Welcome to Reception September 2020 to July 2021

A very warm welcome from the Early Years Team – Ms Pemberton (formally Mrs Theo) our Class teacher, Mrs Gymer our Nursery Nurse and Mrs Steff, our Learning Support Assistant.

This is the year that your child becomes ‘school-ready’; developing their independence, confidence, resilience and curiosity. It’s an exciting time, for children and parents, as their school career begins.

This year due to the national health pandemic and current government guidelines, we are unable to offer our normal rich Reception transition programme. However this this term Ms Pemberton will be in contact with you by telephone and then you will receive an email with important transition information and a questionnaire for you to fill in and return to the school. As we are not able to make home visits or school visits this term, we shall be scheduling transition activities to take place in September with a view to children starting full time at the beginning of October. This may change in the light of updated government  guidelines. Please be assured that we will contact as soon as we have definite dates arranged.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the school office via  admin@popepaul.herts.sch.uk or Ms Pemberton via  yearR@popepaul.herts.sch.uk if you have any queries. We look forward to welcoming you to our Pope Paul School community.

Reception Uniform to be worn from September

Boys & Girls
• Navy logo jogging trousers **
• Yellow polo shirt *
• Navy logo sweatshirt *
• Black shoes (Sensible)
• Plain socks
• Optional – Navy logo Fleece Jacket*

Reception Summer Uniform to be worn from May

• Navy blue shorts* or skort*

• Yellow polo shirt *

Reception PE Kit (both boys & girls)

• T-shirt with school logo * in your House colour
• Plimsolls (Not trainers, which are only for juniors)

Items marked * may only be purchased at our uniform suppliers
(Smarty Schoolwear, located in Hatfield or Smiths Schoolwear, at Cockfosters.)

What will my child do in Reception?

This year your child will continue to learn by doing things for themselves, by exploring and investigating, watching and listening, talking and discussing, creating and communicating — in other words — playing. Play is children’s work and playing hard is very tiring! Your child may be really exhausted and perhaps a bit grumpy when they come home! If they don’t want to talk about their day straight away, don’t worry, they will gradually let you into their new world as time goes by. Play can also be very messy as your child will be learning both inside the classroom with sand, water, paint, but also in the outdoors with mud, leaves etc. so you can expect some mucky clothes at the end of the day!

All children in Reception follow a curriculum called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and this is broken down into 3 prime aspects and 4 specific areas of learning.

Personal, social and emotional development

One of the prime aspects of your child’s first year at school will be a focus on their personal, social and emotional development, and we will be aiming to give them a good start to their school experience by helping them form positive relationships, build confidence and self-awareness, as well as manage their feelings and behaviour.

Physical development

Physical development is important too: you will hopefully notice that they are starting to move more confidently and to understand how to look after themselves and be healthy.


The final prime area this year is communication. Children learn through speaking and listening first and foremost, and this year you may notice your child communicating in a variety of ways at school — for example, through stories, in conversations with adults and their friends, or through facial expression, movement or dance.

For the specific areas of learning, your child will learn the basics of literacy — reading, writing and phonics. Many parents are daunted by phonics, but there’s no need to be! At Pope Paul School, we follow the government’s program ‘Letters and Sounds, covering 44 phonics sounds and 18 diagraphs (two letters making one sound — sh, ch, th, qu, ng, ai, ee, ie, oa, oo/oo, or, er, ow, oi) to read and spell words. Don’t worry — the scheme progresses gradually, and you will be given lots of helpful advice along the way! In maths, Reception class cover numbers, simple sums, shapes, spaces and simple measuring.

Children learn about the world, too, exploring different people and communities, and how we can use different forms of technology in our learning. Finally, imagination and creativity are championed in the area of expressive arts. Your child will explore different media and materials and be encouraged to use their imagination in a range of different experiences.

The key thing to remember here is that your child learns holistically. In other words, most of the time they will be learning all seven areas of learning together, in a fairly jumbled way. So if your child spends most of his time in the sand area there’s no need for concern! They may well be covering all kinds of important learning; working with different materials shapes, quantity and volume, creating imaginative worlds, feeling different textures, and even developing motor skills and strength for writing!

Please click on the links below for more information about the Early Years curriculum- ‘Development Matters’ and ‘Letters and Sounds’

How can I help my child in Reception?

Talking and listening

Two-way communication is really important for Reception children — not to mention their anxious parents! If you have any worries or concerns do please let the staff know about them. By talking concerns through together you can all benefit and learn more about your child.

Your child will be informally observed throughout their time in Reception and the teachers will use the observations to assess your child’s learning. These observations are added to your child’s online Learning Journey on Tapestry and are shared with you. We encourage you as parents to do this too, by making simple informal observations at home, and uploading them your child’s Tapestry account.

A Tapestry parents guide is available below.

Read, read, read

Read to your child and encourage them to read to you. Read anything and everything, not just the reading scheme books sent home. Real books, with pictures, rhyme and enjoyable stories are crucial here. Try to encourage your child to talk about the pictures, or to make predictions about what will happen next. It’s most important for your child to enjoy reading above all, so try to relax, and stop when either of you begins to feel pressured or anxious.

Encourage your child to recognise and read print when you are out shopping, on the bus or at the park.

Help with phonics

Talk to your child about individual letters (especially the letters in their name) and their sounds. Singing songs and nursery rhymes really helps them to find out more about letters and sounds. Play I-spy when you go out (using the sound the letter makes, rather than its name).

Talk numbers

For maths, there are all sorts of ways to encourage number recognition. Try to involve your child in using numbers at home by singing number rhymes and songs or by encouraging them to recognise and read numbers when you are in the car. When shopping, ask them to select the number of apples or bananas you need — they’re helping you out, and learning at the same time.

Getting dressed independently

And finally, (and on a more practical note!), it is really useful if you can encourage your child can have a go at dressing themselves at home, so that they can do it independently during the day. (Jumpers, coats, shoes, hats, scarves and gloves)

Our ‘Welcome to Reception’ link below, has information about our class routines and things you need to know to make your child’s transition into Reception as smooth as possible.

Reception Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
All About MeFestivals and CelebrationsTraditional Fairy TalesSpring and GrowingSuperheroes
Mini-beasts and
the Hidden World in Our Garden

Transition into Y1

Settling in to my new school
My family
Important places
Growing up
Bonfire Night
Birth of Jesus
The Three Little Pigs
Goldlilocks and The Three Bears
The Little Red Hen
The Enormous Turnip
World Book Day
Life cycles
Our bodies
British Science Week
Creating a superhero headquarters
Superhero missions
Looking after a dinosaur egg
Trapping a dinosaur!
History of dinosaurs
Pirate adventures!
Who lives in our garden?
Exploring the world of mini-beats and other creatures that live in our garden.
Life cycles
Bug habitats
Bug hotels
Ugly Bug Ball

Please note that the above topics are subject to change. The children’s own preference and ideas may lead new topics to develop over the course of the year.