A day in the life of Reception
In our three Reception classes no two days are the same! After the children say goodbye at the gate in the morning, they come to the classrooms independently. They greet their friends and teachers, and through the year they gradually learn to manage their own belongings, and begin the day with a morning activity.
For much of the day in the Early Years children choose their own activities depending on their current interests and enthusiasms. We make our environment as rich as possible for children explore and learn. Day to day learning happens in the outside environment, just as much as inside the Reception classrooms. Children can spend time in any of the three classrooms or anywhere in the big Reception outdoor space, moving freely between them during ‘Exploration Time’ which makes up a large part of the daily timetable.
The teachers and teaching assistants focus on helping children into their ‘stretch zone’ - the place just beyond the ‘comfort zone’ where learning happens. Firstly, they do this in areas where they have existing interests and then, using their knowledge of the children, the adults encourage and support them to try new activities and develop new passions.
Our big learning space means that there are always lots of choices for children during Exploration Time. There are gross and fine motor activities, messy play, construction, crafts and art, water play, scientific investigations, sand play, mud kitchen, role play, stories, music, counting, forest activities in our little forest area and many more. There are chances for loud active games, and space for quiet concentration too.
Some activities are planned for in a more directed way, with the teachers taking the lead and everyone joining in or having a turn:
- Maths – we use a ‘maths mastery’ approach from the start.
This is about developing a deep and flexible understanding of number and other mathematical concepts by explaining thinking and representing ideas in different ways. Maths is all about explaining, reasoning, looking for patterns, putting ideas into words – and proving!
- Reading and phonics – we use the Read Write Inc. scheme.
- Forest School activities – takes learning to the completely natural environment in our school grounds every week.
- PE with Headstart, as well as music and movement throughout the week
- Music with our school music teacher
While the children in Reception spend most of the day in the Early Years setting, they enjoy going to the hall for lunch where they collect their own meal on a tray and learn to tidy away independently once they have finished eating. After lunch, they have a short playtime on the main school playground at the same time as some of the other younger year groups, which is a lovely chance to see siblings and older friends.
Through the course of the school year the timetable develops and changes as the children’s capacity to concentrate increases. More ‘formal’ periods of learning are added during the day, where children work in a group to focus on teacher-chosen activities. This might include Read Write Inc. sessions, reading with an adult, talking about the theme of learning or ‘Maths Meetings’. This means that the children are well-prepared for the transition of moving to Year 1 at the end of their Reception year.