Fun, exciting and full of special moments

Early Years

Reception at Dringhouses Primary School

The Reception year at Dringhouses is fun, exciting and full of special moments. Our intention in Early Years is that 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 how we implement our intended curriculum and the learning that takes place in Reception. The impact of this EYFS curriculum is children who thrive academically, personally, socially and emotionally. They have a love of learning, are resilient to challenges and have a strong foundation of skills and knowledge which ensures a successful school journey throughout their time at Dringhouses. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Claire 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 EYFS curriculum is carefully mapped out and designed to ensure that children have the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to ensure a strong foundation ready for the challenges of Key Stage 1 and beyond. We place a huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary and communication skills needed to support their academic, social and emotional development and success. This is implemented through a language rich environment, embedded through exciting texts and appropriately planned and modelled communication and language skills. 

EYFS Curriculum Overview 22-23

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 whole class teaching and guided group work in preparation for moving into year 1.

What and how do the Early Years children learn?

Daily Phonics

Learning to read begins with a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics, which continues through Reception into Key Stage One (and into Key Stage Two where appropriate). At Dringhouses, we use the FFT Success For All Phonics Scheme which provides a highly structured and effective approach to reading through both daily phonics and whole class reading sessions. The focus of the weekly texts link directly to the focus of the phonics sessions and this allows for children to acquire and practise segmenting and blending skills whilst developing fundamental reading comprehension skills.

Early Years Phonics workshop 7.11.22

Reception Success For All Weekly Scope and Sequence


We love reading at Dringhouses Primary School! As well as daily opportunities to read through our phonics and whole class reading sessions children have access to a wide range of engaging and exciting books throughout the provision. Literacy lessons, whole class reading, 1:1 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 regularly.

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. High quality texts are also fundamental in Reception and are not just used to drive and enrich the English curriculum but also the wider curriculum. High quality texts are also incorporated throughout the provision which children can access independently as well as with the support of an adult. 

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. Numberblocks resources are used to support the maths learning both in teacher led sessions as well as within provision. Practical resources are fundamental in our practise to ensure that children develop a concrete understanding of number and numerical patterns. 


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, Squiggle While You Wiggle sessions, weekly PE lessons and fortnightly 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
  • Dough Disco
  • Squiggle While You Wiggle
  • Pen Disco

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 scooters
  • Using the climbing wall
  • Using big tools to paint, dig and clean with
  • Crawling through things
  • Balancing
  • Climbing
  • Carrying large boxes and crates
  • Large apparatus in PE lessons

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. Regular cooking and baking lessons support children in their understanding of food, diet and healthy lifestyle choices. In line with the new EYFS curriculum there will also be an increased focus on the importance of good oral hygiene. 

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. The children in Reception are confident to be themselves whilst respecting the views of others and become accepting of differences. They know that differences’ in attitude, experiences, habits, creativity and perspective are what makes us who we are. The children are taught about the world around them beyond their immediate experiences and are accepting of other cultures, communities and religions. All of the children in Reception have a voice and their different opinions are discussed, respected and appreciated. 

Communication and language development

Children’s language development is based crucial in Reception and underpins our learning across the curriculum. It is our intention that throughout Reception children will develop into confident, thoughtful and attentive communicators who can use these skills to develop personally, socially and academically. A rich language environment and a curriculum rooted in the development of communication and language allows children 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 fundamental, 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, listen 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, Wellcomm 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 life skills that are fun, purposeful and exciting. Children are given lots of opportunities to mark make and write in adult led sessions as well as throughout the provision using a variety of resources. Children are taught letter formation as part of their learning in phonics and throughout the year are taught how to spell words and write captions and sentences linked to high quality texts and learning across the curriculum. Children’s gross motor and fine motor skills needed for successful writing are developed through PE lessons, Squiggle While You Wiggle, Pen Disco and activities across the indoor and outdoor provision. 


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 weighing out ingredients to bake biscuits, pouring a drink that does not spill or playing shops – the mathematical brain is always working.  At Dringhouses, we use White Rose Maths Hub resources, Numberblocks, practical resources, problem solving activities, games and number rhymes and songs to develop a love of maths and a deeper understanding of number, numerical pattern, shape, pattern and measures. 


Understanding the World

We have implemented an EYFS curriculum that allows children to learn about the world around them and the people in it. We provide a range of exciting and interactive learning experiences including visits to local landmarks, visits from significant people in our community as well as the opportunity to explore the local area. At Dringhouses, we foster an ethos of curiosity and challenge amongst the children and encourage them to discuss, share, compare and question what they see, what they know and what they would like to find out. Children’s own interests and adult led learning allows children to broaden their knowledge and skills and creates a strong foundation ready for learning in Key Stage 1 and beyond. 

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

  • Respect and understanding of others
  • Knowledge of religions and cultures beyond their own immediate experiences
  • Understanding of the animal kingdom, habitats around the world and how we can be an active citizen in looking after the planet

Outdoor Learning and Forest School

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

  • Teamwork
  • Acquisition and application of new vocabulary 
  • Exposure to manageable risks
  • Building confidence and independence
  • 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

We understand that building secure relationships with children and their families is absolutely key to providing a successful learning experience for children throughout Early Years and beyond. Working closely together we aim to ignite the children’s love of learning, with parents feeling that they have the knowledge, skills and tools needed to support their child at every step in their learning journey. Tapestry is used to allow staff and families to communicate with each other on a regular basis about the learning that is taking place in school. Families are also able to share home experiences by uploading pictures and sharing activities and 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 opportunities to further strengthen our 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

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