top of page

Welcome to Seahorses Class
We're delighted that you are considering our school for your child in September 2023
We hope that the information on this page, and elsewhere on our website, will help your decision making


‘For further details about admissions, including in-year applications and appeals,
please see the Tarka Learning Partnership website - School Admissions - Tarka Trust.

Learning Through Play

Play helps young children to learn and develop their physical, social, emotional and intellectual skills through doing and talking, which research has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think. It is also how they learn to socialise, as children engage in learning experiences with other children and adults.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a play based framework that childcare providers use as a tool to ensure that children from birth to five years are developing and learning to their full potential.

We plan and provide a range of play activities, which help children to make progress in each of the following areas of learning and development:

Prime Areas

Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.


Specific Areas

Literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about nature, people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Phonics in Reception

As the children enter Seahorses we immediately start teaching Letters and Sounds using the Read, Write Inc. approach. After initial assessments, children are grouped initially according to their fine motor control within our phonics activities and throughout the term this changes to grouping by reading and writing ability.

Using kinaesthetic experiences (using play dough, shaving foam, sand writing etc.) children start to begin to copy the graphemes within the Read, Write Inc. programme. Some activities are practical and some are within a writing book, practising fine motor skills, pencil control and writing on lines. In addition to daily phonics sessions, there are planned opportunities for children to practise phonics and writing within the continuous provision e.g. phonics table, phonics shop.

Working with a Teaching Assistant some children have interventions for phonics and fine motor skills when this is required. This is adapted on a regular basis to suit the needs of the children.


Reading in Seahorses Class

We teach Seahorses children to read by first teaching a systematic and progressive phonics (sounds) programme. We use the Read, Write Inc. approach to provide a thorough foundation for reading and writing.

Read, Write Inc. teaches the letter sounds in an enjoyable, multisensory way and enables children to use their knowledge to read and write.

The five basic skills for reading and writing are:

1. Learning the letter sounds
2. Learning how to form letters
3. Blending sounds
4. Segmenting sounds in words
5. Spelling ‘red’ words (i.e. phonetically irregular)

Parental support is very important to all children as they all benefit from plenty of praise and encouragement, so your role is hugely important. Children will ‘play’ at reading, finding their own way through a book, learning that a book means something and is to be enjoyed. Our philosophy is to prompt enjoyment in reading. We prefer to let children learn this vital skill at their own pace rather than push them to finish a book and move on, or up, to the next book or level. It is about understanding the story, making sense of the pictures, understanding and developing an ever widening vocabulary and, above all, about enjoyment and developing as a reader.

Children learn to read at different rates. They are all individuals and their reading is assessed individually to identify what they need. When reading with your child, choose a happy, relaxed and quiet time. Make it a special time for the pair of you, without interruptions. This enhances your child’s self esteem; it makes them and their reading feel important. Try not to force your child to read if they are watching their favourite television programme or if you or they are too tired. We expect children to read regularly at home and ask parents to write in their reading diaries regularly. Please look on the school website under the ‘Phonics’ section for more support and guidance.



We support children in forming their letters correctly. It is very important that a child holds their pencil in the correct way and we recommend that the pencil should be held in the ‘tripod’ grip between the thumb and the first two fingers. The grip is the same for both left and right handed children. 9 We may suggest you complete fun activities that you and your children can do together at home. Your help at home in reinforcing the work we do at school will be invaluable. Your child’s progress will be greatly accelerated when we work together in partnership.

Helping your child to read and write

  • Have daily ‘reading time’ together

  • Ask them to write a shopping list & write notes to each other

  • Look for familiar letters and sounds

  • Read stories to them as often as you can and let them see you enjoy reading too

  • Talk about the book you are reading together and enjoy the illustrations

  • Make your own books together - places you have been & things you have seen

  • Practise mark making in different ways e.g. using chalks, writing in the sand, in mud

  • Show you are proud of your child’s writing – put it on the wall and show friends and family

  • Relax and enjoy your child’s writing –
    whatever stage they are at

Mathematics in Reception

In Seahorses, a wide range of activities will support the teaching and learning of mathematics. These are just some of the activities your child may experience to help them learn about numbers:

  • Observation of number and pattern in the environment
    and daily routines.

  • Board games.

  • Large and small construction.

  • Stories, songs, rhymes and finger games.

  • Sand and water.

  • Two- and three-dimensional work with a range of materials. Imaginative play.

  • Cooking and shopping.

  • Outdoor play and playground games.

Learning through play is how our children learn, so we will endeavour to give them a wide range of opportunities to help them to develop their independence and ability to concentrate. These will include activities such as: Listening in small groups. Finding and using the equipment they need. Playing games, for example, becoming familiar with the repetitive structure of throwing dice and collecting objects.


To make sure that the children experience a wide range of activities, Maths in Seahorses will be planned using a mixture of the following:

  • Some direct teaching.

  • Work as a whole class, in groups, and as pairs or individuals.

  • Developing an understanding of the number system through counting in various contexts.

  • Having opportunities to talk about mathematical ideas.

  • Exploring those ideas through well-planned play and practical work.

Helping your child to use and enjoy numbers

  • Watch out for numbers on cars, buses, doors

  • Put things in order of 1st , 2nd 3rd

  • Play games together - cards and dominoes can be great fun

  • Spot the shapes in buildings - circles, squares triangles and rectangles are everywhere

  • Let them share out sweets, biscuits and other everyday objects Compare height, weight - taller than heavier than

Online Learning Journey

We will observe your child to assess how they are learning and developing. We will use this information, along with evidence from photographs, videos and work samples, to document their progress and where this might be leading them. We use an online learning journey and this sends a link to your email address with a hyperlink to access your child’s recent observation. This system enables you to make a comment on your child’s learning and even create your own observations with exciting things they are doing at home. We will also update you regularly through informal discussions and regular written reports.


Helping your child get ready for school

  • Teach them to use the toilet independently and wash and dry their hands afterwards

  • Help them sit still at meal times and use a knife and fork. Put their empty plate on the worktop

  • Encourage them to learn how to hang up their coat or apron.

  • Teach them to dress and undress themselves, putting their clothes into a PE bag.

  • Help them to learn how to use a handkerchief or tissue to wipe or blow their nose and put it in the bin.

  • Teach them to tidy away their toys when finished playing with them.

  • Encourage them to put on their own coat and begin to zip it up.

  • Teach them to look after their own belongings e.g. put a letter in a book bag and carry it themselves

bottom of page