At HPS we believe passionately that young children learn best when they have a balance of direct and group teaching sandwiched between large chunks of carefully planned, open-ended play. We use the '3-M's' (Mathematics, Mark-Making and Making Conversation) in all our interactions, using our knowledge of your child's next steps to help them make progress. This area of the website aims to provide you with information whilst also providing some simple ideas and resources to support your child at home.

Our EYFS pedagogy:

At Honiton Primary School, our early years pedagogy refers to the principles and practices that guide the education and care of our children from when they join us in nursery, to when they leave us at the end of reception. It is a crucial stage in your child’s development, as it lays the foundation for their future learning and success. Our early years curriculum is designed to support our children's social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. It provides opportunities for our children to explore, play, and learn through a range of activities that are developmentally appropriate and engaging.


One of the key principles of our early years pedagogy is that children learn best through play. Play-based learning is essential in the early years, as it allows children to explore and experiment with their environment, develop their creativity, explore social interactions and build their confidence. Play-based learning can take many forms, from imaginative play to physical play, supported by skilled practitioners who can guide and scaffold children's learning using, 'The 3'M' approach to child / adult interactions.


Another important principle of our early years pedagogy is that learning should be child-centred. This means that our team focuses on the individual needs and interests of each child, and provides opportunities for them to learn at their own pace and in their own way. We also work closely in partnership with parents and carers to ensure that children's learning is supported not only at school, but also regularly at home. 


Overall, we believe that early years pedagogy should be based on a holistic approach to children's development, which recognises the importance of supporting children's social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development through play-based learning and child-centred practice. By providing a high-quality early years education, we can give our children the best possible start in life and help them to achieve their full potential as they begin their learning journey at Honiton Primary School.

But all they do is play? What do they actually learn?!

What is a Good Level of Development? (GLD)

The term "good level of development" is often used in the context of early years education and refers to the level of development that children are expected to achieve by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in the UK. The EYFS is a framework that sets standards for the learning, development, and care of children from birth to five years old.


A good level of development means that children have achieved the expected level of development across all areas of learning in the EYFS. These areas include: communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development, literacy, and mathematics. To achieve a good level of development, children need to make progress in each of these areas throughout the EYFS. This progress is assessed through a range of observations, assessments, and activities carried out by practitioners in the early years setting. By the end of the reception, children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which are the expected levels of development in each of the areas of learning.


A good level of development is an important indicator of a child's readiness for the next stage of their education. It shows that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to progress to Key Stage 1, where they will continue to build on their learning and development.

Phonics and Early Reading (Little Wandle)

The early stages of learning to read are so important for your child’s development. We want you as a parent to be as involved as possible in being part of their reading journey. Our aim is to support all parents in gaining confidence to support their child in practising reading at home. We hope you find the guide below useful and please speak to your child’s class teacher if you would like further information.

At Honiton Primary School, we use 'Little Wandle' as our systematic synthetic phonics programme for early teaching of reading and writing. Phonics is making connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down. Our phonics teaching follows the cycle of revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. Our aim is to teach children to sound out and blend in order to read words.


Below are words that your children will become familiar with as they are taught the phonics programme:


Grapheme – The letter or letter group which is the sound (phoneme) written down

Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound that can be identified in words

Blending – When reading a word, identify the graphemes in the word and say the corresponding sounds in order to hear the word as a whole. E.g. read cat   c- a- t

Segmenting – When spelling a word, break it down into the sounds you hear and write the grapheme for each identified sound. E.g. say shop = writing c- a- t

Decode – Breaking a word down into sounds to be able to read it.

Encode – Breaking a word down into sounds to be able to spell it.

Digraph – When two letters make one sound when they are together. E.g. shop

Trigraph – When three letters make one sound when they are together. E.g. night

Split digraph – When two letters that are “split” by having another letter in the middle of them. E.g.  a_e in game or i_e in tide.

Tricky words – These are words that the children won’t have been taught to decode yet as they haven’t learnt the spelling rule. Therefore, they will be taught to read them by sight.

Resources to reinforce learning at home:

Phase 2 information sheets:

Autumn 1.

Autumn 2.

How to say Phase 3 sounds:

Phase 2 & 3 grapheme mat:

How can I support my child with their maths at home?

To best support your child's mathematical development it is important to dedicate time to focus on mathematics on a regular basis, exploring mathematics through different contexts; including storybooks, puzzles, songs, rhymes, puppet play, and games. This helps to integrate mathematics throughout the day (both in and out of school) and makes the most of moments to highlight and use mathematics, for example, in daily routines, play activities, and out of school environments.


Using manipulatives (objects) and representations (drawings) can be powerful tools for supporting young children to engage with mathematical ideas. It is important to ensure that children understand the links between the manipulatives and the mathematical ideas they represent. Encouraging children to represent problems in their own way, for example, with drawings and marks, and using manipulatives and representations to encourage discussion about mathematics can also be beneficial.



Activities to try at home...

There are many activities that can support mathematical development at home in the early years. Here are some examples:


  1. Counting: Encourage children to count everyday objects such as toys, books, and food items. You can also count steps when walking up stairs, or count how many times you jump. Counting songs and rhymes can also be fun and engaging.

  2. Sorting and matching: Provide opportunities for children to sort and match objects based on different attributes such as size, shape, color, and texture. For example, they can sort buttons by color or match socks by pattern.

  3. Patterning: Encourage children to create and identify patterns using different materials such as beads, blocks, or stickers. You can start with simple patterns like ABAB or ABBABB and gradually increase the complexity.

  4. Measuring: Provide opportunities for children to measure and compare different objects using non-standard units such as paperclips or blocks. For example, they can measure the length of a book or the height of a tower.

  5. Shapes: Encourage children to identify and describe different shapes in their environment. You can also provide materials for them to create their own shapes using playdough or construction toys.

  6. Cooking and baking: Involve children in cooking and baking activities that involve measuring, counting, and following instructions. For example, they can help measure ingredients or count how many cookies are on the baking tray.

  7. Board games: Play board games that involve counting, matching, and strategy. Games like Snakes and Ladders,   Uno and many Orchard Farm games can be great for developing early math skills.


Remember to keep the activities fun and engaging, and to follow the child's lead! Encourage their curiosity and exploration, and provide opportunities for them to ask questions and make connections.

Chants to write our numbers