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Early Years

Our school ethos, Everyone Learns, Everyone Leads, Everyone Matters very much begins in the EYFS at Colby. We are passionate that recognising children as individual learners and encouraging children to explore and utilise their natural curiosities is paramount. Through exciting and engaging learning experiences and interactions, the children are provided with a happy and successful start to school life. We recognise children’s prior learning, from both previous settings and their experiences at home. We work in partnership with parents, carers and other settings to provide the best possible start at Colby School.

At Colby we provide an engaging curriculum which is centred on the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking. We follow children’s interests and ideas to foster a lifelong love of learning both in and outside of school. By the end of the Reception year children are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1. We feel so lucky to work with the youngest children in our school and be a part of their fundamental first year of education. We are dedicated to ensuring children are happy and excited to learn and that their experience in Reception provides them with the important foundation steps and tools needed for their journey through their school life.

Children’s learning is organised through topics. Each half term, we introduce a new topic to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a blended learning approach meaning a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. For the majority of the school day, children are engaged in exploration throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them within their play. Along with this, Amber staff also foster an ‘In the Moment Planning’ approach and all planned continuous provision can be adapted and changed to suit the needs of the children. The curriculum is planned for inside of the classroom as well as outside and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. At Colby, we encourage the children to take ownership of their classroom and environments they are learning in. An example of this is their immersive learning corner which changes to suit the children’s curiosities and spark learning opportunities. The goal within the learning environments is to create an atmosphere which fosters creative exploration, respect for the children’s work and encouragement of relationships and interactions.

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In EYFS we encourage children to interact with a range of books that not only develop a love of reading, but have been chosen specifically to develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. A variety of books, including non-fiction books, are embedded in our provision through activities and story sessions.  Books are on display for children to access independently. Along with our whole class sessions, children in Reception take part in a group writing session every other week which focusses on specific areas linked to the topic we are learning about. We also encourage children to take part in Story Scribing during their choosing time. This encourages independence when writing and also promotes opportunities to utilise their imagination. Every other week children will also be given the choice to take part in a Star Activity which focusses on an area of literacy, for example name writing.


In the first few weeks at school we concentrate on developing children's speaking and listening skills to lay the foundations for the phonic work to follow. The emphasis during the first weeks is to encourage children to listen to the sounds around them in order to support the development of oral blending and segmenting skills. 

In Reception, children develop GPC (grapheme phoneme correspondence which is the skill of recognising letter sounds and saying them) and segmenting and blending skills to decode words. Children are encouraged to read at home and are listened to regularly in school. They are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.


In Reception we follow the White Rose Maths Scheme of work which is divided into 3 weekly units. High quality learning environments where Maths is always accessible and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete objects and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration. Every other week, children in Reception take part in a guided maths activity based on what we have been learning about in our whole class maths lesson. These activities aim to develop fluency, revisit key concepts and address misconceptions. Along with this, children have the choice to take part in a Star Activity every other week which focusses on a particular mathematical area, e.g. identifying 2D shapes.

Wider curriculum

Our wider curriculum is taught through the following learning areas in particular; ‘Understanding of the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design.’ Exciting and purposeful activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, building a boat for their favourite toy enables them to think like a ‘Scientist’ and ‘Engineer’ as they explore a range of materials and test out their own ideas. In addition to this, as we have a mixed age class at Colby, children in Reception are given the choice to take part in the Year 1 foundation subject lessons if they would like to and also take part in a linked activity within the continuous provision which is both age and stage appropriate.  

Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional intervention and support for children who may not be reaching their potential, or are showing a greater depth of understanding and need further challenge. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics. 

On-going observation

At Colby, each child has their own individual profile on Tapestry. We understand the importance of having regular and consistent communication with parents and carers. Families are all invited to join Tapestry to see what their children have been doing at school. Parents and carers are also welcome to add their own observations to Tapestry which we then talk about and look through with the children at school. At Colby we are constantly reflecting on the children in our class and individual next steps are regularly considered by all. This ensures we are supporting children’s learning in a way which suits their learning style and their individual starting points. Each child is unique with their own interests, curiosities and personalities and it is vital that we factor these components in within our practise to ensure every learner is reaching their full potential in an exciting and engaging way.

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