Early Years Foundation Stage

Nursery and Reception


Early Years children are admitted to either our Nursery or Reception class, according to their age at the time of admission, in the Early Years Foundation Stage. In Nursery, there are currently places for 6 pupils and they are taught by one teacher and two teaching assistants. In Reception, there are two classes and this provides places for 12 pupils. We offer a warm and welcoming environment for all our pupils and their families.

A baseline assessment of each child is developed on entry using the skill bands in the Early Years Foundation Stage assessment materials that have been identified during their initial statutory assessment and using our own assessment methods in school. From this baseline we ensure that each child’s existing skills are built upon and new skills are developed individually. A major area of focus within the Foundation Stage is the development of each child’s communication skills, and children are taught to use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), Makaton signing and vocalisation, or a mixture of any of these as is appropriate to the individual. Communication development is reinforced as a discreet and cross curricular area throughout the school day.

There is a strong focus on addressing individual barriers to learning and developing independent learning skills that are vital for enabling the children to progress during their time at The Pines School. Children often join us with very limited self-help skills in terms of toileting, eating or dressing and we regard the development of these skills through ongoing individual programmes as essential to each child’s independence. We achieve this in partnership with families and value their input and detailed knowledge of their child. We aim to provide the children with a wide range of practical activities and experiences across all the areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum, differentiating activities where necessary to enable all children to have access to a broad and balanced curriculum.

For those children who we know are joining our Foundation Stage classroom staff make a home visit to meet the child in their own environment and to discuss the child’s individual needs, likes, dislikes and motivating activities. This is an opportunity for staff to gather essential information which enables them to prepare resources and helps ensure the child settles quickly and feels comfortable in their new setting. In the Early Years, pupils are taught primarily through focused play activities. One of these will regularly be based in the area of Language and Communication. In addition, most pupils will have specific communication targets that will be worked towards throughout the school day. During the Reception year, pupils are gradually introduced to aspects of literacy. All children have individual number targets worked on either individually or in small groups.