Welcome to Oaks, the Reception year at St Francis School 

In Reception, known at St Francis as Oaks, the EYFS Curriculum, ‘Development Matters’, is delivered by the Class Teacher and supported by our Teaching Assistants. Specialist teachers deliver French, PE and Music lessons each week.

Our emphasis within Reception and throughout St Francis is on getting to know your child as an individual. We take the time to find out about their families and pets, likes and dislikes, interests and hobbies as well as discovering how they learn. The content and structure of our curriculum always aims to be inclusive of the characteristics of each individual child. We choose topics and plan activities with the children at the forefront of our minds. We believe that a valued child is a happy child who feels safe, settled and secure to try new experiences and thrive.

Daily contact with your child’s teacher

An ‘open door’ approach is encouraged, as it is in the whole school, but particularly so in Reception. We pride ourselves on our positive and trusted relationships with our pupil’s parents/carers. By having twice daily contact with your child’s teacher, there are plenty of opportunities to talk with the teacher. If more time is needed to do this, a mutually convenient appointment will be arranged.

Pupils in Reception arrive in their classroom between 8.30 am and 8.40 am and choose from a range of activities before registration at 8.50 am. At the end of the day, Reception children are collected from the Haybrook Courtyard at 3.35 pm. Wraparound care is available from 7.45 am – 6 pm for children whose parents need extended day provision. 


Who will teach my child?

Reception is taught by a class teacher who is supported by Teaching Assistants. Our pupils are also taught by specialist teachers for French, Music and PE/Games. Our Year 2 pupils have drawn pictures of the staff your children will meet in Reception, click on the pictures to the right to see a fun fact file about them. 


Our Philosophy

Active learning through play

Within our EYFS at St Francis School we recognise that our young children learn best through being active. At its most effective, active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve our children for sustained periods. Therefore, we believe that Early Years education should always be as practical as possible and our EYFS has a clear ethos of learning through play. Children’s play is an essential and rich part of their learning process, supporting them in all areas of development. Play is a powerful motivator, encouraging children to be creative and to develop their ideas, understanding and language. It is flexible, can be led by children themselves and is naturally differentiated to meet their preferred learning style and level of development. Play provides multiple ways for children to learn a variety of skills and concepts.

In the EYFS at St Francis School, our enthusiastic and experienced practitioners provide both structured and unstructured play opportunities, both inside and outside. These play opportunities are clearly linked to the outcomes of the EYFS curriculum and are designed to engage our children in practical, first-hand experiences which support them to discover, explore, investigate, develop their personal interests and areas of curiosity, and help to make sense of the world around them as they begin to understand specific concepts. Play opportunities are also provided to allow our children the opportunities to apply newly acquired knowledge, demonstrate their skills and enhance their levels of understanding.

The Importance of learning and being outdoors

The benefits of being outdoors are undeniable. At St Francis we are extremely fortunate to have extensive grounds, including the Haybrook Garden and Haybrook Forest. We passionately believe that learning outdoors provides numerous opportunities that allow our children to thrive. During the Reception year, all children enjoy a weekly Nature School session that allows us to utilise our wonderful outdoor environment in our learning. We find that for children nature is calming. Having the freedom to roam and make decisions without adult intervention is beneficial for self-esteem and learning. The unique qualities of natural ‘loose parts’ such as leaves, stones and sticks increase imaginative play. All of this combined with the constantly changing outdoors gives limitless opportunities for new play every day.

We aim to provide high-quality outdoor learning experiences for our pupils which;

  • encourages their holistic development
  • develops resilience and adaptability 
  • helps them identify hazards and risks
  • develops reflective and inquisitive thinking and problem solving skills
  • fosters a love, appreciation and respect for nature
  • shows them how to look after the environment
  • improves self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem
  • develops collaboration and communication skills 
  • provides mental and physical health benefits (by assisting gross and fine-motor development)