St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Love, learn and live in Christ!

Our Ethos Question this w/b 18th June: Do I recognise and accept that while we have things in common, we are also different?


Early Years


Our Nursery and Reception classes are known as the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS).

You will find lots of information and tips to support your child below but please also read our EYFS Policy by clicking on the Useful Documents link in the tab headed Parent.


The EYFS staff follow a framework called 'Development Matters' (Nursery) and ‘Early Learning Goals’ (Reception). These frameworks, underpinned by the specific skills and knowledge our children need, enable us to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum for each of our children.

Records are kept and observations are made to monitor each child’s progress.

The staff compile a wealth of information on each child to reflect their ‘Learning Journey’ throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage which we will share with you at our parent/carer consultation meetings.

 Our Nursery learning environment is where most of our children begin their learning journey with us!

They all take turns to help to prepare the morning snack which they then eat in the 'Cafe' area!

We strive to create a stimulating, bright and creative environment for all our children!

An environment which will enable them to develop in all areas of learning and and independence.



Our children in Nursery begin to learn Phase 1 Phonics from the Jolly Phonics programme. They continue to work through the phases in Reception and then in Key Stage 1. We find that the programme has a high success rate in supporting our children's  reading and writing skills.

Jolly phonics materials are available to buy but I advise that any parent/carer doing so talks to their child's teacher to ensure continuity and progression of learning!



We aim to foster a love for reading among all our children and as such give good quality time to reading and sharing books. Our Nursery children take part in a lending library once a week and parents/carers are encouraged to be a part of this. From Reception our children are encouraged to build on this love of reading through story based approaches, learning key works, developing their phonics and taking home books from a  range of schemes, although our central scheme is Oxford Reading Tree.

Any opportunity you have to talk to your child about the books you are sharing will be valuable in the development of their reading skills. Ask questions such as:

  • What do you like about (the name of the character)?
  • Who is your favourite character in the story?
  • Why?
  • Why do you think (the character) did that? / went there? / said that?
  • What could (the character) do now?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • What would you do if you were (the character)?
  • How do you think (the character) is feeling?
  • Why?


We encourage our children to develop a secure and confident pencil grip and support our parents/carers in guiding their child in this at home too. We provide lots of opportunities for mark making, with an early focus on lines drawn from top to bottom and curves from right to left. The children are encouraged to 'mark make' and as they become more knowledgeable in phonics and reading, these marks begin to become recognisable as letters and numbers. The staff model how it can be done and enable the children to generate lots of ideas to contribute to the writing. The children can then see how a piece of writing develops and what a finished piece looks like. We teach these skills as part of whole class work, small groups and on a 1-1 as needed. 

The children have the opportunity to share and celebrate their work with each other and are guided into recognising what makes a good piece.

We do ask our parents/carers to guide their child in mark making so they do not form the habit of drawing shapes, letters and numbers from the bottom.

Any opportunity you can give your child to draw, colour in (many children struggle with this!), trace, form shapes and simple pictures will get them of to a great start!



As the children's reading and writing skills progress in Reception, they are introduced to weekly spellings which they take home to practice and learn! These are high frequency words and tricky words which when learnt will really begin to have an impact on their reading and emergent / independent writing. The children really enjoy learning their spellings and see it as a challenge!



It is wonderful that so many of our children can count at least up to 10 when they start with us! Our Maths curriculum is varied with practical work at the heart. The children use wide ranging resources and are encouraged to talk about what they are doing and why using developing mathematical vocabulary modelled by the staff. The practical work helps the children to begin to make visual links with numbers and to see the patterns and relationships within number.

In Reception there are some specific number facts that we ask our children to learn off by heart as quickly as they can say their own name! These are called 'Learn-Its'. These Learn-Its will enable the children to build up a good base of maths facts that they will increasingly be able to call upon to help to solve number problems and calculations. The Learn-Its continue through the school and the children are challenged to beat their own personal best.

We ask parents/carers to not only help their child learn the number facts (Learn-Its) but also create opportunities for Maths at home such as:

  • counting......the tins in the cupboard, the spoons in the drawer, the socks in the wash, the teddies on the bed, the bricks in the toy box....and so on
  • it is easier to start by lining up the items and encouraging your child to point to each one in turn as you count up...and before you know it your child might be the one doing the pointing!
  • once your child is confident in counting objects in a line, put them in a group/pile and model moving the objects one at a time into a new space as you count them
  • number rhymes and songs are great too!
  • drawing numbers with your child will help them to recognise them as well as begin to form them correctly - but please remember to show them how to start at the top 1 and 4;  from the left 2, 3 and 7; and from the right 5, 6, 8 and 9 (although the number nine is commonly represented like this 9 we teach the children to draw it starting with a c shape then back up to the top and straight down - this supports their drawing of the letters a, c, d, g and q which all begin with a 'c').

Physical Development

Physical Development is catered for through a range of activities as part of our on-going provision. Our children will develop fine and gross motor skills in this area through a wide range of indoor and outdoor opportunities.

Our Nursery children have lots of outdoor equipment such as scooters, bikes, garden beds, dens and the roktagon, plus many more to enable their physical development to flourish!

Here are some of our children challenging themselves on the roktagon!