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At Birch Hill Primary School, children are at the centre of everything that we do. We appreciate that every child is unique and that this is something to be celebrated. We understand that every child will develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

The Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is divided into 7 areas of learning:

Prime Areas:

  • Personal, Social, Emotional, Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

Specific Areas:

  • Mathematical Development
  • Literacy Development
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Our day in Reception is balanced between times of formal and informal learning with an adult who leads an activity – this is known as Adult Directed time.  As well as times when the children can choose learning experiences for themselves – this is known as Child Initiated time.  All of our formal and informal learning takes place indoors and outdoors. It is in these different environments that children explore and discover their immediate world. It is here they practise new ideas and skills; they take risks, show imagination and solve problems on their own or with others.

All of our topics are underpinned by a book – either non-fiction, fiction or a rhyming book. We enjoy listening to and then learning all about these books. Our learning includes re-telling the stories, acting out characters from the stories, and exploring and discovering maths, the world and creativity through these stories. They include traditional tales; The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears; stories by Julia Donaldson including The Stickman, Tabby McTat and The Snail and the Whale; and non-fiction books about animals.

Enabling Environment:
At Birch Hill we recognise that the term ‘enabling environment’ does not only refer to the space we offer but the atmosphere we create for the children. We understand that children learn best through experiences and quality interactions.

Our outdoor area has been designed to allow all pupils to have access to a range of different activities to meet the seven areas of development. The kitchen outside allows us to link our experiences from home to school; it is designed to encourage communication and language skills with peers. Our stage is also used to encourage communication and language skills with peers and is set up either by our topic or by the children’s current interests. The construction area allows the children to construct on a larger scale and promotes physical development, maths and communication and language skills. The water and mud areas allow the children to further develop their physical development and communication skills. The creative area offers creativity with different tools, themes and promotes independence, imagination and sharing. The reading benches offer a dedicated area for children to listen to familiar stories, re-read familiar stories themselves and enjoy some quiet reading time. Children can access and learn in all areas, with resources designed to develop their imagination, independence and to build upon their own experiences.

The children at the end of their time in Early Years are assessed against the 17 Early Learning Goals (ELG’s) that define the expectations for most children to reach by the end of the EYFS. They are assessed as Emerging, or Expected against the Early Learning Goals. The children who achieve Expected in the Prime areas plus Literacy and Maths are considered to have a Good Level of Development (GLD) this is tracked throughout the year to ensure that the children are on target to achieve GLD.

Learning in the EYFS at Birch Hill primary School is linked to these areas of learning and is based on the Development Matters steps that build up towards these ELGs. We appreciate that these areas of learning are all interlinked and therefore encourage children to recognise these links in their learning.  This helps them to make sense of their learning, apply their skills and become independent learners and problem solvers. 

Throughout the year, we observe how each individual child learns best and provide real life experiences to allow them opportunities to learn in the way that is best for them. At Birch Hill Primary School, we offer children very personalised, individualised and differentiated learning opportunities. These are based on our knowledge of their abilities, personalities, and interests and preferred learning styles.


Summaries of the topics taught in Reception.