Year R Octopus and Starfish


Octopus: Mrs Julie Jewell, Mrs Jenny Walker

Starfish: Mrs Amanda Powell

Support Assistants:

Mrs Maryevonne Black  

Mrs Becky Skinner

Mrs Claire McConnoche

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

Since September 2000 a ‘Foundation Stage’ has been established for our youngest children.  It gives this very important stage of education a distinct identity and is rooted in play based learning and practical activity both indoors and out of doors.  There are:

Three Prime areas which work together to support development in all other areas

  • Personal Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language Development
  • Physical Development

Four Specific areas which include essential skills and knowledge

  • Literacy – we use the ‘Jolly Phonics’ scheme for phonetic learning in the autumn term before we move onto ‘Phonics Play’.
  • Mathematics – in line of the rest of the school we use the Abacus scheme
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design


Our curriculum is delivered through topics that change each half term.  These are as follows:

Autumn 1           

All About Me

We get to know about ourselves, each other, our school environment and our wider school community. In addition, we enjoy exploring the season of autumn and harvest. We will look at and discuss signs of autumn in our environment.


Autumn 2

Kipper’s Toy Box

This topic is based around literacy texts by the author Mick Inkpen. Through discussion of these texts, we look at a variety of toys. We especially explore the concept of ‘past and present’. In addition, we think about Fireworks, explore the season of Advent and of course… Christmas!



Spring 1         

Once Upon a Time

We begin our first half term of the New Year by exploring the season of Winter before launching into ‘Once upon a time…’ a topic based upon nursery rhymes and traditional fairy stories. We focus on some well-known traditional tales including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs and The Gingerbread Man. In addition, we look at two more modern related texts: ‘Little Lumpty’ and ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’.


Spring 2

Spring to Life

We embark on ‘Spring to Life’ our topic for the second half of the Spring term. We observe changes in the weather and signs of new life in the environment, look at plant growth and later the development of baby animals into adults.  Our Literacy texts each week link to ’new life ‘and ‘growth’ and include ‘Jasper’s Beanstalk’ by Nick Butterworth. We also be looking at ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ story’, another traditional tale to add to our repertoire!

Also during the half term, our thoughts turn towards the traditional Easter story and the customs surrounding this religious spring festival.


Summer 1  

Out of the Ark

We start this term continuing the growing theme, looking at eggs, frogs and caterpillars. Through discussion and our Literacy texts, we look at a variety of other animals including our pets. We especially hope to encourage care and concern for living things and the environment. We also think about the work of the RSPCA/Cat’s Protection League. Literacy texts are linked to our animal theme and will include ‘Dear Zoo’ by Rod Campbell, ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle and ‘Elmer’ by David McKee and of course ‘Noah’s Ark’.


Summer 2

Out and About

This half term we especially focus on the world in which we live, home and abroad, hoping to foster an awareness of our own and other cultures and care for our environment. We begin by focusing our attention on our school environment and hunting for ‘Minibeasts’ before moving on to thinking about the village of Henfield . We will the turn our learning to other countries and finish off in space, using the text ‘Whatever Next’.

Additional Information

Visits and Visitors

Outings and visiting speakers are arranged to support our topics.  During the year we visit St Peter’s Church, walk to the local post box and enjoy a village walk as well as our main outing to Ladyland farm. Other trips may also take place during the year; parents are always given details of forthcoming visits.


Reading is an integral part of our daily literacy sessions. Children read with a teacher weekly in group guided reading sessions and regularly on a one-to-one basis. Your child bringing home a book to share supports much of this work in class. Children can choose a new book for home as often as they wish; you may wish to come into the classroom to ensure your child selects a new book from the appropriate coloured band.

Please try to set aside a few minutes each day to share your child’s reading book and complete the record book on a regular basis. This enables them to move up our ’Reading rocket’ in the classroom.


PE usually takes place on Fridays.  Throuout the year we cover units in gymnastics, games and dance. We ask that your child’s named PE kit is kept in a roomy draw string bag and stays in school at all times.  We will send it home at the end of each half-term to enable you to wash it and to check that plimsolls still fit!

If your child has pierced ears, please remove earrings on PE days.

Show and Tell

Although we do not have a dedicated ‘show and tell’ session on a weekly basis, there will be a variety of opportunities throughout the year for the children to share special items or experiences with the rest of the class. Please look out for details on the half-termly newsletters.

Morning Routine

At the beginning of the day, the children chose from a selection of activities called ‘Funky Fingers’, selected to develop their fine motor control ready for writing. These are carried out in in their own classroom.

At 9 o’clock we will shake a tambourine as a signal for the children to stand still while we call the register.

For your children’s security, the school gates will be locked at 9.10 a.m. Parents still in the classroom after this time will need to leave via the main entrance.


A whole school assembly takes place each Monday and Friday. Reception children also join in with Key Stage 1 assemblies each Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesday assemblies are initially classroom based. We join all assemblies when we feel the children re ready to participate.

In the Spring term. parents will be invited to attend a class assembly produced by the Reception children.  Details will appear on the school newsletter nearer the time.

Partnership with Parents 

  • It is hoped that each class will have two Parent Reps and a PTA representative.  If you are interested in contributing to the life of our school in this way, please see Alice Timmins in the school office.
  • Parent helpers don’t usually start until the second half of the Autumn term. If your DBS check has been processed, please talk to your child’s teacher to arrange a mutually convenient time to come in and help.
  • There are many other ways that parents can help us at school e.g. gardening, sewing nativity costumes, ‘one off’ talks to the children about occupations or skills/hobbies etc. Please see Mrs Jewell if you think you could help us in any way.

Occasionally we may publicise notices and reminders on our classroom doors or on the notice board outside Octopus classroom.