In Reception at Carden we believe in giving children lots of rich, exciting, wide-ranging experiences which help them develop secure and positive friendships, builds their confidence and gives them a secure foundation to base all their future learning upon.

A Carfden pupil using hula hoops and bowling pins to count

Reception is a busy and fun-packed time for children: lots of play!

But look a little closer and you will see how this play really supports our children’s depth of understanding and skill.

Children’s communication, language and literacy skills are at the heart of all we do. We know a language-rich curriculum is the cornerstone for the wider curriculum, and that is why we spend so much time immersing ourselves in stories, poems and non-fiction texts in school.

The children:

  • retell a number of vocabulary and imagination-boosting stories and poems
  • draw story maps
  • ‘bump into’ opportunities to read throughout the environment
  • have fun daily phonics lessons
  • reading sessions
  • bring books home throughout the week.

Outdoor learning is a key component of Reception life.  We use our outdoor space as an extension of the indoor classroom. We use it all day, every day, whatever the weather!

We are incredibly lucky to have a wealth of outdoor space, we have plenty of grass areas, a mini orchard area, our own Nursery and Reception outdoor area and a huge playground we use at lunch time.

We know our children learn best through engaging in practical activities both indoors and out. The outdoor space is used for much more than ball games and riding bikes (of course we do LOTS of that too!)

All areas of the Reception curriculum are catered for in the outdoor learning environment, we love observing and learning about the seasons as they change through looking at how our outdoor environment changes.  We get to meet a range of wildlife along the way too.

A Carden pupil counting objects

Learning maths

Maths is all around us, so we need to engage with maths in a variety of ways. We provide practical learning opportunities as well as planning for children to revisit, and revise key mathematical skills such as careful counting, counting in 2’s and 10’s, counting on from the smallest number when adding and much more.

We provide practical learning opportunities, as well as planning for children to revisit and revise key mathematical skills, such as careful counting, counting in twos and tens, counting on from the smallest number when adding, and much more.

Children often start Reception at different levels in all curriculum areas, including maths so we make sure we identify each child’s learning needs and provide opportunities to develop their mathematical understanding from their starting points.

three Carden pupils on a fire engine

Igniting curiosity

We really believe in giving our children a range of first-hand, exciting experiences to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

We have visiting student doctors, the fire brigade, police officers, nurses, crossing patrol officers, visits to the farm, trips to the post box, pretend flights to the north pole, watching the life cycles of caterpillars turning into butterflies and much more.

By making learning purposeful, engaging and fun, the children start to build links in their learning, their natural curiosity helps them explore things in new and exciting ways. These experiences build the children’s confidence; help them develop new interests; and give them an exciting and memorable way to learn about their world.

Carden pupils holding up phonics cards
Two Carden pupils looking at plants holding clipboards

Writing: the first steps

Becoming a writer is a complex and challenging process, there are so many different things children need to be able to know, and do, in order to become proficient writers.

To write, children need to be able to:

  • physically control their hands and eye coordination to form the letters correctly
  • know what each letter looks like
  • what sounds they make
  • blend them together to make words
  • spell tricky words
  • leave gaps between words
  • check they have written the word correctly.

They then need to be able to compose a sentence which they wish to write in their heads, and then use all the skills they have learned to write it. It’s a very tricky business!

We break down each stage, and support the children to build up all the knowledge and skills they need to be able to write sentences by the end of Reception and it’s mainly done through structured play activities and focus groups, carefully sequenced throughout the year. We make sure children can engage with writing inside and out, building up their skills and understanding each day so the process is organic.

Tour reception area online

Reception staff

Jill Taylor
Reception Teaching Assistant

My name is Jill Taylor. I am a teaching assistant, and I am currently in reception.  I love this year group. They are such fun. I have been at Carden for many years.

Donna Brooks
Reception Teaching Assistant

I have worked in Reception for over 15 years and have enjoyed seeing the children grow in confidence during their first year.  I enjoy finding new places to take my dog on long walks.

Abigail Bathurst

My name is Miss Bathurst and I have been a teacher here at Carden for 4 years.