Early Years

Welcome to the Early Years department at Castle Hill Academy. The Early Years is home to our youngest children in the nursery and reception classes. They form The Early Years Foundation Stage which provides the building blocks for learning in Key Stages 1 and 2. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life.


Our Motto in the Early Years is:


‘Always be curious’.


As children journey through Castle Hill Academy EYFS, we aim to provide them with secure foundations for learning that will support them to achieve their full potential.


We want to:

Create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.’

― Jean Piaget


We aim to do this by:


• Providing children with a stimulating and meaningful curriculum which has a clear balance of child initiated learning and direct instruction from adults.

• Valuing each child as an individual and celebrating the unique personalities and talents they bring to our setting.

• Working in partnership with families.

• Creating a fun, attractive and thought provoking environment which gives children time and space to play, investigate and develop independence.

• Encouraging children to be confident individuals with a sense of responsibility and respect for all people.

• Developing children’s language skills so that they are effective communicators.



The EYFS Curriculum

The Early Years Curriculum is broken down into seven areas of learning which are:


• Personal, Social and Emotional Development

• Communication and Language

• Physical Development

• Literacy

• Mathematics

• Understanding the World

• Expressive Arts and Design


The children learn through a combination of planned adult-led activities, independent learning and first-hand, day to day experiences. The Early Years uses a topic based approach to teaching and learning in order to widen children’s experiences. We also modify and extend provision where appropriate to follow individual interests. Examples of popular topics include: ‘Superheroes, ‘Once Upon a Time’, Space and Dinosaurs.


We encourage children to take risks and to become confident, independent learners. Our children learn with enjoyment and challenge through play. The classrooms all have direct access to a spacious, secure outdoor area which enables them to learn in a more active way and to accommodate learning on a larger scale than indoors.



We recognise the importance of giving our youngest children the very best provision that we can. We want them to enjoy school and to understand the great things education can offer them. The Nursery classroom has been carefully planned to enable the children to access all areas of learning and to become independent whilst providing homely touches which will ensure that the children feel secure and safe. The nursery staff  visit all children at home before they begin nursery to support them in the transition from home to school.


The Nursery Team is:

 Nursery Teachers - Mrs Sheron Bathmaker (Head of EYFS)

Early Years Educators - Ms Liz Zaiger, Ms Jane Snow, Ms Jane Clarke and Mr Lee Roberts


There are 4 different sessions for the children in Nursery:

AM - Every morning 9:00am - 11:30am

PM - Every afternoon 12:45pm - 3:15pm

Start of the week - all day Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday morning

End of the week - Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday and Friday


The children also stay for lunch 2 days a week as part of their 15 hour entitlement.

The Nursery offers a limited number of paid top up sessions to enable children to attend for a full day at the cost of £12 a day.



Teaching and Learning in Reception follows the same structure as Nursery, with a balance of child-initiated and adult-led activities. The children are introduced to a daily discrete phonics session through the teaching of ‘Read Write, Inc’ and have access to the outdoor learning environment for most of the school day.  There are two classes in Reception . The classrooms are open-plan with a large kitchen area in the centre. We encourage the children to continue to develop their independence and to be able to apply their knowledge to different situations in a fun and meaningful way.


The Reception Team is:

Teachers - Mr Kyle Oakley and Miss Jenna Peacock

Early Years Educators - Mrs Debra Burton

TAs - Ms Sue Laslett, Mrs Treena Sharp and Mrs Jo Ledger


Castle Hill Academy, Dunley Drive, New Addington, Croydon, CR0 0RJ

Tel No: 01689 843148

Fax No: 01689 844040

Email: office@castlehill.croydon.sch.uk