Early Years (2-5 Years)


Welcome to  Reception, proudly known as Ladybirds and Caterpillars. This is a year which is certainly a milestone one: full-time school with a Pennthorpe uniform!   The transition from sessions in Beehive is mercifully gentle as the children settle into the routine of full-time school in rooms which begin to resemble proper classrooms, but wildly colourful ones with adventurous outdoor areas.

In Reception, distinct subjects are gradually beginning to emerge, with literacy and numeracy high on the agenda, blended beautifully with independent and creative learning, play and child initiated discovery through carefully planned topics.  This is the year when ‘learning to read’ begins in earnest and mastering the basics of mathematics takes on a whole new dynamic. Specialist teaching sessions expand, as the children extend their range to the Performing Arts Studio for creative dance and music lessons, the Sports Hall and playing fields for PE, forest school, French lessons and weekly swimming lessons. Children enjoy classes no bigger than 16 with two staff, enabling each child to benefit from individual care and a bespoke learning program.

The Pennthorpe Reception classrooms are modern, yet natural and airy, with bifold doors opening onto a well appointed outdoor classroom space overlooking our spectacular treehouse and the eleven acres of woodland beyond. Our Reception classes share a corridor with the Year 1 and 2 classes, providing the children with an opportunity to mix naturally and facilitating a very natural transition into the Lower School.

The Reception Day:

Reception children enjoy a mixture of both structured (teacher-led) and free play (child initiated) activities each day. There are opportunities to play in the classroom, on the terrace area and The Beehive garden just outside the classroom and on our various playgrounds and in our Woodland Dell.  In good weather we can fold back the classroom door and join the classroom and outside terrace area together, almost doubling the classroom space.

Formal lessons begin in Reception, where the children will carry out daily Literacy and Numeracy activities that develop specific skills. The phonics learning that took place in Beehive is reinforced during the first weeks, enabling children to consolidate skills required for reading and writing.

The Maths taught in Beehive is developed through more problem solving and the use of questioning and self-led exploration. This quickly leads into addition, subtraction, telling the time, using money and other key life skills.

Children are expected to fully develop their independent learning skills gained in Beehive by accessing materials and equipment themselves and so take responsibility for simple tasks and activities.

Afternoon lessons in Reception vary from day to day and cover the topic aspects of the children’s learning. There is still an emphasis on learning through self-directed play and finding things out for themselves.

In all areas of the Early Years Department the session or day ends with a story and some time for reflection about our day together. At playtime, children are given a snack of fruit/biscuit and water or milk before morning and afternoon playtimes. We go outside to play as much as possible, but if it is a wet day the children play indoors, listen to stories or watch a story DVD with a member of staff. We want every child to have a happy playtime and the staff on duty encourage them to play together by co-operating and taking turns.

At lunchtime, Reception classes eat together in the Lower Hall where they are served a hot meal from the school kitchens. We serve the children and help them to cut up their food, encourage them to try new things and promote good table manners. Our menus are varied (you will find copies of the menus on the information board outside the Reception Classrooms) and most children will find plenty to eat.

At the end of the day, children are dismissed individually to their parents or carer with a handshake and a ‘Good Afternoon.’ It is at this time that teachers are more than happy to discuss any issues that may concern parents.

Breakfast Club 7:30am-8:30am
Drop off/unstructured play 8:30am-9:00am
Core school day 9:00am-3:00pm
Optional extended care/clubs until 4pm 3:00pm-4:00pm
Optional extended care/clubs until 6pm including tea 4:00pm-5:00pm or 6:00pm

Upon completion of the Reception year, children progress to the Lower School.

Flying through the day

Learning with fun and laughter

Taking part in every opportunity

Luscious lunches with something for everyone

Learning to write