Our years of experience tell us that children learn best through play and first-hand experiences.  We create lots of opportunities for exciting explorative experiences that ignite children’s enthusiasm for learning while building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

In your child’s early years, we focus on their personal, social and emotional development and communication and languages. As they progress we work to expand their knowledge of Literacy, Maths, Creative Arts and Design, as part of a broad, challenging and stimulating curriculum.

By providing access to a wide range of activities your children will be able to; discover their passions, challenge themselves, succeed and fail in a safe environment and gain a breadth of knowledge from a provision that instils curiosity, promotes mastery and nurtures the whole child as they discover the world around them. Moving above and beyond, we offer enrichment opportunities in Makaton, pottery, Spanish, music, STEM activities, yoga, baking and much more.

We build on the children’s previous knowledge and experiences. We assess this through information given from parents/carers, observations and any written reports from previous settings (where applicable). We identify individual special educational needs and then plan our provision to meet the needs of the children taking into consideration the Early Years curriculum.

Activities are planned with individual children in mind as well as the grouping of the children in each session. We value the process of learning rather than the end product. We provide appropriate materials and equipment and teach skills necessary for their use; praising and encouraging children to build up confidence. We reflect on our provision and monitor the children’s learning closely. A balance of planned and child-initiated activities ensures the children are fulfilled and enriched and very much experience a bespoke learning journey at Sancton Wood.

Early Adopters

At Sancton Wood we believe that best practice stems from knowing and understanding our children. As such, we took the opportunity to become an ‘early adopter’ of the new curriculum before it’s launch in September 2021, in order to pilot the curriculum and feedback to the DfE.

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in Early Years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

Areas of Learning

Communication and language

Communication and language involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Personal, social and emotional development

Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Physical development

Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; to develop their coordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:


Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.


Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

Understanding the world

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.


The teaching of phonics at Sancton Wood School: Pre-prep

We learn to read, to read to learn. This is easy to say but how can we teach reading in a way that will inspire our children to be life-long lovers of literature? Simple, we instil a sense of awe and wonder around books and we provide children with memorable experiences which connect learning to read with pleasure; StoryTime Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics reading and writing programme to complement Letters and Sounds (Primary National Strategy, Crown Copyright 2007) that aims to do just that. The uniqueness of StoryTime Phonics is that the synthetic phonics teaching opportunities are embedded within the context of real books; books written by phenomenal writers and illustrators who know how to engage children and make them want to read for pleasure. This programme is designed to support teachers to inspire and motivate children with exciting phonic lessons. Lesson by lesson, there are notes and films relating to a daily book choice which ensure that lessons are multi-sensory and fun.

Our children at Sancton Wood School love their exciting and engaging phonics sessions. So much so that they would like to share some of the key elements with you. Please click the videos below to see a short video for each phonic phase, along with a caption and action that children in Reception and Year 1 will be taught to compliment and support their understanding of letters and sounds.

Phase 2 (Reception)

Phase 3 (Reception)

Phase 5 (Year 1)

You can support your child at home by watching these videos and practising the sound with them to ensure they are secure with phoneme/ grapheme correspondence. The kinesthetic element of the ‘caption action’ ensures that learning new letters and sounds is memorable for children whilst having the added benefit of appealing to a variety of learning styles.

Phase 2 and 3 are taught and embedded throughout the Reception Year, whilst Phase 5 is taught throughout Year 1 to teach the children alternative ways of spelling sounds.