What to Expect in Reception Class

What to expect when your child begins school…
The Reception class is about much more than shapes, numbers and letters. Although these things are very important, it is also the year that your child becomes ‘school-ready’; developing their independence, confidence, resilience and interests. It’s an exciting time for the children and it marks the start of their journey at school.


What will my child do in Reception Class?

Reception is all about play! Your child will take ownership of their own learning through exploring, investigating, watching, listening, talking, discussing, making and communicating. A day in Reception can be VERY busy, so your child may be really tired at the end of the day. Play is children’s work and can be very messy at times. Your child will be learning both inside the classroom with paint, play dough, chalk etc., but also outside with mud, leaves and sand so you can expect some mucky clothes at the end of the day!

Daily Routines

  • Self-Registration and Early Morning Task: 8:50am-9:00am
  • Phonics: 9:00am-9:30am
  • Maths/Literacy Activities: 9:30am-11:30am
  • Break: 10:15-10:35
  • Lunch: 11.45am-12.30pm
  • Afternoon session (Topic/Interest Based): 12.30-3.00pm

In the morning our doors open from 8.50am to allow children to be in and registered by 9am.


What will my child be learning about?

To ensure that purposeful and engaging learning takes place, activities and topics are carefully planned around the children’s interests. The Early Years Curriculum consists of seven areas: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Communication and Language, Expressive Arts and Design, Understanding the World, Mathematics and Literacy. Children learn holistically and therefore, most of the time they may be learning all seven areas of learning together in a fairly jumbled way. So, if your child spends most of their time in the sand area there’s no need for concern! They may well be covering all kinds of important learning; working with different materials shapes, quantity and volume, creating imaginative worlds, feeling different textures, and even developing motor skills and strength for writing!

The children will also have access to Continuous Provision. This is what we call the things that are available for the children to engage with all of the time. For example, the construction area, home corner, reading area, creative area, maths table, phonics table, sand, water, technology etc. These areas are sometimes ‘enhanced’ following the children’s interests for example, exploring a specific theme in the home corner or to consolidate different skills.

In Reception, we also encourage children to demonstrate and develop the characteristics of effective learning (CoEL):

  • Playing and Exploring
  • Active Learning
  • Creating and Thinking Critically

In Reception, the children are observed engaging with the different areas. This helps to determine what type of learners the children are and how they learn best. This especially helps when delivering new concepts and exploring them in alternative ways.


Outdoor Learning

This is a key area for children to learn in. We have an outdoor area which is an extension of our classroom that magnifies what is indoors. Children have the opportunity to explore outside every day and will engage with a range of key areas e.g. a mud kitchen, creatures, large wooden blocks, playhouse, reading shed, climbing area, and a range of PE equipment etc.



The children prepare for lunch in the classroom e.g. washing hands etc. They go into the school hall for their lunch where they are supervised by mid-day supervisors. The children have the option of a hot dinner, a sandwich choice or a packed lunch (children order their school lunch in the morning). Reception children are entitled to UNIVERSAL FREE SCHOOL MEALS and it is a great option for all children and would mean one less thing for you to think about. Sample menus can be found on our website. Once they have eaten their lunch, the children will have an outdoor play until it is time to return to the classroom.



The children will keep their belongings in the cloakroom on their own peg. They will keep their bookbags in a special box. Bookbags are essential in Reception as this is where we will put any letters to pass onto you. Wellies will always need to stay in school as the children will need these to play outside. We also have an area to store lunch boxes and water bottles.


How can I help my child in Reception?

Read, read, read!
Read to your child and encourage them to read to you. Read anything and everything, not just the reading scheme books. Real books, with pictures, rhyme and enjoyable stories are crucial here. Try to encourage your child to talk about the pictures, or to make predictions about what will happen next. It’s most important for your child to enjoy reading above all.

Encourage your child to recognise and read print when you are out shopping, on the bus or at the park. Most children can recognise the Golden M for McDonald’s a mile away!

Help with phonics
Talk to your child about individual letters and their sounds. Singing songs and nursery rhymes really helps them to find out more about letters and sounds. Play I-spy when you go out (using the sound the letter makes, rather than its name).

Talk numbers
There are all sorts of ways to encourage number recognition. Try to involve your child in using numbers at home by singing number rhymes and songs or by encouraging them to recognise and read numbers when you are in the car. When shopping, ask them to select the number of apples or bananas you need — they’re helping you out, and learning at the same time.

Getting dressed independently
And finally, (and on a more practical note!), it is really useful if you can encourage your child can have a go at dressing themselves at home so that they can do themselves during the day. It’s often quite time-consuming for staff to have to do up 30 zips on wriggly children bursting to go outside!

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