Our Learning

Learning in Reception

Learning in Reception

Early Years Vision at the Keresley Schools

Our vision for our Keresley schools, is to provide our youngest children with the skills to be responsible, successful and independent life-long learners. Learners who are not afraid to try to use ambitious vocabulary through the language opportunities they are given, can communicate effectively with others and use their positive experiences with books and storytelling to further broaden their vocabulary base. Learners who develop a love of learning, who are not afraid to make mistakes, take risks, solve problems and be enterprising enough to try new things in their quest for knowledge. Learners who are empathetic to their peers in our school and wider school community and are able to work together and collaboratively in their independent challenges. Learners who when they leave us, are ready for the next stage of their learning, learning that impacts their lives so that they can become the best they can be.  


We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our Keresley Schools and share some information with you regarding specific details of the Reception setting.  We would also like you to share this information with your child, so that they can become more familiar with the school environment.

Starting school is an exciting process, but it can also be very daunting. We hope this information helps you and your child in making this transition as smooth as possible.

The following information covers items such as: who the classroom practitioners are, the learning environment and resources, daily routines, specific items required to bring into school and how we develop positive relationships with parents.

It is not possible for this guide to cover everything about your child’s experience in our Reception class, but we will communicate with you regularly, to inform you of additions to the running of the class. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

The Reception Team

The Reception Team is made up Mrs O'Neill, Miss Radzik, Miss Vice and Miss Vaughan. The children will work closely not only with the teacher, but with all of the Reception and Nursery staff during their time in Reception. This will support their smooth transition in to school life, allow us to tailor their learning and of course reassure them during this new beginning!

Daily Routines


8.40am-gates open (children must be supervised at all times),

8.40am class-room doors open and at 8.55am registration starts. It is imperative that your child is in the classroom at this time.  You are welcome to come into the classroom with your child during the first week, however after this time, we will ask that you allow your child to enter the classroom independently of an adult.


Fruit and Milk or Water

During the morning there is a set time for the children to sit socially and enjoy their fruit, milk or water. We use this time as an extra learning opportunity. We do our welcome check in and check-out circle activities, read stories and quiz on them. We also have a discovery day, when we use the time to answer any questions the children may have, which follow their interests e.g. How big is a whale? In the afternoon, milk and water are available for the children to access freely. As part of this time we have a ‘dedicated drinking time’, where we all drink for two minutes. That way we all stay healthy and hydrated

Independent Challenge Time

The Reception environment is set up with different learning areas, to cater for the individual learning styles of the children. There are mathematics, writing, creative, malleable, discovery/science, reading, construction, junk modelling, puzzle, technology and role play areas. We regularly change our environment to meet the children’s interests, our curriculum themes and to put a thrill into learning new skills. During the school day children have what we call ‘Independent Challenge’ time. This is when the children are able to access resources and learning activities that have been set up in the classroom for them to choose independently. During this time we have adult led and child initiated activities, which are run alongside independent learning. As the year goes on this time will become more structured. We are very lucky to have a fantastic and well-resourced outdoor area, just for our Early Years children. They have access to this throughout the day, no matter what the weather, so they will need to have a pair of wellington boots in school at all times.

Group Time

During group learning times, the children will gather on the carpet for more structured lessons. After their main learning the children may then be split into smaller groups to allow for focused group support and so that they can practice new skills, matched to their learning needs. These learning sessions will be phonics, writing, maths and topic sessions. We will also read and learn stories and play circle time games, where we will build the children’s self-confidence and self-awareness.


Reception children have their lunch time from 11.30am until 12.45pm.

All children are entitled to a hot dinner which will be provided by the school. Every morning parents and children choose a meal from three options (there is always a vegetarian option). The children tell their teachers their choice during registration.

First Aid

We have qualified paediatric first aiders in Reception, who will deal with any accidents in the classroom. As the children have access to outside and inside all of the time, accidents do occur (particularly when they are developing their spatial awareness in a busy classroom environment!) Some accidents may be recorded in a book, which you will be asked to sign it at the end of the day (if your child has had an injury which has needed first aid treatment.) If your child has had a head bump, we treat this particularly seriously and a text will be sent home to inform you of this injury. Of course, if we do not witness or are not made aware of a tumble, then we do not know it has occurred. We will encourage all of the children to come and tell us if they have hurt themselves, but occasionally your child may come home and talk about an incident we were not aware of. Please don’t be alarmed, just come in and talk to us.


At Keresley Academies, we are lucky to have specialist coaches who teach the children PE. They have regular weekly slots as well as additional session every few weeks. A full PE kit of white t-shirt, blue shorts white socks and black pumps for indoor lessons and a navy track suit for outdoor lessons are required for reception children, as the coaches will not allow them to join in without it.


Please make sure you show your child where you have written their name in their kit. Please also give the children a chance to practise independently changing into their kit then back into their uniform, as the children will be encouraged to do this independently.

End of day

Reception children are to be picked up at 3.20pm. If your child is going to be picked up by anyone other than parents please introduce them to staff before-hand. We cannot let a child go home with somebody we and they do not expect to see, unless we are told in advance. If an emergency arises and someone else has to collect your child, please call the school and let them know the full name (and a brief description) of the person who will be picking them up. A member of the Reception team will release the children one by one – please bear with us as we get to know who is who!


