Welcome to Dartington C of E Academy! We are delighted that you are thinking of joining our school family in September and we would like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome you to our school.

At Dartington our vision is “Together We Grow, Together We Flourish’, and this underpins everything we do in our wonderful EYFS unit. We believe that all of our children are unique and aspire for them to live their life to the fullest.

Our children are safe and happy. They spend their days exploring, playing, talking, singing, problem solving and questioning as they investigate our fabulous free-flowing provision and our beautiful Dartington grounds. As we play together, the children develop a deep love of learning as well as the confidence and resilience to explore challenges. The children are taught by highly skilled and experienced staff, who care deeply about every child’s learning and development, creating a nurturing environment in which every child thrives.

How do we learn in EYFS

Most of our day is spent in child-initiated purposeful play. The children have access to our wonderful outdoor area as well as all three classrooms, where they can freely access resources which enable them to pursue their own interests and fascinations. Teachers spend their time playing with and observing the children so that we can provide them the opportunities to build on their next steps – this might be a playful challenge, an enhancement to the environment, an activity or a new learning experience. The children come together in classes or smaller groups each day for adult-led learning in Phonics, Maths, our topic and for story-time, sharing and songs. We have weekly PE sessions and regularly make the most of our school grounds to support our learning, whether we are playing parachute games on the field, picking apples in the orchard, or investigating the changing seasons in our woods.

We think you and your child will love our unit – have a look at our video to see for yourself a little more of what we get up to!


Your child will be entering the Reception Class, the first class in primary education following on from their Pre-school and Nursery education. Reception classes follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (EYFS) which supports the children to achieve Early Learning Goals by the end of their Reception year. Children spend one year in the Reception class before moving into Year 1 and entering the National Curriculum.   

All areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum are provided daily in both independent and adult supported learning experiences. These areas are:   

  • Personal Social and Emotional Development   
  • Communication and Language   
  • Physical Development   
  • Literacy   
  • Mathematics   
  • Understanding the World   
  • Expressive art and Design  


Starting school is an exciting new adventure for all children. We try to make it as easy as possible by arranging induction events so they are used to the staff when it comes to the big ‘first day’!   

There are many important things that you can do before your child starts school to prepare them.  

  • Encourage your child to dress themselves so that they feel confident to put their coats on and get changed for PE.  
  • Make sure they can find their names in their clothes and please make sure that all garments are labelled.  
  • As your child will be having a cooked lunch, ensure they are able to use a knife and fork independently.  
  • If they ever need to have a packed lunch, it is important to ensure your child knows how to open their lunch box and is aware of what is inside and how to open the wrappings. It is a good idea to pack the lunch alongside your child and not put too much food in.  
  • Make sure that they can use the toilet independently and understand how important it is to wash their hands after using it.


There will continue to be many ways that you can support your child in their learning once they have started school.  

We are keen to build a strong partnership between yourselves as parents and all the staff involved in the care of your child. We value the support that parents and families provide from home. It enriches your child’s learning and helps them achieve the best that they can.  

Your child will have an online, fully interactive learning journal provided by Tapestry which can be used as a means of sharing your child’s successes both at home and school. We will add observations of the children which will give you an insight into what they are learning at school and highlights your child’s learning and development throughout the Reception year. We love to hear how you are getting on with your learning at home and encourage parents to add comments and photos to the journal.  


The weekly class newsletter gives you information about what the children have been learning each week as well as future events and outlines their home learning.  We will also send a selection of books home, including non-fiction and library books, as well as reading books when they are ready.  We also link activities to what the children are learning and make them meaningful to the children and relevant to what they are doing in class.   


  • Share books together regularly. Help your child to choose exciting, attractive picture books. Make this time very special in a cosy atmosphere.  
  • Point out words all around you – look at signs in supermarkets, shops, on posters etc.  
  • Say nursery rhymes together.  
  • Help your child to recognise their name.  
  • Let your child see you enjoying various types of reading.  
  • Write things with your child and encourage them to read it back to you e.g. the writing of your shopping list etc.   
  • Share tape/CD stories and books.  
  • When looking at letters, focus on the sound they make rather than letter name.   


  • Show your child how to hold a book properly.  
  • Before reading the story, get a “feel” for the story by talking about the cover.  
  • Look at the illustrations and talk about them. This will help your child to understand what the story is all about.  
  • Let your child hold the book and turn the pages.  
  • Don’t worry about reading a story many times if you both enjoy it. This will help your child to remember the story and recognise some of the words.  
  • Allow your child to “read” the book to you by talking about the pictures.  
  • Read books with catchy rhymes.  
  • Reading exciting stories will encourage your child to find out what happens next. 


  • Help your child by giving lots of opportunities to draw, colour and experiment using all kinds of stationery and materials as this will aid your child’s enjoyment in the activity.   
  • Writing need not be sitting at a desk with pen and paper at such a young age but instead engaging with physical involvement of activities such as drawing on an outdoor floor with chalk or water.   
  • Offering a purpose for writing can also be a good motivator, for example, writing a letter to relatives or friends can be very exciting especially if your child receives a reply!   
  • Allow your child to experience writing unaided. This “writing” will normally only be mark making (lines and squiggles!) but your child will know what they have “written” and this should be valued.   
  • Encourage your child to tell you about their writing and be active in demonstrating the writing process. Mark making is the beginning of the writing process and can be made fun in a wide variety of ways using a bit of 
  • 3 imagination!  
  • It is important that good writing habits are established at an early stage. If your child wants to write their name then this is an excellent skill to promote in the lead up to starting school, however remember that the only capital letter should be the first letter.   
  • You can try and promote good, clear handwriting by teaching your child where each letter should start and finish. 


Mathematics is all around us and there are many things that you do during the day that can encourage your child to count, recognise numbers, measure and look at colours, shapes and patterns:  

  • Counting rhymes are great fun and contribute to other areas of learning.   
  • Spot numbers as you walk along e.g., door numbers and number plates.  
  • Who can count to the biggest number? Count the number of steps to the car, home, end of the road.   
  • Count apples when you buy them in the shop  
  • When out shopping ask children to think about which costs more and which costs less.   
  • Can you share the Lego bricks equally between your soft toys? Can you make sure teddy has more and doggy has less – tell me how you will do this?  
  • How many forks will we need to set the table? Will we need more, less or the same number of knives?   
  • Look for shapes all around the house and notice the patterns in material, wrapping paper etc.  
  • You could even practise writing numbers!   

How to apply for a Reception place?

So if your child was born between 1st September 2019 and 31st August 2020 and you are interested in applying for a Reception place at Dartington Church of England Academy please go to from 15th November 2023. to 15th January 2024. Please be aware that if your child already attends our Nursery you will still need to apply for a Reception place. For more information please do not hesitate to contact us on 01803 862357.