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Otters (Reception)

Otter (Lutra lutra) - British Mammals - Woodland Trust
Photo credit: Woodland Trust

Reception – Spring Curriculum Overview

Our topics this term will be Frozen World in the first half term and Ready, Steady, Grow! in the second.

In the first half term, we will learn about winter and the changes in the weather and our environment. We will also look at cold areas in the world, particularly Antarctica and the wildlife that lives there. This will be complemented by the wonderful text ‘Blue Penguin’ by Petr Horacek, animations, and the traditional tale ‘The Snow Queen’.

After half term, our topic will become ‘Ready, Steady, Grow’. In this unit, the children will learn about plants and the natural world around them. The children learn about different types of plant and how they thrive, and will have opportunities to explore growing and caring for plants. The children will read books such as ‘Ten Seeds’ by Ruth Brown, ‘Errol’s Garden’ by Gillian Hibbs, and the traditional tale ‘The Gigantic Turnip’. We will also begin thinking about how the weather is changing and begin to learn about Spring.

Alongside adult led teaching and small group tasks, the children will take part in two sessions during the day where they can choose the areas they want to explore. They will have access to a variety of provision and resources, which will be changed regularly to reflect our learning and the children’s interests. There are multiple areas including arts and craft, writing, a home corner, maths and puzzles, sand and water, sensory play and construction. Adults are present to support the children in their play and learning. 





Teaching and Learning

Parental Involvement

Physical Development

Fine/gross motor

  • To develop fine motor control.  
  • To hold pencil effectively with comfortable grip and form recognisable letters.
  • To cut along a curved line, like a circle and zigzag lines. 
  • To climb, balance, jump and land safely.


  • Children explore basic movements, creating and holding different shapes and balances, jumps and rolls. They begin to develop an awareness of space, levels and directions. They copy, create, remember and repeat short sequences.

Ball skills and games

  • Children will develop fundamental ball skills such as throwing and catching, rolling a ball, using targets, dribbling with feet, kicking a ball, bouncing and catching a ball.


  • Children will have opportunities to explore different movements such as spin, rock, tilt, fall, slide and bounce.

Continue to provide opportunities for children to strengthen their hand muscles at home:

threading, cutting, weaving, playdough, kneading bread, rolling biscuit dough etc.


Where, possible give children opportunities to move their bodies in different ways such as: dancing together, balancing and jumping at the park, playing ball games using a ball of socks!


  • To continue to develop their subitising skills for numbers within and beyond 5, and increasingly connecting quantities to numerals.
  • To begin to identify missing parts for numbers within 5.
  • To explore the structure of the numbers 6 and 7 as ‘5 and a bit’.
  • To focus on equal and unequal groups when comparing numbers.
  • To understand that two equal groups can be called a ‘double’ and connecting this to finger patterns.
  • To sort odd and even numbers.
  • To order numbers and play track games. 
  • To confidently count to 10 and joining in with verbal counts beyond 20.
  • To compare objects based on their length, mass or capacity.

Play board games with your child, such as snakes and ladders. Children will recognise the number of dots on the dice and be able to practice 1:1 counting as they move their counters.

When sharing toys or sweets, talk about being fair or equal when you have the same number. Use the language of more than, less than and fewer than.

Literacy including phonics


  • To read, segment and write words using Phase 2 and 3 graphemes
  • To read and write Phase 3 tricky words: was, you, they, my, by, all, are, sure, pure.     


  • To use a range of small tools competently and confidently, including a strong tripod grip 
  • To develop the foundations of a handwriting style which is fast, accurate and efficient 
  • To develop letter formation using Little Wandle mantras. 

Sentence construction and grammatical accuracy 

  • To sequence stories.
  • To write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others, using taught Phase 2 and 3 graphemes.
  • To begin to use finger spaces, capital letters and full stops.
  • To write for different purposes, including captions, lists, speech bubbles and information.
  • To write Phase 2 and some Phase 3 tricky words such as I, me, my, like, to, the.


  • To discuss words or ideas linked to texts children have been learning about.
  • To verbalise ideas in well-structured sentences. 
  • To retell stories in reading/ writing area.
  • To use full sentences orally as part of everyday play.
    • Please listen to your child read at least 3 times per week. Children who read regularly at home make the most progress, not just in reading, but right across the curriculum. Please ask if us if you need any support, we are happy to help.
    • Use the Little Wandle website to access resources and videos to help you pronounce the phonemes (sounds) we are learning:

Little Wandle Parent Resources

    • Provide your children with pens, chalk, pencils to encourage mark making and writing.
    • Help children to practice writing letters with the correct formation. Please refer to the letter formation videos on our website.
    • Writing ideas – shopping lists, birthday lists, labelling things around the house, writing about their day/weekend/and event, writing about their own drawings.


Understanding the World

  • To learn about the Lunar New Year and when, where, how and why it is celebrated. 
  • To learn how Easter is celebrated and talk about signs of new life.  
  • To explore festivals and family traditions from different cultures including Easter, Holi and Eid. To compare and contrast celebrations to our home traditions. 
  • To observe seasonal changes in the winter/spring.
  • To compare and contrast our environment with polar regions and find them on a map.
  • To know how polar animals protect themselves from the cold,
  • To learn what a plant needs to grow. 
  • To learn about the life/experiences of polar explorers. 
  • To compare the modes of transport 20th century explorers used compared to today. 
  • To document changes in growth over time. 
  • Look at maps of the world or Google Earth. Talk about where the UK is, where the cold areas are and the warmer areas nearer the equator. If you have family living abroad or are going on holiday, show them where it is on a map.
  • CBeebies have a fantastic selection of clips about nature and the world around us called ‘Our Planet’ which would be great to watch together BBC Our Planet
  • Notice seasonal changes outside i.e., “It gets dark early now because it is winter”, “Look at the buds on the tree, Spring is coming”.
  • Talk about time using terms such as ‘in the past’, ‘yesterday’, ‘in the future’, ‘next month’ etc.


Expressive Arts and Design

  • To make child led collages using mixed media.
  • To make landscape collages inspired by Megan Coyle.
  • To explore malleable materials and their properties. 
  • To make a 3D clay sculpture.
  • To explore fruits and the differences between them.
  • To design and make a fruit kebab.
  • To safely use tools, follow instructions and prepare ingredients.
  • To design and make hanging decorations 
  • To learn about beat, pitch and timbre in Music.

Where possible, provide opportunities for children to create at home. Provide old newspapers and magazines for children to tear up or cut and stick into collages.

Use playdough to create sculptures.

Involve children in making food together. Allow them to help prepare food before cooking or make fruit salads and baked goods together.

When listening to music, talk about how fast or slow it is. What kinds of sounds can they hear? Is it high pitch or low pitch?


  • Please send a named water bottle in every day. 
  • PE is on Thursdays. Children will change at school. PE kits can remain in school until half term. Please make sure all the children’s uniform is named as they can get a bit muddled when the children are changing!
  • In Early Years, children will be spending lots of time outdoors in all weathers. Please provide children with a pair of named wellies to keep in school and send them in with a waterproof jacket. They will need wellies to access our mud kitchen and water area outside too.
  • Library books will be changed every Friday. 
  • Reading books and reading records need to be in school every day. Reading books will be collected in on Wednesdays to be changed and re-issued to you on Thursday.
  • Any questions – please, please ask!