Early Years Learning - getting off to a good start at school!

Children in our Reception class are part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is how the Government and early years’ professionals describe the time in your child’s life between birth and age 5.

This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years’ experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.

Nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and child-minders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.


Learning in the Early Years takes place through a rich, play-based curriculum, and is based very much on the children’s interests. Learning opportunities are offered inside and outside – encouraging development through active exploration and physical activity.  At Albourne our Reception children have access to the outside classroom at all times, in addition to the mud kitchen area.

The curriculum is designed to meet all seven areas of learning described in the ‘Early Learning Goals’:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development
  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design
Within all of these areas we also ensure we provide opportunities to demonstrate the characteristics of effective learning.  These are defined as:
Playing and exploring- engagement
Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to 'have a go'
Active learning- motivation
Being involved and concentrating
Keeping trying
Enjoying achieving what they set  out to do
Creating and thinking critically- thinking
Having their own ideas
Making links
Choosing ways to do things
We follow the 'statutory framework for the early years foundation stage' and use 'development matters' to assess the children against within the first six weeks of school as well as periodically throughout the year.  The whole teaching team including parents will add to these assessments to ensure we get the whole picture of what a child can do and their next steps in their learning. We use this information to self evaluate, adapt planning and to set high expectations of all the children.  We also ensure our assessments are accurate by moderating them with other schools and with other year groups.

Supporting your child in the Early Years

Children’s learning begins at home, and we value the contribution of parents. We use an on-line learning journal ‘Tapestry’ to record evidence about children’s development, and parents have the opportunity to access and contribute to this. We also love to hear about your child’s ‘wow’ moments at home, which can be recorded on a ‘Wow’ sheet and brought in to school to celebrate in class.

Parents are welcome to be involved in school life through various opportunities – accompanying the Robins on their ‘welly walks’ and coming in to listen to children read are examples of how you can do this. Regular open sessions allow you to come in and share learning with your children from time to time, as well as joining us for Church services, our Nativity performance and other such events.

Fortnightly, parents get sent a Robins' Report newsletter, which outlines what the children have been learning that week as well as what learning opportunities will be provided the following week.  This is also an opportunity to let parents know how you can support your child's learning at home.

Using Tapestry
In Reception class, your child will be assessed against the Development Matters curriculum through observation of their activities. Together with photographs and your child’s original work, these observations make up their learning journal, an important document that shows their progress throughout the year. This should be an open document between school, home, and the child. All three should have free access to the learning journal and contribute towards it. To make this process simpler and more accessible, we use an online learning journal through ‘Tapestry’. Tapestry is a highly secure website where your child’s learning journal is stored, allowing parents and carers to have access at any time. You can see your child’s observations and photographs, giving you more of an insight as to what they are doing in school and allowing you to share their learning with them. You can also add your own observations from home. Please follow the link below and type in your email address and password to access your child’s journal.
Starting School
Starting school is a very special time in a young child's and parents/carers life.  We all want to see our children happy and settled and a good start to school is important for long term social and educational benefits.  At Albourne we do everything possible to help our Reception children settle in and feel safe. A key aim to our transition is to support the child and family to feel comfortable and safe in their new environment and ensure that we communicate and collaborate as much as possible. This in turn will help the child to feel secure, confident and in a position to tackle the challenges ahead. 

Parents play a key role in supporting their child to feel comfortable with the transition process. It is important that children and parents are given opportunities to familiarise themselves with the school environment so they can start building relationships with the key members of staff. Parents and carers need to have clear information about what will be happening and what their role will be in the process.

Here are some of the ways we help the transition to school flow smoothly:
  • We hold a meeting in June for all parents/carers to meet the classteacher and the Reception team.
  • We offer Stay and Play weekly throughout the year for parents/carers to attend with their child.
  • A nursery visit for the classteacher/ teaching assistant to meet each child in a familiar environment.
  • Albourne Under 5's Nursery visits periodically throughout the year.
  • Two afternoon sessions for children to come into school and become familiar with the school environment.
  • We suggest children come into school part-time (until lunch time) for the first two weeks, followed by staying for lunch for two days before they become full-time.
  • We hold various meetings for parents, including a six weeks in meeting where we review our transition process and take into account any feedback. 
Home support with transition
Dressing and Undressing themselves
  • Put socks and tights on
  • Put shoes on correct feet
  • Put coat on and begin to do up zip
  • Hang coat up by the hook
Using the Toilet
  • Go to the toilet buy themselves
  • Boys be familiar with a urinal
  • Wipe own bottom
  • Wash and dry hands
Lunch time
  • Eating with good table manners
  • Using a knife and fork
Sharing and taking turns
  • Sharing toys and being prepared to take turns
  • Work together to tidy up toys and understand we put toys back where they belong
  • Saying please and thank you
  • Understand simple rules
  • Look after their own belongings
Skills needed to help in the classroom
  • Holding pencils, crayons and brushes with correct grip
  • Handling scissors safely and cutting with correct actions
  • Being able to sit quietly and listen for short periods of time
  • Being able to recognise their own name
British Values in the Early Years


The fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs are already implicitly embedded in the 2014 Early Years Foundation Stage.


Democracy: making decisions together

As part of the focus on self-confidence and self-awareness as part of Personal, Social and Emotional Development:

Staff encourage children to see their role in the bigger picture, encouraging children to know their views count, value each other’s views and values and talk about their feelings, for example when they do or do not need help. When appropriate demonstrate democracy in action, for example, children sharing views on what the theme of their role play area could be with a show of hands.

Staff support the decisions that children make and provide activities that involve turn-taking, sharing and collaboration. Children are given opportunities to develop enquiring minds in an atmosphere where questions are valued.



Rule of law: understanding rules matter as cited in Personal Social and Emotional development

As part of the focus on managing feelings and behaviour:

Staff  ensure that children understand their own and others’ behaviour and its consequences, and learn to distinguish right from wrong.

Staff collaborate with children to create their Class Charter, for example, to agree their rights and responsibilities within the class.


Individual liberty: freedom for all

As part of the focus on self-confidence & self-awareness and people & communities within Personal Social and Emotional development and Understanding the World: 

Children develop a positive sense of themselves. Staff provide opportunities for children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and increase their confidence in their own abilities, for example through allowing children to take risks on an obstacle course, mixing colours, talking about their experiences and learning.

Staff encourage a range of experiences that allow children to explore the language of feelings and responsibility, reflect on their differences and understand we are free to have different opinions, for example in a small group discuss what they feel about transferring into Reception Class.


Mutual respect and tolerance: treat others as you want to be treated

As part of the focus on people & communities, managing feelings & behaviour and making relationships within in Personal Social and Emotional development and Understanding the World:

Leaders create an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance where views, faiths, cultures and races are valued and children are engaged with the wider community.

Children acquire a tolerance and appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures; know about similarities and differences between themselves and others and among families, faiths, communities, cultures and traditions and share and discuss practices, celebrations and experiences.

Staff encourage and explain the importance of tolerant behaviours such as sharing and respecting other’s opinions.

Staff promote diverse attitudes and challenge stereotypes, for example sharing stories that reflect and value the diversity of children’s experiences and providing resources and activities that challenge gender, cultural and racial stereotyping.