School Logo


Early Years

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.


At Vernham Dean Gillum’s Church of England Primary School in the Reception Year, the year in which the children turn 5, we follow the EYFS Profile.  Our class is called Willow and we learn in a happy and engaging indoor and outdoor environment. We like to engage with our local and wider community as much as possible to enrich the children’s learning and give them real life experiences. We plan our curriculum to cover the prime and specific areas mentioned below but where at all possible like to go with what the children’s interest are, there and then in the moment!


Early Years learning concentrates on 7 areas split between prime and specific areas of learning.

The prime areas of learning are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development


The specific areas of learning are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design


Learning through play is one of the key principles of Early Years education and we embrace this fully whilst providing structure and content through teacher lead activities and interventions.  Have a look at our Willow class page in our ‘Classes’ section of the website to see lots of our learning in action!


Teaching Phonics and Early Reading                                                                  
Here at Vernham Dean we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Systematic Synthetic Phonic Scheme to teach phonics.


Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a phonics’ scheme developed by schools for schools. Direct teaching is daily or twice daily dependent on need and is consistent across all classes in Year R/1/2 and then is adapted if necessary for KS2 children. Phonics is the foundation for all children to be able to read and write and so is a crucial part of our day to day teaching and learning in school.


Our reading books are all linked to support early reading and are fully decodable linked to the phonics that the children are learning. We use Big Cat phonics books linked to the scheme.