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Red Kite Learning Trust

Our Curriculum

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – Reception

Welcome to Whitkirk Early Years

Meet the EYFS Team

Firstly…  What is the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum (EYFS)?


This is how the government describe the time in your child's life between the ages of birth to 5. It relates to learning, development and welfare of children from birth to the end of Reception year as per the legal requirements set out in the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. It is made up key areas of learning: the prime areas and the specific areas. Alongside these areas of learning, children should also have the daily opportunities to develop the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL). At Whitkirk, we follow the DfE statutory EYFS framework and have created an ambitious curriculum which builds towards clearly defined end points. It is designed in a sequential way to ensure children develop as a whole child, it takes into consideration their interests through the activities selected, and ensures that children are prepared for the National Curriculum in Year 1.

2023 EYFS Curriculum

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At Whitkirk, we recognise that every child is unique. We make it our priority for each and every child joining our school to feel welcome, to settle confidently, to make the best possible start, and to thrive as part of our school team. We aim to foster a sense of enquiry and a real thirst for learning new skills and knowledge. Together, we will work to be the best that we can be!

Why Whitkirk?

Why Whitkirk EYFS


The Environment

We have established a safe and happy learning environment at Whitkirk and provide motivating and challenging learning experiences that enable the children to become confident and independent learners. We foster a sense of enquiry and a real thirst for learning new skills and knowledge. We have designed an enticing classroom and an ambitious curriculum which focuses on play and exploration and provides children with the knowledge and skills to be, ‘the best that we can be’ and understand their place within the community and world. We place reading at the heart of our curriculum, and plan for success using carefully selected texts, vocabulary and exciting experiences such as our visit to This Green Moon in Swillington which focuses on imaginative story telling.


Teaching and interacting with children at Whitkirk

Our curriculum meets all the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage requirements, outlined by the Department for Education, and prepares children for their next educational transition into Key Stage 1 throughout the year. We have used Development Matters non-statutory guidance (DfE) to inform our practice and knowledge of how children develop, and constantly reflect upon teaching and the curriculum to ensure it is reflective of the children’s interests and developing needs.

Our intent at Whitkirk in Early Years, is to create an environment where children: 

  • Feel able take risks and challenge themselves,
  • Develop empathy and understanding of the diverse world we live in,
  • Enquire and enjoy exploring and learning at their own pace supported by skilled practitioners.

Our teaching is a mixture of adult-led and child-initiated play.Our passionate adults support children within areas of provision in the classroom, modelling effective communication, language, and social skills. Vocabulary identified through our long-term plan is incorporated into high quality interactions and high expectations of sentence structure and language skills are applied. A Speech and Language therapist, (SALT) from the ‘Interactions’ team, meets weekly with staff to share practise and expertise to ensure language acquisition and early language support is embedded within daily interactions. When interacting with children, at Whitkirk have adopted the ‘ShREC’ approach to engage children in high quality interactions. When we interact and learn alongside children, we ‘(Sh) Share Attention, (R) Respond, (E) Expand and (C) have a conversation’.

ShREC imageWe share attention by showing a genuine interest in what a child or group of children are doing and establish we need to interact and support with children’s play to move learning forward.We respond to the children’s spoken language, make links and support them with their learning and behaviours that they are displaying.Finally, expand their thoughts and ideas through conversation so that we can support the children to solve their own problems within their play through carefully selected questioning and prompts.

Click image to enlarge


Reading forms the bedrock of our curriculum. Strong communication and language foundations support our robust teaching of reading. From the moment children start school, speech and language is a focus. We work closely with ‘Interactions’ our speech and language specialist and are very proud of our partnership. A highly skilled practitioner from Interactions observes children who may need speech and language therapy (SALT) and models activities and techniques to EYFS staff to deliver interventions for children and parents.

Our EYFS reading curriculum has been carefully planned to ensure exposure to a breath of different text types, language and linguistic styles including fiction, non-fiction, rhyme and traditional tales.  We have researched age appropriate, inspiring texts to read, study and retell throughout the year.

EYFS texts throughout the year



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Read Write Inc - Phonics

To support your child in learning how to read, we follow the Read Write Inc. phonics scheme to teach children to read and write. Through the implementation of this scheme, our children have made outstanding progress: at the end of Year 1, 90% children in 2022 passed their phonics screening text (this was greater than the national average of 75%). More information on this can be found in the booklet below. You can also find out how you can support your child at home using Read Write Inc by following the link here or on the left.

Can you practise reading the letter sounds with Miss Sanderson?

Can you practise writing the letter sounds with Miss Emery?


Mathematics at Whitkirk is taught through daily maths sessions and well-planned continuous provision. Maths is everywhere: noticing numbers in the environment, the shapes of the ceiling tiles, pairs of shoes, the list is endless; and therefore, all areas of provision within the classroom have links to early mathematical skills. This is made clear to children through the support provided through the EYFS team. Children learn to explore and explain their ideas using symbols, diagrams and eventually, written representation. We make sure that our setting and environment is filled with mathematical opportunities to support children in becoming critical thinkers. We follow the EYFS statutory framework and White Rose Maths Hub to ensure high-quality maths sessions are planned, delivered and in a coherent sequence of learning, (outlined in our Whitkirk long term plans plan).

Maths at Whitkirk      EYFS Maths Long term plan

Whitkirk maths

Our long-term plan has been designed to enable children to revisit, deepen their understanding and master skills throughout the year. Children revisit key skills of counting, ordering, number composition, comparing amounts, and addition and subtraction throughout the year. We also place a large emphasis on the development of shape, space and measure throughout each term to ensure that children develop the skills necessary to use every day language related to shape, space and measure that they will then develop in Year 1 and the national curriculum.

Each week the children study a ‘number of the week’. This supports the development of mathematical patterns and ensures that children have a profound knowledge and understanding of each number 0-10 initially and then moving onto teen numbers in the summer term in preparation for Year 1. Through our number of the week study, children learn key skills such as subitising, (recognising an amount without counting) and number composition (knowing that an amount can be partitioned in a variety of ways).  Each maths session in Reception starts with an oral starter, focusing on quick recall of number facts such as 1 more and 1 less, number bonds and doubles facts.

Parental Engagement

Whitkirk parental

Parental relationships are at the heart of our learning culture at Whitkirk and the EYFS. Throughout the Reception year, parents engage in all aspects of a child’s development. From the start of the year, we welcome parents in weekly for, ‘Stay & Play’ sessions, sharing children’s learning and engaging in conversations about children’s development and ways to support children at home. Strong communication between home and school is key, and we use ‘Class Dojo’ as a school to communicate with parents starting in Reception all the way to Year 6 and have 100% uptake of this in Reception. This creates a platform to share daily class learning and celebrate achievements of individual children. We value sharing our teaching process with parents and carers, therefore we set homework weekly, incorporating videos of Read Write Inc. sessions to support parents in teaching their children to read and write at home. To further support our drive to instil a love of reading, each week we host a ‘Secret Reader’ event.  Each week, a surprise adult joins the children in class to read a story. This is a much-anticipated weekly event and creates a sense of delight and passion towards reading.

Most importantly, class teachers are always available each morning and afternoon to discuss any queries or concerns you may have and will do all that they can to ensure children are happy, safe, and enjoying school life.

If you would like to visit our EYFS unit or speak to any member of the team regarding admissions, supporting your child before they start school, or how to support your child whilst they are in Reception, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the main school office.

Links to support home learning in the Early Years

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Whitkirk Primary School is part of Red Kite Learning Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 7523507, registered office address: Red Kite Office, Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate, HG2 9PH

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