Early Years

Early Years

Learning in Reception 

The learning potential for all young children is an exciting journey and it’s our privilege to work with the children, to support, guide and unleash their love for learning. 

On a normal day in Reception you can see our children counting and collecting flowers, digging in our allotment, writing letters to their friends, reading a book in a teepee or being curious and creative designing a reservoir in the sandpit. Most importantly though, you can see confident and creative children sharing their ideas, helping each other, being kind and being determined to achieve success.


The Development Matters document along with the Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals set out end of reception year expectations for children by the end of the Foundation Stage.  We aim to provide children with a well-structured, safe, active learning environment both indoors and outdoors. This will enable them to develop the skills, attitudes and understanding that will form the basis of lifelong learning and encourage them to become useful, active members of our community. 

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum guides children’s learning from 0-5 years old. 

The curriculum is organised into seven areas of learning.  The three prime areas of learning are:  Communication & Language, Personal & Social and Physical Development.

There are four specific areas of learning: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

The characteristics of effective learning are: Playing and Exploring, Active Learning and Creating  and Thinking critically.


Using a piece of educational software called ‘Tapestry’ every child has their own individual learning journal. Parents and carers can log on with a secure username and password and they  will be able to access their child’s journal. Tapestry online learning journeys allow parents and carers to view their child’s observations and photographs from their time at Hadrian, almost as they happen! The teachers will also link the observations to the EYFS profile. This will keep parents and carers informed of the areas of learning in which their child is achieving, also, the age band they were working in for the observed activity.

Tapestry allows parents and carers to add observations and photographs of their own as well as share their  comments. We love to hear about learning and WOW moments from home to share with the children in class.


Children in Reception follow the synthetic phonics approach. Our daily phonics sessions in Reception are fun, involving lots of speaking and listening games, including songs and actions. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and they apply these skills quickly in their writing. At Hadrian Academy we follow the Letters & Sounds programme of study. Where individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. The phonics programme is divided into 6 sections, in reception we recap phase 1 (which is normally taught in nurseries and pre-schools) We then move onto phase 2-4. In Phase 2 children will learn the letters of the alphabet and the sound each letter makes. This is where children will learn each sound with an action. They will then begin to blend the sounds together to make simple words such as: cat, dad, pig, etc. This will be followed by segmenting (breaking the word into separate sounds) and finally beginning to read simple captions such as ‘cups and mugs’.

The sounds learnt in  phase 3 are digraphs (2 letters, one sound) such as ‘ch as in chip’, ‘sh as in shop’ and ‘th as in this’. Children will learn to understand that a digraph only makes one sound, even though it has 2 letters. Children will then move on to reading more complex captions, sentences and questions with a focus on the digraphs.

In Phase 4, children will not learn any new sounds, as they concentrate on learning to blend and segment longer words, captions and sentences. 


Reading is extremely important to us and the children at Hadrian Academy. We believe that all children should be exposed to exciting, captivating and engaging stories. Therefore we read a variety of texts throughout the year.  We also want children to have a passion for their own reading and have lots of interesting stories, poems and fact books that the children can independently look at.

As phonic knowledge becomes secure, children will be placed onto a school reading book. This book will be set at the right level for that child. The books become more challenging as the child’s phonic ability improves. These books are read at school at least twice a week and we ask parents to read with their child at least 5 times a week.

We use Tapestry to communicate with parents and ask parents to log any reading on the app too. 


Maths is one of the four specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage.Each specific area is divided into Early Learning Goals, for maths these are:

Numbers – children learn to count and the value of numbers, higher and lower. These skills support them to solve problems, use money and calculate more or less.

Shape, Space and Measure – these skills support children to understand size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money and compare quantities, objects and solve problems.

Children will learn about maths through their play and their daily experiences. At Hadrian we plan meaningful and hands-on activities so that children can relate to maths. We believe that maths is better to be hands on and practical.

Maths in Reception is everywhere, (inside and outside) and there are opportunities and exciting activities for the children to explore, sort, count, compare, describe and calculate. We believe that maths is all around and in reception we develop mathematical skills so that children become creative, critical thinkers and problem solvers as they progress through Hadrian Academy.

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