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Hever Church of England Aided Primary School

A small school that offers your child outstanding learning opportunities

Acorn - Reception

Recommended Reading List for YR

Welcome to Acorn Class


At Hever School,  we know just how important the first year of school is for you and your child. My name is Miss Taylor and I am the Class Teacher of Acorn Class (Reception children). Please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries that you may have about Early Years Education.


In Acorn class, we have created a fantastic and inspiring learning environment with the aim of encouraging enthusiastic learners.

Through planned and purposeful play, children are able to discover, practise and refine their skills in Literacy and Mathematics as well as finding out about themselves and their environment. Our teaching ethos covers the seven areas of learning (see below) and endeavours to respond to the needs and interests of all our children. We strive to encourage positive attitudes to learning, an enthusiasm for knowledge and the confidence to become successful learners.


We follow the principles set out in:


The information set out below relates specifically to Reception, however there are many other policies and procedures in school that Reception staff are aware and which they follow. 


Supporting your child: Home and School Working in Partnership

We are very keen to work as closely as possible with you all the way through your child’s time at primary school, and perhaps Reception is the most important time to get this right. Like other teachers, Reception staff are available to speak with you at the end of the day. There’s usually a chance to have a quick word with one of the Reception team when you drop you child off in the morning, or collect them in the evening. 


Learning happens at school and at home. Please tell us about some of the learning that happens at home. This might be a ‘wow moment’ when your child does something really special at home, such as riding a bike without stabilisers, swimming without armbands, writing their name, reading signs on the street etc. Equally, it might be other learning moments, such as your child re-telling a story that they may have heard at school, choosing to count steps, recognising bus numbers or helping your child to write a shopping list...  These can be put up on our 'WOW' board outside the classroom. As well as a great way to celebrate your child’s development, knowing about the learning that is going on at home will enable staff to ensure that they encourage your child to practise or apply the skills that they have learnt or demonstrated. 


Supporting your Child: Effective Learning

We place importance on the characteristics of effective learning:

  • Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’ (you can support your child by, for example, making sure they encouraging them to try out new experiences and asking open-ended questions that might stimulate their curiosity);
  • Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements (allow your child to play independently – avoid leading your child’s play, and don’t let them engage for too long in passive activities like watching TV).
  • Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things (when your child is playing, provide some challenges and allow them to be inventive – try leaving fewer toys for them but add a few unknown objects for them to use… don’t forget how much fun a cardboard box can be!).

Our assessment data for older children shows that those children who demonstrate strong characteristics of effective learning in the early years are more likely to enjoy and achieve at a higher level as they get older. Support your child to develop these characteristics just as much as you support the academic side of things. Talk with Miss Colvin for more ideas.


Supporting your Child: Expectations for Learning

There are seven areas which form the basis of the curriculum. These areas are made up of prime areas and specific areas (listed below). Each area of learning has a set of related expectations for typical development through the Early Years. 


The prime areas are:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (making relationships; self-confidence and self-awareness; managing feelings and behaviour)
  • Communication and Language (listening and attention; understanding; speaking)
  • Physical Development (moving and handling; health and self-care)


The specific areas are:

  • Literacy (reading; writing)
  • Mathematics (numbers; shape, space and measures)
  • Understanding the world (people and communities; the world; technology)
  • Expressive arts and design (exploring and using media and materials, being imaginative)


Supporting your Child: Joining Acorn class and Transition to Magnolia class 

Starting school can be difficult. We want to make sure the transition into Acorn class and then on to Magnolia as smooth and comfortable as possible.


Once your child is offered a place in our Reception class, a series of transition events take place.

1) A New Parents Evening takes place towards the end of June. This is an opportunity to learn more about expectations, routines and the stages of transition. At this meeting, parents are able to meet key members of the school staff including the Reception team. 

2) Three 'Welcome Visits' take place in the Summer term. These three, one hour sessions are organised so that parents can drop their children off in the reception class and then gather in the school hall for refreshments and/or information sessions.

3) Reception staff will visit your children in their nursery setting towards the end of the summer term.

4) Reception staff will arrange to visit you and your child at home within the first two weeks of the new academic year (ie. during mid September). This will allow you to ask any other questions that you may have, and allow us to observe your child in familiar surroundings.

5) We then begin what is known as an  ‘on-entry assessment‘ where we observe and talk with your child about what they can do and what they like to do. This information helps the Reception teacher to plan for the year ahead, making sure that all the Reception team are able to meet the needs and interests of your child as much as possible,  whilst at the same time providing sufficient support and challenge for each pupil to enjoy and achieve.


Early Years Learning

There are different learning areas in the Reception classroom (both inside and  outside). These typically include areas for role-play, reading, writing, maths, sand, creative development, technology… come and have a look! Each area has lots of resources that allow children to learn independently or with an adult to support them.

We believe effective learning in the Early Years is the result of a balance between:

  • Adult-led learning: this is led and managed by the adult and is typically planned to meet the specific learning needs of the child(ren)
  • Adult-guided learning: this is where adults might support a child by guiding them (for example, by questioning and prompting, or by providing specific resources in an area of the classroom) and the child(ren) can independently practise or explore
  • Child-initiated learning: this is when the child chooses where to go and what to do in the learning environment – it might look like play, but a lot of incidental learning can happen.


Research shows that the best outcomes for children’s learning occur where most of the activity within a child’s day is a mixture of child-initiated play (actively supported by adults) and focused learning (with adults guiding the learning through playful, rich experiential activities). As the Reception year progresses, and the children become more mature and ready for Year 1, the balance will gradually shift to more adult-led and adult-guided learning.


A key aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage is to move the learning from what children already know to what children want to know and what children need to know (and there is  often an overlap between the two). Staff in Reception find out what children want to know – what interests them, sparks their natural curiosity, engages them to be effective learners – by making lots of observations and by having discussions with children and parents to inform the direction of learning. This will usually influence future topics in the class. Reception staff use Early Years and Key Stage 1 curriculum documents to make sure that everyone is aware of the expectations so that the children are given appropriate challenge.


We look forward to working with you and your child!