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Reception Curriculum

Autumn 1

Memorable Experience

Children to go for a walk around the school, so the children can meet people who are there to help them. The children will Take photos of the people they meet and write about how they help and what they do to help the children.


Weekly Focus


Communication and Language

Lost and found activity-  Children to read the story Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. Children to talk about why friends are important and how they can be good friends to each other developing their listening and attention skills by asking questions 'Have you ever felt lonely? How did it make you feel? Who helped you feel better?

Together the children will make their own 'Good Friend checklist'.


People who help us- Children will watch a video 'People who help us' to gain a better understanding and recall some information on emergency services. The children will be encouraged to share any experiences they might have had with the emergency services encouraging  any questions they might have to gain a better understanding  of 'Why' and 'how' questions.


Physical Development

Parachute Play- The children will be introduced to a large parachute exploring the different movements such as making the parachute ripple or lifting it high into the air. The children will be introduced to a variety of games to enable them to negotiate space and adjusting speed.


Circles and spirals-  Children will prepare a large sheet of paper with pre-drawn circles and spirals in a range of different sizes. They will use pencils, chalk and marker pens for the children to draw over the pre-drawn circles and spirals. Demonstrating how to use a tripod grip to help the children make their marks more accurate and follow the lines with control. They will work together to draw over all the lines and display their works of art around the setting.


Enemy Pie-  Chilren will read the story Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. Ask the children if they have ever had an enemy and how it felt. What happened? How did it make them feel? Ask them to think of reasons why people fall out with each other and what can be done to make an enemy a friend. Provide a selection of flat white pebbles (available from DIY stores) and write friendship and enemy words on them. Ask the children to decide if the pebbles go in the ‘Friendship pie’ or ‘Enemy pie’?

Team Work- Children will play a variety of team-building games to encourage positive relationships. Organise the children into one big circle, all holding hands. On your signal, the children pass a hoop around the circle without breaking hands. Note the time it takes for the hoop to return to its starting position. Repeat, trying to beat the time. For a more challenging team game, put children into groups of four or five and ask each group to stand around a small hoop. Explain to the children that when you signal, they need to huddle together and place one foot in the hoop, lifting up the foot that is outside of the hoop. The winner is the team who can keep their feet up the longest without falling over!


Memorable Experience

Arrange for the children to watch a pantomime based on a familiar fairy tale such as Jack and the Beanstalk. Before the visit, read the story and encourage the children to learn the names of the different characters. If possible, organise time after the show for the children to meet some of the characters in person!

Things the children could do
  • Sit for a sustained period and listen to others.
  • Join in with repeated refrains such as ‘He’s behind you!’ and ‘Oh no, it isn’t!’
  • Be confident to call out, sing or perform any actions needed to help tell the story.
  • Ask questions.
  • Cheer the goodies and boo the baddies!



Weekly Focus



Again, Again-  Choose stories with repeated refrains to read aloud to the children. Ask children to vote each day for a different one. The Enormous Turnip (the wife pulled the man, the man pulled the turnip), The Gingerbread Man (run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man), or The Three Little Pigs (I’ll huff, I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down) are all good examples.

Practitioner note

You could extend this activity by looking at other more contemporary stories with repetitive and predictable phrases. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson or Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton are two good examples.


Story maps-Set out a long roll of paper with pots of brightly-coloured pens, pencils and felt tips. Draw a path down the middle of the piece of paper. Write ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘The End’ on separate cards, then sticky tack to opposite ends of the paper roll. Work with the children to retell a familiar fairy tale using drawings, speech bubbles, simple sentences, labels and captions. Check the story is told in the correct sequence, asking the children to walk along the roll of paper whilst you read it. They can add more detail after checking the accuracy of their work.

Practitioner note

Why not start by walking down the path with the children and retelling the story orally? Leave your story map out for several days so the children can add more to it. You can put out a copy of the fairy tale for children to refer back to.


