Early years education at Berry Hill Primary

Early Years education at Berry Hill Primary 
The early years are crucial for a child's development and for establishing the foundations for future success.  We ensure we provide a high quality, personalised education to support your child in developing their independence, confidence, resilience and curiosity.  

What will my child do in Reception?

During their first year in school, your child will continue to learn by doing things for themselves, by: exploring and investigating, watching and listening, talking and discussing, creating and communicating — in other words — playing. Play is children’s work and playing hard is very tiring! Your child may be really exhausted and perhaps a bit grumpy when they come home! If they don’t want to talk about their day straight away, don’t worry, they will gradually let you into their new world as time goes by. Play can also be very messy as your child will be learning both inside the classroom with sand, water, paint, but also in the outdoors with mud, leaves etc. so you can expect some mucky clothes at the end of the day!

All children in Reception follow a curriculum called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and this is broken down into 3 prime aspects and 4 specific areas of learning.  You can find a copy of this document on the CURRICULUM page of this website. 


Personal, social and emotional development

One of the prime aspects of your child’s first year at school will be a focus on their personal, social and emotional development, and our staff will be aiming to give them a good start to their school experience by helping them form positive relationships, build confidence and self-awareness, as well as manage their feelings and behaviour.


Physical development

Physical development is important too: you will hopefully notice that they are starting to move more confidently and to understand how to look after themselves and be healthy.



The final prime area this year is communication. Children learn through speaking and listening first and foremost, and this year you may notice your child communicating in a variety of ways at school — for example, through stories, in conversations with adults and their friends, or through facial expression, movement or dance.

For the specific areas of learning, your child will learn the basics of literacy — reading, writing and phonics. Many parents are daunted by phonics, but there’s no need to be! We use Letters and Sounds as a progressive programme to teach 44 phonics sounds and 18 diagraphs (two letters making one sound — sh, ch, th, qu, ng, ai, ee, ie, oa, oo/oo, or, er, ow, oi) to read and spell words. Don’t worry — the schemes progress gradually, and you will be given lots of helpful advice along the way so you support what your child is learning!

In maths, we will cover numbers, simple sums, shapes, spaces and simple measuring. 

Children learn about the world, too, exploring different people and communities, and how we can use different forms of technology in our learning.

Finally, imagination and creativity are championed in the area of expressive arts. Your child will explore different media and materials and be encouraged to use their imagination in a range of different experiences.

The key thing to remember here is that your child learns holistically. In other words, most of the time they will be learning all seven areas of learning together, in a fairly jumbled way. So if your child spends most of their time in the sand area there’s no need for concern! They may well be covering all kinds of important learning; working with different materials shapes, quantity and volume, creating imaginative worlds, feeling different textures, and even developing motor skills and strength for writing!


How can I help my child in Reception?

Talking and listening

Two-way communication is really important for Reception children and staff will work hard to develop and maintain positive, supportive relationships with you.  Even from before your child joins our school, we will be linking with their pre-school setting, and will also liaise with you to find out more about their interests, likes and dislikes.  We can then incorporate this into our planning and provision.  

If you have any worries or concerns, do please let us know about them. By talking concerns through together we can all benefit and learn more about your child.

Your child will be informally observed throughout their time in our Reception class and staff will use the observations to assess your child’s learning. You can do this too by making simple informal observations at home. We will talk to you more about how we do this when your child join us.  


Read, read, read

Read to your child and encourage them to read to you - in the early stages they will talk about the pictures, or tell what they see in the pictures. Read anything and everything, not just the reading books they bring home, but real books, with pictures, rhyme and enjoyable stories. Try to encourage your child to talk about the pictures, or to make predictions about what will happen next. It’s most important for your child to enjoy reading above all, so try to relax, and stop when either of you begins to feel pressured or anxious.

Encourage your child to recognise and read print when you are out shopping, on the bus or at the park. Most children can recognise the Golden M for McDonald’s a mile away!

When your child starts school, you will be asked to fill in a Reading Record book each time your child reads to you or you read with your child. This can be a really useful communication tool, so the more info you provide the better! It helps us to know how regularly children are reading at home, what went well, and what we can do to support.  We ask parents to try and share a book: I can read to, or we can read together . . .  at least three times a week, but if you can do more often, this will really help them develop their skills and confidence.  Remember though, not to feel pressure - it's important that it is a positive experience, and that your child feels success.  Reading books will be changed once a week - we encourage the re-reading of texts. Repetition is crucial to embedding new words and sounds and developing fluency and confidence.


Help with phonics

Talk to your child about individual letters (especially the letters in their name) and their sounds. Singing songs and nursery rhymes really helps them to find out more about letters and sounds. Play I-spy when you go out (using the sound the letter makes, rather than its name).


Talk numbers

For maths, there are all sorts of ways to encourage number recognition. Try to involve your child in using numbers at home by singing number rhymes and songs or by encouraging them to recognise and read numbers when you are in the car. When shopping, ask them to select the number of apples or bananas you need — they’re helping you out, and learning at the same time.   You can also count steps as you go up or down, and show a child how to share items between two, or more people.  You can also have fun spotting numbers and shapes - you'll be surprised at how often you can see maths in the  in the world around you! 


Encouraging independence: 

And finally, it is really useful if you can encourage your child to do the following independently (dont' worry if they find any of these tricky, we will always provide support to those that need it):

* dressing and undressing, and keeping their clothes together in a neat pile

* Take off and put-on own coat, and shoes and socks

* Recognise own name and belongings

* Ask for help when they need it, and sit and focus for a short amount of time

* Understand that resources (including electronic devices) need to be shared

* Sit at a table and use cutlery to eat their food

* Use the toilet, including wiping independently, flushing and washing hands. 

For more information, please visit our Reception Class page using the link provided below.