Nursery & Reception (EYFS)

EYFS Curriculum Statement 

Our inclusive curriculum enables all our children to experience the best possible start to their educational journey.  Our children are all valued for their uniqueness and as such running through our curriculum are strong links between our school and the families and the communities that we serve.  We provide our children with many opportunities to share and celebrate their diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences.   

Our inclusive practice means that all our children access and enjoy learning with the support of skilled, experienced teaching staff and early years practitioners.  Our ‘focus child’ cycle means that each half term, individuals are observed and assessed more closely.  At the beginning of focus weeks, parents and carers communicate their own knowledge about their child and receive feedback on the child’s progress across the curriculum.  

Our robust and intentional planning ensures children make excellent progress in all areas of the curriculum, moving through each year building upon skills previously taught. We constantly provide enrichment activities to ensure engagement but also to ensure that in our provision our children are exposed to as many different and exciting opportunities and experiences as possible.  Ultimately, our pupils leave our Early Years ready for a smooth transition in Key Stage 1, equipped with the skills and knowledge to continue their journey as well rounded, confident lifelong learners. 


At Buxton School, our Nursery and Reception children engage with a creative, fun, and relevant curriculum tailored to meet their individual needs. Our ambitious curriculum has been thoughtfully designed to reflect the diverse community we serve. We are proud to have participated in The Prosperity Project, an initiative aimed at decolonising the curriculum and ensuring our pupils learn through an inclusive lens. Our children recognise that their backgrounds and cultures are represented in the stories we share, the influential figures we study, and the resources we employ. 


Our curriculum is meticulously planned to ensure that each child in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) makes excellent progress across all learning areas. We consider the various developmental stages in terms of knowledge and skills, with children continually building on their prior knowledge and mastered skills from their first term in Nursery through to Key Stage 1. 


The EYFS curriculum is structured around seven areas, with prime focus on Communication and Language, Physical Development, and Personal, Social, and Emotional Development. Mastery of skills and knowledge in these prime areas is essential for each child to thrive in all aspects of the curriculum. 

Communication and Language lie at the heart of our curriculum. Children engage in high-quality interactions with staff daily, fostering effective communication through back-and-forth conversations. Activities such as nursery rhymes, singing, storytelling, role-playing, phonics games, and talk partners take place in a language-rich environment. We support our children's communication by enhancing their sentence structures and introducing relevant vocabulary. Children requiring additional support are promptly identified and provided with targeted interventions in small language groups. 



For Personal, Social, and Emotional Development (PSED), we begin each day with a welcome circle. This dedicated time allows children to explore their feelings and emotions while cultivating a positive attitude for learning. Our EYFS curriculum starts with the topic "All About Me." In Reception, families help their children complete a series of "Starting School Challenges" before joining the class. The children are then introduced to puppets Charlie and Peggy, who share their experiences of starting school. Through a range of engaging activities, children develop their executive function skills and learning dispositions. Our students also enjoy weekly "Jigsaw" sessions, which cover aspects of self-discovery, relationships, and healthy living. 


Physical Development 

Our engaging outdoor environment offers children numerous opportunities to develop their physical skills. Activities include pushing, pulling, balancing, jumping, hanging from a height, turning, digging, climbing, skipping, hopping, riding various vehicles, using skateboards and scooters, and playing ball games. Reception children also participate in weekly PE sessions, which incorporate dance. We provide ample opportunities for children to develop fine motor skills through rolling, cutting, threading, tweezing, pulling, and sticking. Our children love to draw intricate pictures, and we explicitly teach letter formation to support handwriting. 


The specific areas of learning include: 

  • Literacy 

  • Mathematics 

  • Understanding the World 

  • Expressive Arts and Design 


Literacy, Understanding the World, and Expressive Arts and Design are integrated into our half-term topics. For example, during the "Let's Pretend" topic in Reception, we travel to Africa by exploring the Ghanaian traditional tale "The Leopard's Drum." This experience allows us to compare localities, learn about animals, create and play different African instruments, and role-play as the story's characters. 


Mathematics learning is based on the White Rose Maths Scheme of work. Our approach to maths is fun and engaging, incorporating songs and child-friendly visuals to support early understanding of numbers. Our children develop a strong grasp of key mathematical vocabulary, which they use to describe patterns, shapes, and measurements, as well as to articulate a solid understanding of small numbers. Our maths learning is hands-on and practical; children use concrete resources such as counters, Numicon pieces, and dice to explore and apply their number skills in fun and relevant ways. 



Phonics learning at Buxton is enjoyable and engaging. Nursery children begin their phonics journey through interactive sessions that include instruments, songs, puppets, and games. In Reception, our children start the Monster Phonics program, which employs a color-coded, child-friendly approach to learning new sounds and letters. Each colored monster represents a different sound, and we carefully introduce how these sounds are written in words. Our children have numerous opportunities to practice reading each sound during fun phonics games and while reading Monster Phonics books in school and at home. More information about phonics teaching can be found on the ‘Phonics’ page. 


Characteristics of Effective Learning 

We view our children as lifelong learners and understand that the skills and knowledge we instill in them will have lifelong impacts. Therefore, we diligently plan opportunities to support our children in developing effective learning strategies. We focus on three key learning behaviors: 

  • Playing and Learning 

  • Active Learning 

  • Creating and Thinking Critically 


Each Child is Special and Individual 

Our Early Years staff dedicate time to building strong relationships with each child. We get to know their families during the settling-in period, learning about each child's likes, dislikes, and prior learning experiences. We also gather feedback from parents on areas where their children need further development. We carefully observe new children, creating baseline assessments based on their abilities, learning styles, and motivations. This information informs our planning, which is adapted for each child. Our flexible timetable allows us to work with different children on various types of learning. Each child has a focus week every half-term, during which we pay even closer attention to their interests, assess their learning across all curriculum areas, and create next steps for their development. 


Outdoor Learning and Enrichment 

We are passionate about outdoor learning, as are our children! Both our Nursery and Reception children have ample space to play, explore, and learn. Our outdoor areas offer larger, messier, faster, riskier, and louder experiences. In addition to various sporting and physical opportunities, we have story sheds, water walls, large sandpits, climbing structures, a performing stage, creative resources for big art and mark-making, and planters and growing beds for year-round planting and gardening activities. 


At Buxton, we also have a secret garden where our children love to participate in sessions with our environmental tutors. In the secret garden, they learn about seasonal changes, engage in the hard work of cultivating a thriving garden, and grow food and plants to take home or use in our school kitchen. Our children frequently cook in our classrooms and take part in other essential childhood activities like playing card games and sewing. 



We motivate our youngest learners to excel in their learning and meet our high expectations for behavior. We reward our children with Dojo points and certificates in weekly assemblies. 


Home Learning 

Reading is of great importance at Buxton. Our Nursery and Reception children take home a picture book or information book from our class library each week. We discuss each child's book choice and encourage families to share the book with their child, reading the story aloud and enjoying the illustrations together. Our Reception children take home a decodable reading book, carefully aligned with their phonics learning, enabling them to practice and master reading the sounds they have learned in phonics sessions. 


Partnerships with Parents 

We value our partnerships with parents and carers and recognise the importance of working together to support each child. School staff organise and run various workshops for parents and children to attend. Through these workshops, parents and carers learn how to support their children's learning. We offer phonics, maths, reading, and messy play mornings throughout the year. 





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