Understanding of the world

Giant turnips- Read the fairy tale The Enormous Turnip then sow turnip seeds in pots. Provide a range of tools for the children to use, including trowels, pots, spoons and watering cans. Children should care for their turnip seedlings as they grow by watering them regularly. Encourage children to observe and record changes over time by taking photos or making labelled sketches. When ready for harvest, children can pull them up and identify the different parts of the plant.


Peas- Read the story of The Princess and the Pea to the children. Explain that they are going to find out which materials are best for making a comfortable bed for the princess. Allow the children to handle a range of materials, including cotton wool, felt, hessian, bubble wrap, wadding and foam. Encourage them to use descriptive vocabulary to describe how each material feels. Then, give each child a dried pea or small wooden bead to put under the materials, showing them how to press down with their hand to test. Ask ‘What can you feel?’ As the children test the materials, ask them to sort them into two groups ‘Can feel the pea’ or ‘Can’t feel the pea’.

Practitioner note

Help the children to decide how they will record their findings and to draw a conclusion about which material would make the best bed for the princess. Do any of the children suggest layering multiple materials?



Little pig Little pig- Provide a good range of building materials, including twigs, sticks, straw, mud, wooden blocks, plastic sheeting, hessian and bricks. Challenge the children to work on a small scale and build homes for small world pigs. Allow them to work individually or in teams, emphasising the need for them to co-operate. Take photos of the children as they work and their finished houses.

Practitioner note

Children could take on an extra challenge to make their homes waterproof. They could test this by using watering cans. Alternatively, you could ask the children to create Rapunzel’s tower by stacking blocks and boxes. They could use different materials to join the components together and think about how they could make the structure secure and strong.


Royal Workshop-Work with small groups of children to make swords, shields, crowns, plates, goblets and jewellery that are fit for a fairy tale prince or princess. Provide a good range of materials for the children to choose from, including thick and thin card, silver foil, glass beads, ribbon, glitter, paint, sequins, craft gems and buttons. Talk to the children individually about what they want to make and how they will do it.

Practitioner note

Encourage children to help each other and make suggestions for improvements.






Autumn 2

Memorable experience

 Look at the variety of food available, including fruit, vegetables, cereals, fish, meat, bread, tinned and packaged products. Encourage and help the children to read any labels or signs and find out about the different jobs that people do.

Ask them to take photos of the different types of food and complete the ‘Supermarket spotting sheet’ available on The Hub. Create a  rainbow of foods (different colours) in your classroom. A video ‘Can you eat a rainbow?’ is available on The Hub to support this activity.

Things the children could do
  • Use their senses to investigate different types of food.
  • Read labels, signs and prices.
  • Take photographs of amazing or favourite foods.
  • Talk to stallholders or staff about the food on display.
  • Think about which food is healthy.
  • Taste and handle food that they haven’t tried before.
  • Collect brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables.
  • Draw pictures of food that interest them.



Weekly focus


Communication and language- 

Are carrots orange?

Show the children the video ‘Are carrots orange?’ available on The Hub. After watching the video, ask the children questions about things they have seen. For example, ‘What colour are apples?’ and ‘Are carrots orange?’ Allow time for them to express their ideas, make comments and ask questions. Invite children to handle and observe a range of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, sorting them into colour groups. Why not ask ‘What fruit or vegetable would you like to change the colour of and why?’

Practitioner note
Provide mini-books for the children to write an imaginative story about changing the colour of a fruit or vegetable.


Surprise, surprise! 

Working with a small group, read Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne. After reading the story, show the children Handa’s basket and allow them to explore the seven types of exotic fruit. Ask each child to take on a role of a character from the story, either an animal or Handa and Akeyo. Encourage the children to retell the story, using the props. Can they tell it in the right order?


Physical development-

Let’s dig! 

Provide digging tools and a patch of ground, raised beds or tubs. Ask the children to dig, turning over the soil and breaking up the lumps. Show them how to sow fast-growing plants and seeds, such as lettuce, radish, peas or courgette. Encourage the children to help look after the plants, watering them and watching them grow.

