whilst learning to write, resources are suitable for the child’s stage of development and they are taught correct pencil grip and how to sit at a table. Resources include:


  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Paints
  • Making marks in shaving foam, sand and salt
  • Card
  • Post its
  • Glue, scissors, rulers, sharpeners, and rubbers
  • Paper, card, stickers, clip boards, envelopes and books 



As with reading and writing, mathematics is everywhere in the reception classrooms at Dringhouses.In addition to the daily focused teaching, children enjoy learning through real life experiences, be it using a phone in the role-play, building with blocks so they do not fall down, pouring a drink that does not spill or playing shops - the mathematical brain is always working.  At Dringhouses, we provide many opportunities to promote mathematical learning including:


  • Singing number rhymes and songs
  • Recognising, matching and sequencing numbers


  • Learning and using mathematical language


  • Recognising and using 2D and 3D shapes in the environment.


  • Using programmable toys to promote positional language such as, in front, behind and on top


  • Showing an awareness of patterns, time, measure and money


  • Solving problems


  • Sharing and grouping, doubling and halving


Resources are readily available and can be found all around the areas of learning. Resources include:


  • Numbers
  • Measuring resources and timers


  • Different sized containers, scoops, spoons and pans


  • Scales


  • A variety of 2D and 3D shapes for building and investigating
  • Money, tills and purses
  • Real life resources such as telephones and key boards in the role play


Understanding the World

Understanding the world around us creates exciting, new learning experiences.  Children show fascination when investigating unchartered topics. At Dringhouses, we foster an ethos of curiosity and challenge, giving children the opportunity to discover new things through learning projects including:

  • 999 emergency services

Polar adventurers

Super heroes

Fire fire

All aboard

Oh I do like to be beside the sea



Totally locally

Kings, Queens and Castles

On Safari


Children’s knowledge grows the more they experience. We provide experiences linked to the world, people and technology, fostering:


Respect for others

Knowledge of religions and cultures

Understanding of the animal kingdom

Comparing similarities and differences in environments

Accessing a variety of different technologies




Outdoor Learning and Forest School


Forest school and learning outside supports the holistic development of the child. It fosters:


  • Teamwork
  • Exposure to manageable risks
  • Building confidence and independence
  • Learning about spiritual meaning
  • Better sleep and mood
  • Feeling empathy for others and nature
  • Improved mental health
  • Physical fitness
  • Learning by experience
  • Problem solving



























Expressive arts and design



Expressive arts and design supports children to use different materials and media to express themselves through art, design, drama, music, movement and dance.

At Dringhouses, we have a dedicated music teacher, teaching all aspects of music. Children have access to range of different musical instruments. They experience with sound and movement, listening to and making their own compositions.


Children’s learning and development in this area is enhanced by the use of resources that are readily available for the children to express themselves creatively, independently and collaboratively:


  • Paint
  • Crayon
  • Colouring pencils
  • Chalk
  • Fabric
  • Play dough
  • Clay
  • Modelling materials
  • Joining materials such as glue and selotape
  • Collage materials



Being imaginative is an integral part of Reception learning. Children are encouraged to use their imagination in all areas of their learning. This encourages problem solving skills, independence, resilience, perseverance and exploration.




Parent partnerships

Partnerships with parents is an important part of education in the Reception year at Dringhouses.  Working closely with parents enables practitioners at Dringhouses to ensure parents feel confident that their child is safe, well looked and is receiving a high quality education during their school hours.  There is an on- line learning journey called Tapestry, that allows practitioners and parents to communicate with each other on a regular basis. Parents are able to share home experiences by uploading pictures and sharing activities. It is a privilege to be able to see the children and their experiences out of school.

In addition to Tapestry, there are plenty more experiences to further strengthen partnerships.

  • Parents evenings to update on progress
  • Weekly round ups of the activities happening in the Early Years unit
  • Holding termly open afternoons to celebrate learning
  • Information sessions about aspects of the children’s learning
  • Reading diaries are sent home daily where both parents and practitioners can record listening to children read
  • Half termly celebration assemblies
  • Home learning challenges
  • Leaflets to enhance learning at home through the seven areas of learning as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, available to down load on the school website.













What our parents say

“We have had amazing support since the start of the school year and our daughter loves school and I feel this entirely down to the excellent teaching and support staff.”


“When I ask my daughter what she likes about school she says everyone is really friendly and the teachers work hard to make everyone happy.”


“We love Dringhouses school, since day one everyone has been great, friendly, attentive to every childs needs and hardworking. Our proof is our little girl running into school not even bothering to say bye bye, she is so eager. She has learnt so much…I can’t believe she has learnt to read already”


“It has been an exciting first year watching our son grow as a person, and listening to him tell us about all that he has learnt and experienced.”


“Our daughter loves learning time with lots of varied options of what to play with. We think it is great that she has weekly opportunities to visit the school library, music room and do a wide variety of PE/dance/Forest Schools. We love the schools’ values such as encouraging independence and also the focus on reading and writing with lots of ideas for parents to support their children.”


“The wide range of areas of provision within the early years setting enables the children to learn in an exciting and stimulating way, promoting both independent learning and important social skills.”


“We receive regular feedback on what our daughter is doing through Tapestry and have had the opportunity to go into school to see phonics sessions and craft afternoons.


Dringhouses Early Years Partnership (DREYs)

DREYs brings together Early Years provider setting together to ensure smooth transition into the Reception class for your child.  Our partnership consists of; West Thorpe Pre School, Little Green Rascals – Tadcaster Road,  Askham Bar Day Nursery, Wendy House Day Nursery and Dringhouses Out of School Club.  We meet termly to discuss provision, assessment and transition. We take part in joint training sessions and run joint transition events. To find out more abut our provider settings pleases visit the school website

The Reception year at Dringhouses is fun, exciting and full of special moments. Children learn best when they feel safe, happy and confident. Learning through structured play enables these feelings.

Children at Dringhouses learn to be resilient, thoughtful learners that challenge themselves, problem solve, negotiate and communicate with one another.

Relationships with each other are of the upmost importance. Children learn to share experiences positively and confidently ensuring strong and healthy bonds.


If you would like to find out more about our approach contact