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Help! I'm New To Reception.


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After 17 years teaching in Ks1 I am so looking forward to a Mat Leave cover in Foundation2.I have been itching to get a chance to teach in Early Years and have so much enthusiasm, I'm bubbling with ideas to help take our Reception class along a learning journey thats filled with fun and rich with learning experiences. As I have been pretty much prescribed what to teach term by term I now feel totally out of my comfort zone as I delve into tand attempt the planning for Reception.


i have looked online at so many examples that my mind is swimming and I'm starting to feel very anxious and unsure about my abilities. So, if you have the time I would appreciate any advice or pointers that would help me to get started...



1. What am I expected to plan week in week out? Is it the enhancements you have made in response to the children's interests? What would a typical weekly planning sheet have on it?

2.Is there a long term plan anywhere that will ensure that I cover all that I am supposed to from Dev matters?

3. Does the continuous provision planning stay the same all year...I presume this is the opportunities that all children have in all areas of learning across the year.

4.What is the best way to record progression of the children across the year?

5.What does a typical reception class planning file look like?

6. Do people start phonics/lit/num lessons pretty quickly, say after a couple of weeks after children settled and baseline complete?


I'm feeling a bit silly asking all these questions that for some of you will be obvious....What I don't want to do is resort to a Hamilton Trust topic....I feel I need to work it out for myself with a little help from you experts!


Many thanks in advance,

Anxious Rachel x :(


I know there's loads of questions....but my mind is all over the place!!

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Hi Rachel, welcome and good luck.

Reception is a great place to be but alot of your questions may be answered by your school's needs and proformas especially as you say that you have been prescribed what to teach term by term.


I would start by treating yourself to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reception-Year-Action-month-month/dp/0415618509 and continuing to search on here!

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thanks for your reply...I actually ordered and read the above book last week!!....I must admit I was in awe of the woman!! She is obviously very confident in her approach and has a well resourced school!! I have taken a lot of her ideas on board...I'm just stressing over what to do and when really and how to get it written down!

Many thanks

R x


ps...I meant that I'd been give term by term objectives in KS1. I have no planning for new reception class and pretty much free reign to try anything as long as phonics is taught daily.

Edited by SamKat
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Ok, all schools have different expectations, but this is what we do!


In our planning file we have a long term plan which is just a grid showing the themes we will be covering,eg, Holidays, Vets and Pets, Castles etc.. At our school, each theme lasts approx 2 weeks. If the children want to go off at a tangent during these themes, we are flexible and build on their interests.


We brainstorm ideas (all staff and children too) around the theme and put these on to an A3 grid showing each of the areas of learning and outside activites. Our daily plans use ideas taken from this grid. We have a space at the bottom of the daily planning sheet for evaluation/next steps.


Also in the Planning File, we have Continuous Provision planning sheets, eg one for Creative Table, Sandpit, Water tray, Role Play, Mark Making etc.... As you say, these stay the same all year.


We make observations of the children during both child and adult initiated activites (on sticky labels), take photos (annotated and stored in individual folders on the computer) and record progress by highlighting a Tracker Grid each term. We also have Parents' Pages - booklets that we send home for parents to record their observations and use this information to inform our assessments. We give the parents a disc of their child's photos at the end of the year rather than printing them all out.


We start phonics, numeracy and cursive handwriting almost straight away - keeping sessions very short, focused, fun and multi-sensory. This gives a bit of structure to the day but also allows plenty of time for indoor and outdoor continuous provision.


I hope that helps - it is just a case of finding what works best for you, your children and your school.

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I'm currently panicking a bit too as I'm starting in reception after 9 years in a PVI preschool. But I notice that you are in the north west and just wanted to let you know that I've just seen Anna Ephgrave is doing a couple of courses at Early Excellence in Huddersfield this academic year. One is a Saturday session and the other is a weekday I think. I saw her speak at an Nursery World conference just as she was writing the book and she was very helpful and supportive.

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Thank you POPCORNPIE for your clear guidance. The more I read the more I need to step into the "reception teacher shoes" and not be so wound up with planning too much in advance....engaging the children with their ideas around a theme sounds lovely. I feel happier to follow plans for phonics and numeracy on a daily-ish basis and leave plenty of time for observations and getting to know the children. You've made me feel a whole lot better...wish me luck!


HOLLY35: Thanks, I've been meaning to get over to Huddersfield to the Early Excellence centre...it looks brilliant. WIll check the dates and might get myself booked in! PS....PVI school? What's that?


Thanks again everyone x

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PS....PVI school? What's that?


I was previously working in a preschool playgroup in the Private, Voluntary and Independent Sector, ie not a school and I wasn't a qualified teacher. I was made redundant last year and managed to get a place on a PGCE so I am now about to start teaching in a maintained school. Might see you at Early Excellence if I can convince my head to let me go!

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Oh, right...good luck with your new role, I'm sure you'll be great. I've earmarked a few courses/twilights that look particularly useful...like you, I just need to sweet talk the head!

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