This term, as part of the Early Years Curriculum, children in Reception have been focusing on developing their knowledge of castles, including learning all about medieval history.

The children’s interest in and understanding of the topic has been enhanced by an impressive immersive approach to learning from our Early Years teachers Mrs Drury and Mrs Falvey, with the inclusion of trips to Framlingham Castle and visits from guests such as Ann Barkway and Chris Butler, organisers of the London International Festival of Early Music, who brought in a range of medieval instruments which the children had a wonderful time exploring.

The day before the Spring half-term saw our Reception classes come together to re-enact a full medieval celebration. Starting the day dressed in matching surcoats (adorned with their class crests) and armed with shields featuring their coat of arms, the children made successful stealth attacks on Years 1 and 2 before returning to the Early Years manor house.

The group of young knights then performed a Carole dance (a social circular dance of the period) to Nursery, before their attention was once again focused on preparing for further combat.

Utilising physical surroundings to reflect learning and deepen curiosity is key for Early Years teaching. The children then went down to the Willow Wood where they were transported to a world where armies engaged in decisive forest battles. The group played a highly energetic game of Capture the Flag before the ultimate battle began between RJD and REF, during which the knights displayed impressive battle strategy skills.

After a hectic morning, the group of brave soldiers settled for a well-deserved snack served on the homemade trencher board plates made by the children earlier in the week.

Commenting on the children’s learning, Reception teacher Jo Drury said: “Our role as Early Years educators is all about creating rich learning environments and promoting journeys of discovery from a very young age. Coordination of outings, visits and events all contribute to learning and development and help children to feel excited about learning.”

Fellow Reception teacher Emily Falvey added: “It’s so lovely to watch the children completely engage with the educational experience, which leads to progress in all academic areas and in turn encourages discussion, exploration and discovery with a real focus on the development of their talk and vocabulary. Some of the artistic and written work produced by the children as a result of this term’s learning has been exceptional.”

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