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St Robert Bellarmine Catholic Primary School

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Early Year Foundation Stage

Early Years

Our Nursery and Reception classes follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our aim is to provide the children with a play-based curriculum that is tailored for each child’s individual needs. We offer a welcoming, safe and secure environment where children’s excitement and love of learning can be sparked and developed. We offer a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum that offers continuity and progression through our indoor and outdoor classrooms. In line with Early Years philosophy and good practice we always ensure we plan to maximize every opportunity to enable our children to access each area of learning, in so far as possible, both indoors and outdoors. We have very attractive outdoor spaces for both Nursery and Reception. There is a wide variety of activities on offer both adult led, child led and adult supported.

Our teaching style across FS incorporates assessing of prior learning to inform planning, explicit teaching, developing confidence and independence with the skills that have been taught and application of these skills in adult led and child initiated experiences. They are planned for using a concrete, pictorial and symbolic approach.

We have looked at ways to incorporate principles of Feuerstein’s thinking on “Learning to learn” and meta-cognition into our daily delivery across all areas as a direct response to the training the whole school has received.


We ensure that we work in conjunction with parents/carers and have strong communication systems in place to ensure that we share as much information as possible. Each half term we have a very successful ‘Stay and Share’ session where parents are invited to bring a ‘Magic Moment’ card they have completed with their child at home on a designated area of the curriculum. Everyone comes together to celebrate the achievements of each other and the ‘magic moment’ cards are then put on display for visitors to see. In addition to this the parents have the opportunity to look at their child’s Learning Journey during these sessions. We ask that the adult complete a short evaluation of what they have seen and what they think. At the end of each theme a topic evaluation is sent out to parents to gain the child’s view and their view on the work that has been undertaken. These help to inform future planning.


We work closely as a Foundation Stage Team to ensure that key information and transition from both Nursery to Reception and Reception to Year One is smooth.


Our main priorities are to ensure that our children are secure, safe, happy and learning!


Literacy sessions are planned for daily. Our Literacy sessions are based upon the themes that we are to cover and follow our teaching style. The sessions are based upon the children using the concrete, pictorial and symbolic approach. This means that they will have as many practical experiences as possible before we expect them to make the connection with pictorial images and finally more abstract symbolic concepts.



Reading starts in the Early Years and is facilitated through the Read, Write, Inc Phonics programme; children are taught the sounds and then taught how to blend these sounds for reading. Children are introduced to tricky words; words that cannot be sounded out. When they are ready, the children take home a reading book that is suited to their ability.



In the Early Years, any mark that a child makes is considered important as these are the early stages of writing. Children are monitored as they experience using different grips with writing implements, with the aim of encouraging children to use the pincer grip when they are developmentally ready. Children will start ascribing meaning to their marks and as they take part in daily phonics sessions their writing will develop into beginning to write some simple CVC words and then onto writing sentences. In Reception we also focus on letter formation and so as we learn a sound in phonics sessions we also learn the correct way to form it.



Phonics sessions are timetabled for 4 days of the week and the children are in three different ability groups in Nursery and two different ability groups in Reception, this enables the staff to tailor the sessions as closely as possible to the individual needs of each child. These sessions are explicitly taught with opportunities for the children to rehearse and develop confidence in skills previously learned as well as apply their skills to new situations.



Maths sessions are planned for daily and children are taught explicitly in small groups with either the Teacher or the Teaching Assistant. They are then given opportunities to consolidate what they have learned in the continuous play areas and to apply their understanding in different planned activities or challenges. Work is recorded in our “Floor books”. The work within these books exemplifies the process undertaken in learning a mathematical concept.


The children in Nursery and Reception are immersed in maths; it is planned for in the environment and with additional opportunities to develop mathematical skills.


In line with Bruner’s theory of learning, new concepts are taught enactively, then iconically and, finally, symbolically as ways of capturing experiences in the memory. We also believe that it is important to include practical activities and discussion as an integral part of mathematics lessons; and the use of pictorial recording and the classroom environment are also important.


New mathematical concepts begin with the use of structured concrete materials including: structural apparatus such as cubes, counters, 3D shapes or weighing scales as well as contextual objects such as teddies or coins for counting or sorting; then develop imagery with pictorial representations including: children’s own mark making and simple drawings; and lastly move to the abstract/symbolic which include: young children’s emergent graphics, early number formation and number sentences.




Although a wide variety of concrete resources are used, Numicon is seen as a major tool in a child’s mathematical learning. Numicon shapes can be seen as 'pictures of numbers'. Numicon's imagery uses patterns to represent each numeral. The patterns are structured so number relationships can be seen and experienced. Numicon encourages an understanding of numbers and their relationships. Understanding numbers is reinforced through talk and use in real-life contexts. We strongly believe in a do, talk, record approach to using Numicon. We strongly believe in a do, talk, record approach to using Numicon.


Expressive Art and Design

Children in the Early Years are encouraged to explore different medias and materials and to be imaginative. This can be through 2D and 3D work. Children in the Early Years are encouraged to be creative and make a variety of models for different purposes. They are encouraged to think of the design process and are shown how to plan. Children have access to a variety of different musical instruments that allows them to explore with pitch and sound. Children participate in singing lessons and regular music sessions where children are encouraged to sing as part of a group or individually. They are also introduced to rhythms and early music notation.


Understanding the World

In the Early Years we start with looking at the history of our own families, such as what we did when we were little. We encourage them to talk about what their families do and the traditions they have. The children are encouraged to talk about their immediate environment and notice similarities, differences and change. The children are encouraged to interact with a variety of different technologies including iPads, computers and programmable toys such as Beebots. Children also have access to the Computer Room where they can access a variety of age appropriate programmes and practice their mouse skills.

Physical Development

In the Early Years children focus on improving skills of co-ordination both gross and fine motor skills, control, manipulation and movement. This is through structured PE lessons and through continuous provision. Children also learn about the positive benefits of being healthy and active and the effects of physical exercise on the body!


What is it? Why do we use it?

Reception Curriculum

Nursery Curriculum