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Early Years Foundation Stage - About Us

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What is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?

The foundation stage is where our youngest children start their school journey.

This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. Up until the age of 5, their early years should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.

Hillside foundation Stage is a purpose built environment specifically designed to provide high quality learning for 2.5 – 5 year olds in our Nursery and Reception classrooms.
We promote learning through play and experiences. Play is an integral part of EYFS. Children are given lots of opportunities to initiate, investigate and develop their own play, ideas and thinking both inside and outside.

If your child is joining our Nursery or Reception classes in September 2020, we have put together extra information and videos to support your child’s transition. Click here to view.

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Benefits of a our Foundation Stage

  • To offer outstanding provision for children in Early Years Foundation Stage.
  • To enable well-being and early learning to be nurtured within our Hillside family.
  • Children are taught by specialist adults trained to teach in Early Years Foundation Stage.
  • Children work in small groups to enable staff to get to know them really well.
  • Parents get to know school staff well and build up a crucial relationship.
  • Time is given to following and extending children’s interests and fascinations through Independent Learning.
  • Child development and Characteristics of Effective Learning (how children learn) are at the heart of our practice and are observed and celebrated.
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  • Hillside Nursery and Reception are purpose built environments specifically designed to provide high-quality learning for 2.5-5 year-olds.
  • Our classrooms and outdoor spaces are set up to promote learning through play and experiences. Play is an integral part of EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage). Children are given lots of opportunities to initiate, investigate and develop their own play, ideas and thinking within the 7 areas of learning inside and outside.
  • We spend time together playing and exploring, sharing ideas for learning, developing language and vocabulary, talking and listening and developing children’s awe and wonder for the world around them
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Foundation Stage Organisation

Upon entering Foundation, children will be allocated a Key Person. A Key Person (the class teacher or Early Years Practitioner) has responsibility for the children in their key group. This includes your child’s education but also their safety and wellbeing. Although the teachers take overall responsibility for your child’s academic progress, their Key Person will also be very involved in their development.

Families should share any important information with their child’s Key Person at the start of the day, such as any issues that may affect the child’s day. They will also be your first port of call for any problems or queries.

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Values in the Early Years

Hillside is a Values Based School and has a set of core values that help us develop our skills in learning and behaviour. In Reception and Nursery, children and adults showcase the values and develop strong and authentic relationships based on mutual respect. This makes the ethos in our learning environments harmonious, collaborative and happy.

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Teaching Reading in the Early Years

Language acquisition and promoting a love of reading is a priority at Hillside. We teach phonics in a systematic way through a scheme called “Read, Write, Inc”. From Nursery, children are introduced to letter shapes and corresponding sounds and blending sounds through “Fred Talk” Throughout the Early Years and moving in to Year 1 children are taught synthetic phonics in a repetitive and structured way. Children become readers, writers and great communicators.

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Hillside Nursery

  • Hillside Nursery has 26 morning and afternoon spaces. Children from 2.5 – 4 years attend Nursery.
  • Enquiries for admission to Nursery are made directly through the School.
  • We work a Key group system where children are in groups of 13 children.
  • We accept applications from 2 year funded children and also 30 hour funded (payment is needed to cover lunch) Payment can also be made to purchase a nursery place for a child who is a rising 3.
  • A Nursery session comprises of small adult led group sessions and longer periods of Independent Learning when children can follow their own interests and fascinations. We promote language and communication development, social and emotional growth and building physical dexterity and independence.
  • Relationships and happiness are key to the ethos in Nursery and Reception.
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Moving from Nursery to Reception

Gaining a place at Hillside Nursery DOES NOT automatically guarantee a place in Reception.  Parents are responsible for registering their child with Wokingham Borough Council for admission to the school as a Reception child.

Places for Reception are not allocated on a first come first served basis but are determined by Wokingham Borough Council admissions.

Click here to view our Admissions page.

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Observations are made of the children using ipads to document their learning. These will be shared with you termly via email, so please ensure the school has your current email address. We welcome any observations from home that you would like to share.

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Support in Early Years

If you have some free time that you would like to spend helping in school, do let your child’s Key Person know. We always appreciate volunteers who can read with children, play a game or share a special skill!

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First Aid

We have trained paediatric First-Aiders in our Reception and Nursery at all times.

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Parent Meetings and sharing information

During the Autumn Term, parents will be invited to a meeting to discuss how well their child has settled in at Hillside and the progress they are making.
In the Spring Term, parents are invited to a second parent meeting to discuss their child’s continued learning and development and discuss targets for future learning.
In the Summer Term, Reception  parents receive a written report outlining their child’s learning and progression of skills in all areas of learning and a comment on their character. It also states whether their child has reached expected levels in all areas of learning.
Throughout the year, parents are invited to workshops to find out how their child learns and how parents can support their child at home.

Weekly newsletters outline the learning that has taken place in school during the week and gives ideas for home learning for the next week.

We also share learning and news via our Nursery and Reception Twitter pages.

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Admission Arrangements
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