The Core

I’ve been thinking all day about what is at the core of the Reception year, ever since I woke up this morning and read in an Ofsted report that they think that the core of Reception is reading. Lots of us knew this report was coming: EYFS is a key focus of policy makers and government at the moment, what with the 30 hours offer and the baseline. I tried not to over react to the report, to give it a chance, and to be fair there are lots of good things in there, but I found myself coming out of the experience of reading it feeling depressed. So, instead of spending the morning on Twitter, ranting about how everything was terrible in the world, I decided to post a question and then go across to the allotments to have a think about what I actually thought myself. I’ve got a bit of allotment that me and the kid have been digging over together, ready for preschool to use and I felt like I needed a bit of physical development. Anyway, here’s the question I asked before I headed over to do the weeding. The answers make for reassuring reading.

The thing about the Reception year is that it is special. Each year is special, of course, but this particular year is the moment when a child is usually received from their parents and into a school. Into the place where they will spend a lot of years (unless you home educate them, of course). These days the boundaries are blurred a bit, because more schools are taking children in earlier, but the majority of early years provision is still PVI (private, voluntary and independent). As a parent, Reception marks a kind of stepping away – a time when you and your child separate just that little bit more than you did before. It’s a bittersweet moment. Anyway, from my experience the complexity of all the things that are at the core of early child development at this stage is pretty mind blowing. You’ve got speaking, and listening, and moving, and balancing, and grabbing, and twisting, and skipping, and focusing, and exploring, and going to the loo by yourself, and sitting still, and reading, and counting, and being confident, and finding out new things, and making new friends, and understanding how to control your emotions, and playing, and playing, and playing, and far too many things for me to possibly reduce into one single idea. So I’ve figured out what I think has to be at the core of the Reception year. It’s simple in the end. It’s not about what we put into an EYFS curriculum. It’s about the care and development of each four year old child.

This entry was posted in EYFS. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Core

  1. Sue, I agree, the Reception year is an early ‘Rights of Passage’ for pupils and parents alike and for this, and many other reasons, it is vital that the experience is good for children, turns them, full blast, on to the wonder of learning and education – building on their pre school experience. The report appears to stipulate what the system needs more than putting the learning and development needs of children first. Voice has long advocated raising the starting age of formal schooling, in the best interest of the child. Such a move better fits the learning and developmental needs of young children and, possibly, a system approach although pupil teaching and learning needs rather than system needs should always take precedence. This is something we believe and is preferable to forcing square pegs into round holes and failing to consider the developmental age and stage of individual children. Children are not widgets, they are all individual and that individuality should be celebrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mike2all says:

    If I was to return to reception now (assuming the chairs were large enough), I would want to feel that I was part of a warm adventure and a new family. I would want a teacher to care about me and my fellow travellers. I would want the school to help us to care about each other. One good deed deserves…


  3. Ellie says:

    I think OFSTED are more right about this than anything in the past few years.
    The transition to Y1 is traumatic for most, and even more so if they are unable to read/write simple sentences. It puts them at a worse disadvantage (as I work in an inner-london school).

    Phonics should be taught every day, and reading should happen for half an hour every day. This is starting with phase 1 and 2 in Nursery, and 2 and 3 in YR, ending with phase 3, 4 and 5 in Y1.

    No-one is removing the ‘play’. And what is ‘play’ to most teachers? Every day in our YR there is story time. Every day the children choose their learning. Every day there is laughter, rhymes, songs and structure.
    This is the best way we can support these children who do not get the support at home.

    Otherwise when they start having to reach national curriculum goals, they’re at least a year behind others.
    It is a shame when children leave reception being unable to read books that they could do, if they had been given the chance to.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.