Practitioner note
Planting could be on a theme. For example, plant a pizza garden with tomatoes and oregano or a salad garden with lettuce and rocket. Most vegetables, including potatoes, can be grown in tubs if space is a problem.


Get moving!

Ask the children to notice their breathing and heart rate when at rest by putting their hands on their chest and feeling their heartbeat. Then, get moving! Race, catch, jump, skip or bounce for five minutes, then ask the children to stop and observe their breathing and heart rate again. What differences do they notice? Why might moving around have an effect? Explain that children should exercise for an hour a day to keep healthy.

Practitioner note
Why not use a heart rate monitoring app on a smartphone or tablet to measure and compare resting and exercising heart rates during this session?




Talk to the children about foods they eat for breakfast. Discuss ways that they could make healthier choices such as having porridge or wholewheat cereal instead of sugary cereals. Make porridge with the children and provide a variety of toppings such as raisins, honey, berries and seeds. Ask them to select tools to make the porridge and add different toppings according to their preferences.

Practitioner note
A recipe for ‘Simple porridge’ is available on The Hub.


Food hunt!

Hide pictures of different coloured foods around the indoor and outdoor space. Explain to the children that they need to work together in small groups to find food of a particular colour. Give each group a ‘Food hunt sheet’ that shows them which food to look for. Allow the children time to find and collect the food then work together as a larger group to lay them out in a food rainbow.

Practitioner note
Notice which children dominate the discussion with their ideas and which children need support to help them join in. A ‘Food hunt sheet’ and ‘Pictures of different coloured foods’ are available on The Hub.






Memorable experience

We’re going on a sound walk! Plan a route around and out of the setting that will enable children to hear a range of familiar and unfamiliar sounds. At points on the walk, stand still and encourage the children to listen and record the sounds they hear on an MP3 player or tablet. What can they hear? Where is the sound coming from? Is there more than one sound? Is this the noisiest place in school? Encourage the children to make sounds of their own. They can splash in puddles, run through leaves, tap metal railings with sticks, sing, whisper and shout.

Things the children could do
  • Name the sounds they can hear around them.
  • Decide if the sounds are loud or quiet.
  • Talk about high and low pitched sounds.
  • Stand still and listen carefully.
  • Enjoy some peace and quiet.
  • Compare natural and man-made sounds.
  • Use their voice in different ways.



Weekly Focus




Display onomatopoeic word cards, such as pop, bang, crash, click, pow, boom, thud, bam, buzz, swoosh, boink, smash and splat! Can the children read any of the words? How would they say them? What might make that sound? Encourage children to say each word with expression and put it together with an action. Read a selection of poems from Noisy Poems by Jill Bennett, emphasising the onomatopoeic words.

Practitioner note

‘Onomatopoeic display words’ 


What’s my name?

Display a range of instruments on a table top. Invite the children to look closely at the instruments and discuss the name of each. Work together to sound out the names of each instrument, modelling the spellings on a whiteboard. Provide each child with an ‘Instrument spotting sheet’ and encourage them to complete it to show which instruments are on the table. If able, encourage the children to copy or write the name of each instrument.

Practitioner note

Instruments could include, a triangle, drum, castanets, bells, cymbals and recorder. An ‘Instrument spotting sheet’ is available on The Hub.



The very quiet cricket!

Read the story The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle to the children. Encourage them to join in with the story as it becomes more familiar to them including saying the insect’s greetings in different voices, making the sounds of the animals with instruments and whispering the repeated refrain, ‘But nothing happened. Not a sound.’ Practise and perform the story to an audience.

Practitioner note

Suggestions for making the sounds in the story include children rubbing their hands together to make the sound of the crickets, scrunching foil to make the noise of the locust, using a guiro for the noise of the praying mantis and a kazoo for the noise of the worm.


Understanding of the world-

What’s that sound?

Download sound effect apps onto suitable devices for the children to explore. Play a sound effect and ask ‘What’s that sound?’ Encourage the children to explain what they think is making each sound. Allow children to take the lead by showing them how to turn devices on and off, adjust the volume and press play, pause or stop.

