Yellow Room – Year 1 / 2


During the two years that the children are in the Reception and Year 1 class, the children follow a curriculum which emphasises active learning through play and exploration. We recognise the importance of creativity and critical thinking in helping children to make sense of their environment and discover new and better ways of doing things. The children lead their own learning through child initiated play, using the resources provided. During this time the practitioners use their expertise to develop children’s ideas and encourage them to work together. Observations are made during this time to plan for the children’s next steps for learning. There is also time allocated each day for adult led learning tasks. This includes both whole class and small group activities. The teaching staff set up and lead activities designed to fulfill planned learning objectives and develop particular skills. Our outside learning environment allows for the flow of learning all year round.

Our Foundation Stage and Year 1 children learn together in one very large play based classroom with at least two adults, including a highly skilled foundation teacher and a very experienced foundation stage based learning support assistant.  Within the class there are a maximum of 30 children.

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage at Thurton Primary School begins in Reception. The children join us in the school year in which they turn 5 years old.

There is very high quality provision within our Reception class with an outstanding teacher and experienced teaching assistant. There are often visitors from other schools coming to see the physical environment both indoor and outdoor, as well as the quality of the teaching and learning that the children have the opportunity to engage within. We believe that if children have a solid and inspirational start to their education, they will develop learning behaviours that they can build on because of these solid foundations.

From the outset Early Years learning challenges children and encourages them to develop into independent motivated learners and thinkers, full of curiosity about the world around them, within a happy and secure environment. Children mostly choose between indoor and outdoor activities according to personal interests with additional ongoing adult focus groups led by the classroom teacher and teaching assistant.

The Early Years Foundation Stage children share the outdoor learning environment with the Year 1 and 2 children who help them settle into school quickly. The children work on seven areas of learning throughout the year:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Reading and Phonics

Throughout the school we have a comprehensive school system to teach reading and phonics based on the nationally recommended scheme of Letters and Sounds. All the books in the infant library are book banded, these include quality picture and chapter books as well as a range of schemes. At the beginning of each year the teachers have reading meetings that all parents are invited to attend to ensure that they have an up to date understanding of how to support school through home learning with reading and phonics.

The children have two guided reading sessions every week, as soon as they are ready, to further develop their understanding of reading and books.  During the guided reading session the children will work in a small group with an adult on specific learning objectives linked to decoding the words and understanding the text. They will also take part in a daily phonics session to support the development of reading, writing, spelling and handwriting.


The curriculum in this class is both developed using the interests of the children and also adult led using the national curriculum as a guide. Thurton is a very story and language rich environment.

A flavour of some of the areas that children have inspired us to look at and we that have been covered in the past are:

  • Toys
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Fireworks and Festivals
  • People Who Help Us
  • Pirates
  • Dinosaurs
  • Traditional Tales
  • Africa
  • Wonderful Water!
  • All About Me
  • On the Farm

Learning, playing, children and adults

Young children are powerful learners, reaching out into the world and making sense of their experiences with other people, objects and events. As they explore and learn, children are naturally drawn to play. Play is recognised as so important to their well-being and development that the right to play is set down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and play is a fundamental commitment within the Early Years Foundation Stage.

How play and learning are related, however, is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. There is a significant body of knowledge showing that many forms of play help children to learn and to become confident learners for the future. Research also shows that a skilled adult who interacts with children in particular ways to enhance their learning is a crucial ingredient in children making good progress.


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