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Learning in Early Years


We are very pleased to welcome all the children in both of our Early Years settings, to their first year at Keresley Grange.



We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our school and share some information with you regarding specific details of the Early Years 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 Early Years class, but we will communicate with you regularly, to inform you of additions to the running of the class. We hope this supplies all the information that you need in the first instance, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

The Early Years Teams

The Keresley Grange Reception Team are Mrs Oliver, Miss Duggan, Mrs Loughran, Mrs Hammond, Mrs Skillern.

The children are taught within class groups, with mixed group work being an integral part of practice during teaching and learning times. The children will work closely not only with the teacher, but with all of the staff during their time in Early Years. 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 - Arrival

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

At 8.55am registration starts. It is imperative that your child is in the classroom at this time, so that we can take the register before we begin our learning.  

Fruit and Milk or Water

During the morning, the children are able to access fruit and milk or water. The children choose for themselves which fruit they would like and pour their own milk or water. They wash up their own plate and cup in order to develop their independence.  In the afternoon 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 Early Years 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 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 wellies 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.


The Reception children have their lunch time from 11.30am until 12.45pm. The children have the first half an hour to eat their lunch, before they have time on the playground outside to enjoy releasing some of their endless supplies of energy! 

All Reception (to year 2) children are entitled to a hot dinner which will be provided by the school. Every morning parents and children choose a meal from four options (there is always a vegetarian option). The children tell their teachers their choice during registration. The children have coloured pegs to wear as they come in, to help them to remember their meal choice.

First Aid

We have qualified paediatric first aiders in both of our teams, 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 Grange, we follow a scheme which incorporates all of the skills within PE, including gymnastics and games. The children are also taught by a specialist dance teacher in a session called 'Twirling Toddlers.'  

A full PE kit of white t-shirt, black shorts white socks and black pumps for indoor lessons and a navy track-suit for outdoor lessons are required, to ensure the children are safely dressed for their session.


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 with increased independence as the year goes on

End of day

The 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 Early years team will release the children one by one – please bear with us as we get to know who is who!

Early Years 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:

School uniforms, 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 or Navy blue 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 plain or school t-shirt, navy blue shorts, a navy 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. (Please note - Children will not need to bring their PE kit in at this time.) 

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 Grange Book bag (our PTA provide the first one for our children) –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. (Please note that unfortunately we are unable to provide any intimate care at the present time. If your child has a toileting accident we will call you and ask you to take them home, clean them up and change them, before bringing them back to school. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.)

Phonics, Writing and Reading

One of the main things we will be doing in school is teaching your child to read and write. At our Keresley Grange, we use Read, Write Inc to teach your child phonics. This is a systematic programme which provides the children with the sound recognition, blending and segmenting skills for them to read and write effectively.

Nursery children begin their learning with nursery rhymes and songs, as well as playing games to support the acquisition of their speaking and listening skills. This foundation paves the way for their phonic learning later in the year, when they learn their first set of sounds and how to blend and segment them.

Initially, the Reception children will learn the first set of sounds (including the alphabet and the phonemes: sh, ch, th, ng and nk.) 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 will hold a meeting for you (as soon as we are able!) to share our approach to phonics, so that you are able to support your child at home in the same way that we do at school.

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 Grange, we will be immersing the children in traditional stories using The Write Stuff program, as an integral part of our literacy learning.

In the Early years, 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 maths 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 20 and beyond. They will also be learning addition and subtraction within 20. 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 foundation 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 Curriculum to inform our planning and assessments for both our nursery and reception children.

When your child first starts their time in school, a 'Baseline' assessment is made. From this we understand where your children is on their development journey and can plan to ensure your child achieves to the best of their ability. We are constantly assessing the children's understanding to inform our planning for next steps.

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.


Our current learning this term.....