Early Years – Reception

 Welcome to Early Years at Thorndown Primary School


Play Based Curriculum

We deliver learning for all 7 areas of the Early Years Curriculum through purposeful play and learning experiences, with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Well planned play, both indoors and outdoors is one of the key ways in which children learn. It is the process through which children can explore, investigate, recreate and come to understand their world. It is not just imaginative play and role play but includes spontaneous, self-initiated lines of inquiry and exploration. Play is a vital component of children’s lives. It is an important way skills are developed and practised. Play is essential for physical, intellectual, linguistic, emotional, and behavioural and social development. At Thorndown, we call this vital play Busy Learning.

For more information on the Early Years Framework, please see the below links.

What to expect in expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Statutory Framework for the early years foundation stage



We aim to create an attractive and stimulating learning environment where children feel confident, secure and challenged. The children have daily access to an indoor and outdoor environment that is set up in discrete areas of learning with planned continuous provision. Effective learning builds and extends upon prior learning and follows children’s interests. Effective planning is informed by observations of the children to ensure we follow their current interests and experiences. These observations are recorded in the children’s individual Learning Journey, which we encourage parents to look through. Play based learning is paramount and children direct their own learning from carefully planned opportunities provided by staff. Staff will enhance play and extend as needed to further individual learning.


Our school day

At Thorndown Primary School, the children take part in child-initiated play based learning.  The routine of a typical day in Reception is shown below to give you an idea of what your child may have done during their busy day.


8:45 – 8:55 – Arrival at school

The children will be encouraged to come into school independently and hang up their coats and bags and put their things away. They will then find their name card and will practise writing their names. When they have done this the children will choose to put their names into one of three emotion pots to show their teacher how they are feeling that morning (happy, sad or cross).

8:55 – Register

Your child will be asked each morning if they are having a packed lunch or a school meal.

9:00 – 9:30 – Phonics

9:30 – 10:15 – Busy Learning both inside and outside.

The children will participate in a free-flow of carefully planned activities across all areas of the curriculum both inside and outside.  During all Busy Learning sessions, adults enhance the play within the environment through skillful questioning, modelling critical thinking or problem-solving skills and scaffolding children’s development, as well as developing communication and language skills. They may also work with small groups of children to consolidate previous learning in maths or phonics by playing fun games.

10:15 – 10:30 – Whole class maths teaching.

10:30 – Snack and story time.

All children are offered a healthy snack that is provided by the government. There is the option to have a drink of milk. Milk is available for free for all children aged 4; should you wish your child to have milk after the age of 5, then payment can be made at the school office.

10:45 – Busy Learning both inside and outside.

11:45 – Lunchtime.

1:00 –Literacy Whole class teaching. At Thorndown, we explore our Literacy topics through an enquiry-based learning approach. This means that there will be a discussion stimulus each day in our Curiosity Cube which we explore with the children. We follow the children’s current interests and lines of enquiry following from that stimulus. For example, after finding a crab in the cube, the children asked, “Where do crabs live, and how do they get their food?”  The direction of the learning is taken from the children and their lines of enquiry are followed.

1:30 – Busy Learning both inside and outside.

2:45 – Tidy up and then story time.

3:15 – Home time


Forest School

Each class spends one afternoon a week at our Forest School.  Forest School is held within the school grounds in a special ‘wild area’ to the front of the school. These sessions are carefully planned by our qualified forest school teacher to incorporate important safety lessons, explore the natural world and engage in cooperative and collaborate group activities. For example, we might be building dens together, go bug hunting or creating wonderful transient art from the natural materials we find on the forest floor. Your child will need; waterproof coat and trousers, wellies and appropriate clothing for both cold and hot days.

Information for parents

We strongly believe that the children will be most engaged in their learning when they are following their own interests  We therefore observe the children carefully and engage with them in order that these interests can be followed. Our experienced and knowledgeable  teachers then plan opportunities for the children to develop their skills by following these interests.  A weekly newsletter is sent to parents each week so that you are aware of, and can support your child in, the learning and skills they are developing in maths, phonics and literacy. We will suggest fun and motivating activities that you can play at home to support your child’s development in each area. Class teachers are also always available to speak to you each day if you would like any more information.


Please click here to see the curriculum overview for this half-term.

Please find a link to our latest weekly newsletter here.

Please follow this link for tips on speech development in early years.

Reception Baseline Assessment

All children complete the Reception Baseline Assessment within six weeks of starting school.  Further information on this assessment can be found here.


The Team

We have three classes in Early Years


Bumble Bee Class 



Mrs Brace – Bumble Bee Class Teacher and Team Leader for Early Years education across the school. Mrs Brace loves reading stories, getting messy with gloop in the tuff tray and exploring outside.





Mrs Vardy – Bumble Bee Class Teacher 2 days a week. Mrs Vardy loves exploring outside in Forest School.




Mrs Proudfoot – Bumble Bee Teaching Assistant. Mrs Proudfoot loves getting as messy as possible in the tuff spot and making our outside area really exciting.




Otter Class


Mrs Silvester – Otter Class Teacher. Mrs Silvester loves animals and bug hunting in our garden.




Mrs Comish – Otter Class Teaching Assistant. Mrs Comish  loves building using the wooden blocks and dancing to music.




Kangaroo Class


Mrs Williams – Kangaroo Class Teacher 3 days a week. Mrs Williams loves arts and crafts and doing puzzles.




Mrs Cowan – Kangaroo class teacher 2 days a week. Mrs Cowan loves outdoor adventures in our forest area.





Mrs Allen – Kangaroo Class Teaching Assistant. Mrs Allen adores junk modelling and creating master pieces on the art table.



Other Adults


Mrs Bralee – PPA cover in Otter Class. Mrs Bralee loves chess club and finding out about other religions.



Teaching Assistants



Mrs Blake loves getting messy in the mud kitchen and being outdoors.




Please see see our Early Years Maths page to learn more about maths in EYFS at Thorndown

Number Sense for Reception parents

How to keep your child safe online – Childnet


For information on phonics please click here to see how we teach it at Thorndown and for some useful resources that may help at home.