Holy Cross Catholic Primary School

'Living, Loving, Learning Together'


Reception Curriculum

Welcome to our Reception Curriculum page.


Holy Cross Reception Curriculum Intent

At Holy Cross it is our intent to ensure that the Reception Curriculum is rich and provides each child with the opportunity to develop their skills and interests in a range of areas.  We work with our families to ensure that the strengths and interests of our children are valued and embraced. The curriculum intends to help children embrace diversity and gain an appreciation of each other’s cultural diversity. We understand the importance of good communication and language in providing children with the skills needed to become successful learners and so we place language at the heart of the curriculum.  


Holy Cross Reception Curriculum Implementation

Our curriculum follows the guidelines of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (2021) and is implemented using Development Matters (2021). The topics taught in Reception reflect children's interests and needs, practitioners knowledge of the children and what is required to help them reach the next steps of learning and consideration and appreciation of the local community, its needs and what it has to offer our children. The curriculum is reflected upon regularly and so is flexible, to ensure there are changes to support the growing needs of the children and community.


We hope this page will inform you about our Reception class curriculum, as well as giving you some information about the EYFS curriculum and how it works.

Our EYFS team M.Brennan, M.Massara and M.Pinchi  are available to answer any questions you may have about any aspect of your child's learning and we will be pleased to provide you with further information if you require it.



EYFS Framework
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools must follow the EYFS, including school reception classes.


The EYFS Framework

There are four overarching principles that shape practice within Early Years. These are:

• Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;

• Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;

• Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.

Importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).


The curriculum is organised into seven areas of learning and development:

All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
  • Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Your child will learn to do this following Read, Write, Inc. phonics. Parents will be invited into school for a phonics workshop on how to help your child at home. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.


Key Persons

All children in Reception have a key person, either M.Brennan or M.Massara

The key person will help ensure that every child’s learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs. The key person will engage and support parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home. They will also help families engage with more specialist support if appropriate.  



"Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up."

Early Years framework 2021

Children Learning with English as an Additional Language

For children whose home language is not English, there are opportunities to develop and use their home language in play and learning, supporting their language development at home. There are also opportunities to learn and reach a good standard in English language during the EYFS, ensuring children are ready to benefit from the opportunities available to them when they begin year 1.


The Value of Play

Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. At Holy Cross our children experience learning through a balance of adult led activities and learning through their independent play.  Adult led activities cover all aspects of the Foundation Stage curriculum.  Adults support children’s independent play either by playing with the children or providing resources to extend their learning.  Children are encouraged to complete independent challenge activities which support their next steps in learning. Play can take place through:

Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;

Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and

Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.


What sort of things will children learn during the Foundation Stage?

In the Prime Areas children will learn to:-

·         Share, take turns and develop respect for each other.

·         Make friends and become confident independent learners.

·         Behave appropriately when playing with others.

·         Listen to others and understand spoken language.

·         Learn new words rapidly and use them in conversations.

·         Join in conversations with adults and children.

·         Develop control of their bodies using both large scale movements such as running and jumping, and small scale movements such as holding pencils and using scissors.


In the Specific Areas:-

Enjoy sharing books and stories with adults and friends.

Draw, make marks, write letters and words.

Count accurately groups of objects and recognise numerals.

Add, subtract and problem solve during practical activities.

Use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, distance, time and money.

Look closely at how things work, why things happen, living things and the natural world.

Use ICT equipment, e.g. programmable toys and computers.

Be imaginative, sing songs, dance and create fantastic models, drawings and paintings.


What will children do during a Reception session?

Your child will take part in a wide range of activities, both indoors and outdoors.  Your child will learn through activities he or she has chosen, or from those that are led by an adult.  Children in the Foundation Stage learn through play based activities that are fun and enjoyable.  These activities are supported by caring adults who will work closely with you to ensure your child makes progress.  We keep careful progress records for each child which are linked to the Early Years Learning Outcome in the Foundation Stage Guidance.  Parents are actively encouraged to contribute to their child's learning journals.


Holy Cross Curriculum Impact

At Holy Cross Primary School we follow in the footsteps of Jesus by creating a welcoming ethos, valuing each child and their family no matter what ethnicity or background.

Our children take responsibility for each other especially those less able or with SEN through the respectful and inclusive culture that we have established in our setting.

Our EYFS learning environments both indoor and outdoor provide a high level of support and challenge for the learning and development needs of all the children attending our setting.

The positive impact of the enabling environment ensures all children are eager to learn and share their learning with others.

Our children learn independently and collaboratively and are encouraged to preserve to resolve problems they encounter.

Developing partnerships to engage families in children’s learning and supporting them to create a home learning environment by welcoming and ensuring parents/ carers and children feel valued as part of our school community.

Ensuring high quality holistic provision makes our EYFS a welcoming, secure, fun and exciting place for all families and children in our school community.


Read Write Inc.

In Reception, children learn to read and write using the Read Write Inc. phonics scheme. Read Write Inc. phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases.

Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.


For more information, see the links below: 

Parents Guide to EYFS

Parent video: Understanding Phonics

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

Parent video: How to say the sounds

Early Number Sense

This video will give you an idea of how we teach Number to Reception children.