Early years

10 top tips for starting school

With over 2,000 children due to start school in Portsmouth in September, local teachers and pre-school staff have developed ’10 top tips for starting school’ for parents and carers to help their children to develop key skills over the summer, ready for year R in September.


10 top tips for starting school

  • I am independent – I can go to the toilet, wash my hands and blow my nose all on my own. I can eat my packed lunch by myself, even undoing the wrappers! And I can put on my own coat and do it up
  • I can run, jump, climb and move around confidently
  • I can confidently communicate and make my needs known to other people
  • I can join in with activities and sing rhymes and songs
  • I can listen and take turns in a conversation
  • I can share books and talk about the pictures and storylines
  • I can draw and make marks with pencils, crayons and pens and use scissors safely
  • I can concentrate on something that interests me and carry out an activity
  • I can take turns and share with other people
  • I am excited, curious and enthusiastic about learning in my new school!

Information for parents and carers about how to help their child with each skill can be found at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/startschooltips.

Early Years

Our aim in Year R is to provide a happy, caring and safe environment which stimulates children’s natural curiosity and allows them to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding.

Our children lead our choice of topic for each half-term.  Our current topic can be found in the latest Early Years Newsletter (click on the link below).  Past topics have included; Space, Pirates and Mermaids, Ready Steady Cook and Animals.  We follow the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and use the Letter and Sounds program in our teaching of phonics.  The EYFS has seven areas of learning: Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design.  We make sure our children have a range of experiences covering all areas of learning by providing a well-planned, balanced, adult–led and child-initiated curriculum.

We believe that every child should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development.  These are often the most memorable learning experiences which can be remembered for a lifetime; helping them make sense and explore the world around them.  Our child-led topics are carefully planned to enhance learning across a wide variety of environments and provide a multitude of experiences and play a key in skill transference, problem solving and a lifelong love of learning.  At St Swithun’s as well as fantastic facilities indoors like our Apollo suite, music room, library and the hall we have some fantastic outdoor spaces: outdoor role play hut, playtrail, writing shed, mud kitchen, squirrel hide, sand and water areas, painting easels, climbing equipment, bikes, trikes, scooters, and a flower and vegetable garden!  To see photos and videos of our learning environment click here https://stswithunscatholicprimaryschool.co.uk/reception-2021/

Please click on the links below to read our termly Newsletters.

Please click on the link below to see our curriculum maps

Autumn Term 1 2021

Autumn Term 2 2021

Spring Term 1 2022

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