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Our Early Years (Reception) Curriculum

Welcome to Reception at The Whiteoak Academies

'From little acorns, mighty oaks do grow.'

At the Whiteoak Academies, we aim to provide the very best start to our young children’s educational journeys. Our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum and environment is designed and created to nurture and inspire our children so that they feel safe, secure and happy in their learning and encouraged to develop their natural sense of wonder.

We work hard to create continuity between Pre-school and our Reception Classes in order to ensure our children make the very best start and continue to build on the knowledge and skills they've already developed. Our Early Years Curriculum is taught through a ‘hands on’ practical approach, embracing and encouraging the children’s interests. The children learn through purposeful play, using a range of resources that ignite their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.

The Early Years Foundation Stage outlines the learning and development stages of children from birth to five years. Our provision reflects the four overarching principles of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. These are:

  • Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

  • Every child is nurtured so that they can learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  • Every child is supported to learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs. There is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  • Every child learns and develops in different ways and at different rates. 

At the Whiteoak Academies we provide a secure, safe and happy environment in which we strive to ensure all children thrive and reach their full potential. Our classrooms are safe environments in which children feel confident to try new things, to explore, to question and to make and learn from their mistakes.

We have very high expectations of both our staff and our children and believe that all children can achieve amazing things. It is very important to us that our children receive the most positive and inspirational start to their school life and become lifelong learners. The strong foundations in learning provided in Reception are then built upon throughout our family of schools.

'The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and richer their experiences.'  


Our Early Years provision aims:
  • To ensure that all children feel happy, secure and safe.

  • To foster independent, curious, creative and resilient learners.

  • To create an inclusive learning environment.

  • To provide a stimulating learning environment which builds on children’s interests.

  • To ensure that all children have a sense of belonging and feel valued as an individual.

  • To work closely with parents in all aspects of children’s learning and development.

  • To provide opportunities to inspire children’s curiosity about the world.

  • To provide a challenging and exciting Early Years curriculum which has been sequentially planned, building on children's skills and knowledge.

Click here for the full curriculum map for 2023-24

British Values and SMSC in the Early Years

To help ensure that children leave school prepared for life in modern Britain, the DfE issued guidance to all schools on improving the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of children through the promotion of fundamental British values.

Across our family of schools, we aim to develop a climate where the British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are deeply embedded at every level and lived through our vivid vision, core values and curriculum.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is at the heart of our daily practice. Our learning environment and the activities within it have been carefully planned to provide our children with the opportunity to develop both emotionally and academically. We believe that the Early Years are essential in providing children with the strongest start, ensuring they become considerate, compassionate and respectful members of society. Our curriculum provides wide ranging opportunities to develop both physical and emotional well-being.

The children’s spiritual development is fostered through awe and wonder of the natural world. We go on regular welly walks in which the children are encouraged to appreciate nature and to recognise the beautiful details within it. Whether this is observing spider webs or simply noticing buds growing on a tree, the children show curiosity in the world around them. The outside environment is also explored daily, through our outdoor provision.

We also provide the children with mindfulness opportunities each day, building a mindful 5 minutes into our daily provision. During this time the children listen to music and focus on breathing techniques. This gives the children time for reflection and peace of mind.

Our children’s spiritual development is also fostered through creative activities that stimulate well-being. Drama, storytelling, dance and music play a central role in the Early Years. We believe uniqueness should be celebrated and our children are supported in developing a positive sense of themselves and their individuality. Individual talents are also celebrated. All children know they have a right to a voice and to expressing their individual liberty.

All voices and opinions are valued and respected. Democracy exercised through listening to one another’s views and opinions and valuing each other. The children often vote to make class decisions. 

Our children’s moral development is also nurtured in the Early Years, particularly through the promotion of our school ethos. In the Whiteoak Academies our values run throughout the school, from Reception to Year 6. These are imbedded within the Early Years and are discussed daily. We also provide the children with regular social stories and opportunities to explore emotions through games and tasks. We read high quality picture books covering a range of moral situations, stimulating debate and conversation.

We also offer a social intervention group in which the children explore right and wrong actions and emotions through picture books. Our staff and children have the utmost respect for one another and behavioural expectations are high for all. Staff encourage children to take responsibility for their actions and help them in understanding our school’s clearly defined behaviour policy. The children also explore the British Value; the rule of law by creating their own unique class rules. We create our class rules together meaning every child is involved and knows they apply to them as well. We work together to follow the school rules and use a positive incentive of filling our marble jar. Therefore, the children share the common goal of filling the marble jar and earning a treat for good behaviour.

When in the Early Years, our children build friendships that will last through their school careers and beyond. Staff support social development through a range of play and learning experiences. Our transition process from nurseries and pre-schools is extremely strong, meaning we have a through picture of the children when we meet them in September. This means social activities can be scaffolded to suit individual needs from the moment they start school.

Our Early Years environment is inclusive and respectful to all. Our curriculum has been shaped around high quality texts reflecting a range of cultures and backgrounds. Cultural development is at the heart of the EYFS. We celebrate diversity, encouraging all children to share their own cultures and family traditions. We encourage our children to recognise and challenge stereotypical language and strive to ensure all types of families feel accepted. The British value of mutual respect and tolerance is introduced to the children at an early age. We work with them to recognise and celebrate similarities and differences between themselves and others.