Starting reception is full of new challenges, experiences and growth for a Reception child. It is a year when your child will experience lots of exciting firsts, such as eating school dinners or packed lunches with new friends in the school hall. These ‘firsts’ will soon become part of the daily routine your child will become familiar with and enjoy as they start their journey through primary school.
Your child’s initial experiences in reception will largely revolve around building independence, feeling settled and happy. Going to the toilet and washing hands by themselves, putting bags on pegs and being responsible for a water bottle are all huge achievements in a 4-5 year olds world. All the new routines take time and feeling comfortable knowing where to go and what to do in school takes time too.
This is done through teacher focused and child- initiated activities. The characteristics of effective learning describe the behaviours children use in order to learn and they are life-long skills. The characteristics of effective learning include playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.
Choosing ways to do things and continuing to try when encountering difficulties develop into the vital skills of independence and resilience. Your child might not be able to dress themselves at the beginning of the year but, with practice and perseverance, will be able to dress and undress themselves for Physical Education (PE) as the year goes on.
The Curriculum in Reception is play-based and revolves around the Early Learning Goals (ELG’s). There are 7 areas of learning which are part of the teaching and learning that takes place in the classroom. The 3 prime areas of learning are Communication and language, Physical development and Personal, social and emotional development. The 4 specific areas of learning are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world and Expressive Arts and Design.
The needs and interest of each child is reflected in the activities you will see taking place in a reception classroom. Routines and class timetables are different from class to class, but what is the same in all early year settings is that children learn through play, talk and have lots of fun! Activities and topics are carefully planned around the children’s interests to make them purposeful and relevant.
Your child will be introduced to phonics in reception. Phonics teaches children how to read and write. Phonemes (the sound given to each letter) are taught in whole-class phonics sessions, as well as spelling tricky words. Writing in reception is often done through child-initiated activities and maths is taught through games, songs and hands on activities. Children are exposed to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books during a school day and will learn how to segment and blend words during the year.
Children in Reception have access to Continuous Provision. These are things that are available for the children to engage with all of the time. For example, the construction area, book corner and creative area. The outdoor learning reflects what is indoors. Children generally have the opportunity to explore, play and learn outside every day.
Every child is unique and every day is different in a Reception class. The ultimate goal is for children to be excited to go into school and engaged in their learning. If this takes places, your child will confidently take ownership of their own learning through exploring, investigating, watching, listening, talking, making and reflecting. These skills, amongst many other things, is what your child will be doing in their Reception class.
Check out our flashcard bundle offers here.
Written for Happy Little Doers by Mary-Lou Perry, Mother of a 2 and 5-year-old and Teacher. You can find her over @yay_for_play for bookish play ideas.
Image credit M&S.