Reception Resources fund

We try to ensure that the children’s learning is always fun and engaging. To do this we frequently need to buy resources, which are not included in our school’s budget. Flour, cream of tartare, water beads, foods for tasting and cooking, squash, sand, new tools and equipment, are just a few of the items which need constantly replacing. We are asking for each family to donate £1 each week to help us to do this. Also, if you have any unused toys which would be suitable for our children that you are able to donate, they will be greatly appreciated!      


Things your child needs to bring:

Keresley school uniform, book bags and PE kits can be purchased from Andy Blair’s Sports and School-Wear shop on Barker Butts Lane. Please NAME every single item and show your child where you have named it.(Please also note - Grey tights for girls.)

Black shoes – No trainers or sandals please. Please bear in mind when choosing shoes that the children have access to outside all of the time and sturdy shoes are essential! 

PE Kit – White t-shirt, black  shorts, a black/grey jogging suit and black pumps in a named bag to keep in school. Please NAME every single item. It will be sent home half-termly to be washed.  

NAMED Wellies to keep in school. 

NAMED Waterproof coat to stay in school. A NAMED Water bottle – small children get thirsty quickly, and often like to have extra drinks, so please bring in a NAMED water bottle in daily. Please do not send in juice. 

A NAMED Keresley Newland Book bag –They will need this to carry letters, their homework book and later their reading book and reading diary. They may also do independent work which they might want to take home, which will get lost or spoilt without one. 

Spare underwear for those unexpected accidents (especially if your child has toileting difficulties.) Please always keep a spare pair of pants and socks with them in their book bags - just in case! This avoids them having to use any of our limited school supply. 

Phonics, Writing and Reading

One of the main things we will be doing in school is teaching your child to read and write. At Keresley Academies we use Read, Write Inc to teach your child phonics. This is a systematic programme which will begin after the children’s first full week at school. Initially the children will learn the first set of sounds (including the alphabet) and how to form these letters correctly. Further practise will be sent home weekly to reinforce and ensure your child retains this skill. This will prepare your child for reading and writing and is the first step for them in becoming a reader and writer.

We cannot encourage you enough to share stories with your child at home. Please come and ask us for recommendations of quality books. Your child will be sent home a reading book when they are ready to begin their reading journey.  Please ensure this is kept in their book bag and is returned to school every day.  During the spring term children will be given the opportunity to loan a school library book every week. When returned the children will then have the opportunity to choose a new book.

The enjoyment of stories and storytelling is a priority, which will enable the children to join in and retell some of the key features of stories and become familiar with story language. At Keresley Academies we will be immersing the children in traditional stories using The Write Stuff program, as an integral part of our literacy learning.

In Reception reading and writing are two of our main foci. We will differentiate our teaching to meet your child’s needs, while supporting them to achieve the age related expectations and when possible to achieve a greater depth of learning.


Our mathematic learning ensures our children develop their early mathematic skills as well as recognition of the importance of maths in the real world. The children are taught songs, rhymes and number stories to reinforce number recognition.  They will learn how to master one-to-one counting skills, recognise and identify numbers and amounts that match them, how to form numbers correctly and to be confident in counting forwards and backwards to 10 and beyond. They will also be learning addition and subtraction within 10. To further their counting skills we will count in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s to 100.

Maths also includes opportunities for children to learn about shape, space and measure through a variety of learning opportunities which will ensure the children have a solid formation for their further maths learning. Some examples of this include water play when children learn about capacity through filling and emptying containers and comparing how full they are. During role play activities, the children use maths vocabulary to share between the children in their group. As the children develop their maths skills, they will begin solving problems including doubling, halving and sharing.

Parental Engagement

It is important for us to create positive relationships with our parents. You hold a wealth of experience where your child is concerned and you are able to witness many learning and developmental steps that your child takes at different stages in their life.  We will communicate with you regularly through various means. We make regular assessments and records of your child’s achievements and use them to inform our planning, ensuring we provide for the children’s individual next steps within their learning.

We will hold a number of after school and in school events for you and your child to attend. We will make them themed events which link to our current topic, in order for you to be aware of what we are learning and to be able to carry this on at home.

To celebrate children’s learning achievements, we have weekly pride assemblies. Parents are invited to come along to these. We also have our “Golden Ticket” which we will begin to send out in the Spring term. We will invite parents to come and be part of their child’s learning in school during the following week. There will also be frequent opportunities to show and share in our learning, such as through demonstrations of our phonics and opportunities for you to come in and share stories with your child.

We use the document called Development Matters in conjunction with the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework to inform our assessments. You will find a document that tells you more about this at the bottom of this section.

Other useful information

•       If a child is absent you must phone the school by 9:00am.  Prizes are awarded for 100% attendance. As a school we take attendance very seriously.

•       Any hospital, doctor or dental appointments need to be communicated to the school office in advance.  Please be aware that medical appointments will affect your child’s attendance record – Please make them after school hours whenever possible.

•       It is essential that we have the name and address of emergency contacts at all times. (Which are collected on the data collection sheet.)  If you change phone numbers, please let us know so that we can update our records.