Practitioner note

A list of sound effect apps are listed in the ‘Useful stuff’ document available on The Hub.






Autumn 2

Engage- Memorable experience


Display pictures of hibernating animals with the question ‘What are these animals doing?’ Provide a range of bordered paper and writing materials to encourage children to respond.


  • Can the children explain what they can see in the pictures?
  • Do they attempt to write labels and captions?

Areas of learning

Communication and language


Hedgehog’s tale.

Ask the children to write down, in pairs, any questions they have about hedgehogs. Watch the video ‘The hedgehog’s tale’ available on The Hub, encouraging the children to listen carefully. Were any of their questions answered? Ask other ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions, to find out what the children heard and understood.


Snuggle up!

Listen to the recording of Squirrel’s Busy Day by Lucy Barnard. Explain to the children that they are going to listen carefully to the story and imagine pictures in their heads! Allow the children to lay down comfortably, maybe providing snuggly blankets and pillows. After listening, let the children tell you about the story, then ask them questions such as ‘Why do you think squirrel was so busy? Why did squirrel need to collect the nuts? How did badger help squirrel?’


Physical development


Hibernating hedgehogs!

Introduce the children to the ‘Animal command cards’ available on The Hub.Demonstrate the movement on each card for example ‘Jump, rabbits’ means the children should jump two-footed around the space. The command ‘Scurry, mice’ requires the children to dash on their tiptoes. Explain that the command ‘Hibernate, hedgehogs’ means they should curl up tightly into a ball and lay still.


Personal, Social and emotional development


Woodland Tuff Tub.

Create a woodland Tuff Tub indoors or out, using wooden logs and disks, conkers, foliage and leaves. Add inhabitants such as rabbits, hedgehogs and other small world woodland animals for the children’s imaginative play. Invite children to come and play with you, encouraging them to talk about the animals that live in the environment and what they might do. Highlight the importance of playing together and sharing the resources fairly.



With a little help from my friends! 

Show the children video footage of birds migrating and ask them what they can see. Ask ‘Why do you think birds fly together?’ Encourage the children to talk about their experiences of being part of a team. Challenge the children to work together to travel across a large open space while staying in a v-formation.






Engage- Memorable Experience

Memorable experience

Collect a good range of dressing up clothes, including wigs, glasses, hats and coats. The funnier, the better! Begin by allowing the children to explore their reflections using handheld mirrors and to talk to partners about how their faces are the same or different. Children can take it in turns to dress up and take part in a ‘reveal’ using a full-length mirror. Ask questions such as ‘How has your reflection changed?’ If possible, provide distortion mirrors (funhouse style) and flexible mirrors for extra fun! Allow the children to dress you up too! Take photos of each child before and after their transformation. As an alternative, take the children on a ‘reflection hunt’, looking for reflective surfaces in and out of school. A video ‘What is a reflection?’ is available on The Hub to support this activity.

Things the children could do

  • Enjoy looking at their reflection.
  • Describe what a reflection is.
  • Take photographs using a digital camera.
  • Use words like mirror, reflection, the same, different, smooth, cold, shiny and reflective.
  • Experiment with reflections and describe what they see.
  • Move in front of reflective surfaces and watch what happens.
  • Look at each other’s reflections.


You will need:

  • a range of dressing up clothes, props and accessories
  • handheld mirrors
  • full-length mirror
  • distortion mirrors
  • digital camera


Questions to ask the children

  • What is a reflection?
  • Does your reflection move?
  • What happens when you move closer to the mirror?
  • What happens when you move further away from the mirror?
  • Are all surfaces reflective?
  • What else can you see in the mirror?


Areas of learning



Through the magic mirror! Read the story Through the Magic Mirror by Anthony Browne. Allow plenty of time for the children to look carefully and enjoy the unusual illustrations. Ask ‘What can you see in the picture?’ and ‘Can you see anything unusual?’ Encourage the children to respond using a sentence, for example ‘The dog is taking the man for a walk’ or ‘The mice are chasing the cat’.