Early Years

At St Anselm’s, children in the Early Years are viewed as competent, curious, natural researchers who are full of knowledge and are interested in connecting with the world around them. We always try to motivate and engage the children in their learning by incorporating their prior knowledge, experiences and interests in our planning. Our children make accelerated progress from their individual starting points through targeted teaching and planning to suit the individual learners. Children at St Anselm’s learn through a balance of teacher directed learning, where the children are engaged in activities and learning decided by the adult, and child-initiated learning, where the child decides how they will learn and develop through play.

Our teacher directed learning opportunities include daily phonics lessons, maths lessons, poetry and writing tasks, linked to topics and themes. We also have religious education twice a week, a physical education lesson and PSHE (personal social health education) lesson once a week. Children are provided with regular challenges to complete which consolidate and practise skills that they have been taught.

 During child-initiated learning, the children enjoy free-flow access to a range of activities inside the classroom and in the outside area, including reading areas, maths areas, construction play, small world play, investigation areas, creative areas and role play.    


Our reception learning environment is set out to encourage independence, investigation, exploration and discovery.  All areas are designed to provide rich opportunities to enable children to initiate their own learning and develop the learning characteristics that support lifelong learning.


At St Anselm’s. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage framework to plan all learning opportunities and ensure we are covering the following areas:

Early Years Prime Areas

Early Years Specific Areas

Communication and Language

Listening, Attention and Understanding


Personal, Social and Emotional Development


Managing Self

Building Relationships

Physical Development

Gross Motor skills

Fine Motor skills





Word Reading




Numerical patterns


Understanding the world

Past and Present

People, Culture and communities

The Natural World

Expressive Arts and Design

Creating with Materials

Being Imaginative and Expressive

In planning and guiding what children learn we incorporate the characteristics of effective teaching and learning which are:


Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have

a go’.

Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter

difficulties, and enjoy achievements.

Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas,

make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

Assessment is ongoing with an emphasis on interacting with the children, understanding their interests and what they know and can do, and then shaping teaching and learning experiences for each child reflecting that knowledge.

During child-initiated learning, when a child shows something they have not been able to do before, or is practicing something they have been taught, adults share an observation of the child’s learning with parents using an online learning journal called Tapestry.



Parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and have a huge influence on their development. We encourage parents to use the Tapestry learning journal to record significant moments for their child; whether they are applying their learning at home or engaging in something completely new. This sparks conversation between us and the children and helps us to learn more about the child and their interests outside of school.

We also encourage parents to support their child’s learning by reading with their children daily, working with them on their rainbow challenges and supporting them in learning their sounds and common exception words.

Parents are provided with a weekly newsletter giving details of the learning for the coming week and how they may be able to support and challenge their child. They have the opportunity to meet individually with their child’s class teacher twice a year during parent’s consultations to discuss where they are in their learning and how this can be further supported at home. At the end of the year, parents receive a report outlining whether their child is emerging or expected in all 17 areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile as well as a written summary of their child’s development through the year.