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Early Years

Reception at Dringhouses Primary School

The Reception year at Dringhouses is fun, exciting and full of special moments. Children at Dringhouses learn to be resilient, thoughtful learners that challenge themselves, problem solve, negotiate and communicate with one another. An engaging, safe and positive environment allows children to thrive academically, personally and socially. Relationships with each other are of the upmost importance and children learn to share experiences positively and confidently ensuring strong and healthy bonds throughout their time at Dringhouses Primary School.


Below you will see a flavour of the learning that takes place in Reception, but it you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Mrs Scott-South, Deputy Head and EY/KS1 leader, via the school office.

Rationale for the Reception curriculum at Dringhouses

At Dringhouses, our school culture of high expectations for learning and behaviour is introduced in Reception and continues through to Year 6 with Reception children forming part of a successful, hard working school community. Children are inspired and motivated to learn more about themselves and the world around them in a caring, engaging 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 out in collaboration with Key Stage 1 with ‘learning projects’ used to package the learning – appreciating the need to ensure the processes of learning to read and write together with developing an understanding and application of 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 allows 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 and support;
  • A wide variety of teaching approaches are used to support, encourage and challenge children in their 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 ensure a systematic approach to learning with Jolly Phonics resources used to enhance the learning.  Each adult led session is split into four parts, revisit, teach, practise and apply. There is an equal focus on reading and writing. Phonics activities are also woven into the indoor and outdoor provision in a practical, engaging and stimulating way. 



We love reading at Dringhouses Primary School! As well as daily opportunities to read through our phonics sessions children have access to a wide range of engaging and exciting books throughout the provision. Literacy lessons, guided reading, weekly reading with Year 6 buddies and weekly school library sessions as well as visits to the local library not only develop reading skills but a lifelong love of reading. Each child takes home a reading book from the very first week and books are changed twice a week. Children start their reading journey on wordless picture books before moving onto phonically decodable books, in which children are able to successfully and accurately apply their phonics learning to segment, blend and read a variety of texts. 

Daily Mathematics

There is a constant focus on mathematics in Reception at Dringhouses Primary School. White Rose maths hub resources, daily counting and number songs all support the adult led sessions which are then extended through areas of provision, both indoors and outdoors, providing mathematics based problem solving play activities daily.                                              


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 daily access to the outdoor play environment, focused weekly fine motor opportunities, twice weekly PE sessions and Forest Schools. These all help support 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, caring and resilient individuals. 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. We also develop a Growth Mindset from an early age with children in Reception developing a "can do" attitude and a positive approach to challenges. 

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

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 focused teaching sessions, 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 uncharted topics. At Dringhouses, we foster an ethos of curiosity and challenge amongst the children. Children's own interests are woven into the provision and each half term Early Years shares a learning project with Key Stage 1 which allows for many new and exciting learning opportunities.

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 sellotape
  • 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
  • Inviting parents into school to share in their child's 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 reading
  • Weekly phonics and maths homework that supports the learning in school and shows parents that we are working on in class
  • Half termly celebration assemblies
  • Information leaflets shared that will help support learning at home through the seven areas of learning as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum