Early Years

The children at Little Otters and in our Reception class follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (2021).

Learning is divided into seven key areas:

  1. Communication and language
  2. Physical development
  3. Personal, social and emotional development.
  4. Literacy
  5. Mathematics
  6. Understanding the world
  7. Expressive arts and design

Underpinning these areas are three ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’:

  1. Playing and exploring – investigate, explore, experience things and ‘have a go’
  2. Active Learning – concentrate and keep trying, adapting their approach to overcome obstacles, and enjoy achievements
  3. Creating and Thinking Critically – having and developing their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop their own strategies

Practitioners use a cycle of observation, planning and assessment to reflect and inform the needs of each ‘unique’ child. Our curriculum provides opportunities to learn, practise, embed, secure, master and apply a range of skills within their continuous provision of learning, facilitated by adults. We use topics to broaden and enhance children’s interests, as well as, skills based planning to secure and ensure progress in their overall development. 

Curriculum Aims and Intent:

At Slimbridge Primary School, we aim to:

  • Give our youngest children the very best start to their education by providing an appropriate curriculum, as well, as a nurturing and engaging learning environment, which is tailored to their personal needs and prepares them for their future learning.
  • Ensure all children learn through first hand, purposeful, play based activities designed to foster a love of learning from the start.
  • Enable all our children to develop verbally, socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively.
  • Provide a balanced curriculum, utilising free flow activities between our indoor and outdoor areas, that encourages structured play based activities that are child initiated, where adults join in to support, scaffold and move their learning on.
  • Provide the core teachings and learning of reading (through a systematic synthetic phonics program), writing and maths.

Teaching in Reception class builds on the children’s experiences from Little Otters pre-school learning.  We strive to build positive relationships with parents/carers from the outset, believing strongly in the valued partnership between parental input and school learning.

We use an online learning journey, ‘Tapestry’ to inform parents of their child’s development in relation to the skills outlined in ‘Development Matters’ and to promote home-school communication, where parents/carers are encouraged to share examples of home experiences. 

During the summer term, we offer weekly sessions to transition pre-schoolers (from all settings) into Reception class, so that they can become more familiar with the setting and adults in the class before they begin in September. 

In the first week of September, we provide families with the opportunity to participate in a home visit to encourage familiarity with the adults in the class setting and to promote a supportive home/school network around each child’s learning and development.