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Our Reception (Early Years Foundation Stage - EYFS) Class at St Mark's: Willow Class


Children learn best when they feel safe, happy and healthy. We work to promote every child’s well-being through developing strong relationships and a class family where each person is valued and celebrated for who they are. We provide daily activities, including yoga, breathing and relaxation exercises, class discussions, sharing achievements and meditation stories to help all children to feel happy and safe. We share our learning intentions with the children every week to give them ownership of their education right from the start, and involve them in the decision making process for future learning.

Our learning environment is geared towards creativity, where children are able to explore using all the senses. This includes natural materials, loose parts and open-ended resources. Our beautiful school grounds allow for in-depth learning about the seasons and living things, promoting care for our immediate environment and the wider world.

EYFS Nature
EYFS Volcano

Our outdoor play area, newly refurbished in 2022, includes materials to mix, transport and make with, opportunities to explore physical potential and take risks, spaces to observe and look after living things, and plenty of natural objects and resources for children to develop their own ideas and projects. Indoors, we have music playing to promote children’s focus and to maintain an atmosphere of calm exploration and endeavour, with plenty of open-ended resources, excellent literature and opportunities to create, question and make links in their learning. The learning environment is a vital part of the Willow Class teaching team and we never stop working to improve our spaces for the children and their interests. 


Our daily timetable allows for long periods of uninterrupted child-led learning to allow the children the time and space they need to reach deeper level thinking. Teaching inputs, including the teaching of phonics, are delivered at the beginning and end of morning and afternoon sessions, with all remaining time devoted to the children’s play and exploration. During this time, we’re able to observe the learning that is happening and can respond quickly to developing ideas and projects, as well as giving regular 1:1 time to every child to maintain strong relationships and support their individual learning needs. Enrichment activities and experiences are inspired by a combination of the children’s interests, the natural world and the cultural bounty from all over the planet, and combine with our continuous provision to offer your child a joyous start to school life. 

We will use the online learning journal, Tapestry, to keep you informed of your child's learning journey through the Reception class.

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