We have three classes in our Foundation Stage – Nursery and two Reception classes.
Mrs Norton is our nursery teacher; Mrs Bradley and Miss Cavanagh are the reception class teachers. All three teachers, along with their teaching assistants plan and structure the foundation curriculum together.
The nursery class provides part-time and full time places. Children with part time sessions attend for 5 morning or 5 afternoons per week. Children may attend the nursery class from the age of 3 years. Full time places are available for parents wishing to purchase extra sessions for their child or with eligibility for 30 hours funding.
Children are admitted into the reception class during the year in which they reach their fifth birthday.
For children who have already attended our nursery class, this is a wonderfully smooth transition, with no traumas for children or parents. The children are already part of our school, have many friends in the school and have built–up relationships with the staff.
Our curriculum is planned based on excellent Early Years practice with planned activities for each of the areas of learning :
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
These activities are planned throughout the learning environment with children using a wide variety of resources in the many areas of the classroom (sand area, water tray, messy area, mark making area, maths area, reading corner, role play, small world, construction or the computer corner).
This is further enhanced by outdoor provision where children can undertake activities only possible in the outdoor environment such as writing in flour, large scale painting projects or basic carpentry.
In Nursery children are introduced to Phase One phonics (from the Letters and Sounds scheme) which involves listening and identifying environmental sounds, identifying words starting with the same phonemes (letter sounds) and rhyming words.
If appropriate during their time in nursery children move on to Phase Two phonics which involves recognizing the phonemes (sounds) of the main letters of the alphabet. During our phonics work we use Jolly Phonics resources to enable children to be fully involved by providing actions and songs to help children remember the phoneme made by each grapheme (letter or selection of letters that make the sound).
In Nursery the main focus is for children to grow in their understanding of the world, communication and language skills, personal and social skills and their independence in preparation for becoming school ready. We also focus on children learning to choose appropriate activities, expand their learning by trying new things as well as engaging in some teacher-led and key worker activities as a whole class, small group or individual.
Children in our Reception classes have their own class base with their own key workers. This gives children are real sense of belonging and the security of working with someone they know well. They meet as a class at many points throughout the day for whole class stories, singing, circle time and introductions to activities.
Each day the children are involved in phonics lessons. For these children are grouped with other Reception children at the same stage in their learning from either of the Reception classes. This enables us to tailor the learning specifically to the needs of individuals. During their phonics lessons children continue to work through the Letters and Sounds scheme using Jolly Phonics actions and songs to help them remember each grapheme-phoneme correspondence. By the end of the year most of the children will be able to recognize and use sounds which are represented by more than letter in their writing, e.g. oo, ee, or ai.
Children will also be involved in mathematics activities each day. Like the phonics these activities are in small groups of children who are at the same stage in their learning. When the children have been introduced to a new skill, such as measuring, adults often reinforce this during the day by working with them to measure items during their self chosen activities, e.g. when building with the bricks.
Some of the activities children are involved in at Nursery and Reception result in lasting evidence of their achievements, e.g. a picture they may bring home or writing in their book; however many of the activities are more about an experience rather than resulting in lasting evidence so at St Leonard’s we take photographs and written notes about the activities children are involved in and these are recorded in their personal Learning Journey books. As a parent you are welcome to see these lovely records of your child’s progress and to contribute photographs and notes about the many things they will be involved in at home.