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Thomas Eaton

Primary Academy

All for Learning and Learning for All

About us

We benefit from having small class sizes in Early Years, giving teachers the opportunity to get to know their pupils extremely well; observe how they work and embrace their next steps in learning. Teachers get to know each child personally and make a positive contribution to their early development.


Learning in the Early Years is play based. There are untold benefits of child led learning including the development of intellectual skills, thinking and motivation. Play encourages language skills, supports pre-literacy skills, develops social and emotional skills and fosters creativity and imagination.


Children will also work in small groups to further develop number, mark making and writing, phonics, art, fine motor and speech and language skills.


Teachers plan to develop children’s curiosity and interest in learning and risk taking is encouraged to give children the opportunity to be resilient and brave learners. 


Our outdoor space is used throughout the year and the freedom of this learning environment sees language skills thrive and discovery and inquiry skills develop. 


Reading expectations.


Frequently sharing books with your child and talking about the main characters and sequence of events will support your child to develop their comprehension skills. Visiting the local library is a great way to find a wide variety of books that link to your child’s interests. Please ensure that you support your child to read their phonic book for at least ten minutes five times a week. After reading, please record an entry in their reading diary including the date, the name of the book and a signature from the adult who has read with them. You may also want to comment on whether your child enjoyed the book, if they found it easy or difficult, or use it as an opportunity to ask your child’s class teacher a question. The number of reads will be counted up at the end of every week, so it is important the children have their reading diary and their books with them each day. Whilst reading, encourage your child to point carefully to each of the words. Please ensure they are reading the words from left to right using their phonic knowledge to decode words. Remind children of everyday words (those that they cannot sound out but just have to know on sight) and encourage them to discuss what they have read.


Happy reading!

Home Learning Tips and Advice:



When listening to your child read, encourage them to point to each word as they say them, to help develop one to one correspondence. Encourage your child to use the pictures to help if they are stuck on a word and help them to sound out the word using the phonemes they have been learning in phonics. Remember to use 'pure' sounds for each phoneme, avoiding adding on 'uh' after each sound. For example, 's' is pronounced 'ssss' rather than 'suh' and 'm' is pronounced 'mmm' rather than 'muh'. If your child takes a while to read a sentence, reread it back to them before moving on to the next page (whilst pointing to each word), so that the meaning of what they have read is not lost or forgotten. After reading, ask your child to retell the events of the story and answer some comprehension questions. If your child is not enjoying the book or is struggling, leave the activity and come back to it later.

We want to develop a love of reading in our children, not for it to become a forced practise. Encourage your child to spot words on signs, around your house and in magazines, recipe books and newspapers. When you are reading a bedtime story, have your child look out for and count all the everyday words they can find, or have them search for a particular word on a page. 



When your child is completing a written task, e.g. writing a sentence, encourage them to first decide what they are going to write in full. Have them say this sentence out loud in their normal voice, a silly voice, a quiet voice and a loud voice. This repetition will help the order of the words stick in their mind when they come to write it down. Remind your child that a sentence must begin with a capital letter and that they should use finger spaces, a full stop at the end of the sentence and to try and keep their writing as close to the line as possible. Finally, after writing the sentence, have your child read the sentence back to ensure it makes sense. When your child is writing, allow them independence in sounding out words before writing them and encourage the use of phonics. Even if their spelling of a word is not technically correct, if it is phonetically plausible, allow this. For example, 'yoonikorn' would be an excellent attempt at 'unicorn' and one that we would celebrate in Reception for the use of the phonemes. Finally, encourage your child to form their letters correctly, starting in the correct place for each one (an example of this can be found below.



In maths, the emphasis is on developing a solid understanding of number and pattern and less on writing down numerals and number sentences. The principle of 'concrete, pictorial, abstract' representations of number is key to developing this understanding, with children first creating a concrete representation of a number through building a tower or model using the specific number of bricks/counters. Next, the children would then be encouraged to draw the number, creating a pictorial representation of four rabbits/four flowers/four cars etc. Finally, and only once the first two steps were completed, would the children be asked to write the abstract representation, in this case the numeral. Maths Mastery methods are an excellent way of helping your child to develop a strong understanding of number and pattern, focusing on talking about number and pattern, explaining how something is known and how the child came to the answer they did. In all maths based activities, ask your child 'how do you know?' after they tell you an answer.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning


The characteristics of effective learning are important learning behaviours that we support the children to develop throughout the Reception year. They are split into three categories:


Playing and Exploring - Engagement:

Can I do this?


Active Learning - Motivation:

Do I want to do this?


Below you will find a useful website to explore the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the importance of developing a growth mindset.


Creating and Thinking Critically - Thinking:

How do I do this? 


We can help children to become effective learners by playing with them, listening and responding to them, acting as a sound board, supporting them to pursue their own interests, inspiring them, modelling discovery learning and both guiding and supporting them.


The following website gives families ideas of activities as to how they can support their child from home too.


Learning to talk | 3 to 5 years | Start for Life (