Apple Tree Class (Reception)

Welcome to Apple Tree Class 

Key Stage: Early Years Foundation Stage


Teaching Assistants:


Teachers inspirational welcome here 




Apple Tree class is located in a double mobile classroom with a wealth of learning areas for the children to explore and create in. Our focus is learning through play which is called ‘choosing time’ and gives each child the chance to develop their interests, skills and knowledge. Every child is allocated a key person which changes over the three terms, but is highly valued and is an effective way of treating every child as an individual.

Reading, writing and maths is taught every day to support children’s growing interest in the world around them. It is taught using a theme which is developed over time and captures children’s curiosity and imagination. Outside we have a safe, purpose built garden area that is ideal for learning through play and is set in a wonderful backdrop of fields and a small wood. Nature is everywhere and the children really benefit from discovering and exploring the outdoor environment.

Our Day in Apple Tree Class

We have a full and busy day that enables children to get the most from their learning. We begin the year gently gradually building up the time spent on more formal learning. Every child is treated as an individual and their needs are met by supporting adults who really get to know how to best develop their learning, social, emotional and behavioural requirements.

During the morning the children have an opportunity for a free piece of fruit, we sometimes run a fruit circle to encourage talking, especially in the first term.   Our morning will always have a phonic and maths focus where children are taught how to spell, read and write Phase 1 – 4 phonic letters and sounds.  Also, we follow a Reception Mastery Maths Programme designed to support children’s wide-ranging understanding of the number system, including shape, space and measure. We use the school hall for PE where we use the apparatus to develop our gross motor skills, or play games that teach awareness of space, dance or go outside to enjoy running races and field events.

Our afternoon will be devoted to our topic theme, social and emotional development using a Circle Time Approach and music or singing with lots of independent play. There is a big focus on outside play, which is really valued to enhance children’s knowledge and physical skills. Free milk is available for children up to their 5th birthday and we usually do this in our key person groups so that there are further opportunities to talk to our friends. We love to cook and bake too.

 We would like to introduce you to the staff who work in the Early Years in Apple Tree.

Mrs. Strand is Apple Tree’s Class Teacher and has taught in Apple for over 12 years. She has worked in early years for a total of 21 years and has experience of nursery age children. She is also the Assistant Headteacher and Special Needs Coordinator with responsibility for inclusion and meeting the requirements of children with special educational needs.

Mrs Strand says: ‘I really enjoy working with this age group of children, every year we begin the children on their educational learning journey and it is a pleasure to see each child grow, achieve and become independent learners.’

Mrs. Hayward is a teaching assistant in Apple Tree and has worked in early years for 16 years. She is brilliant at enabling the children to really get to know their creative and inventive side. Planning wonderful experiences that develop children’s skills and knowledge but always giving each child the chance to make a unique and special creation that they are proud of.

Mrs. Hayward saysI love working in Apple Tree because the children never cease to amaze me with their wonderful ideas, creativity and zest for learning something new.

Mrs. Essery is a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) in Apple Tree and has worked in early years for 21 years.   She is also our Forest School Leader with responsibility to plan wonderful outside learning experiences for the whole school. This really benefits the Apple Tree children as they are taught a wealth of knowledge about nature and wildlife. Additionally, they get the chance to attend a Forest School Course over six weeks in their first year of school and re-visit Forest School as they move up through the school.

Mrs. Essery says: ‘I love working in Apple Tree class. It is both challenging and demanding working with this age, but also very rewarding and so much fun! Each day is different, so you have to have a flexible approach. I am very fortunate to be able to work with the children in their first year of school, and again as they get older with Forest School. I also run the Breakfast Club and After School club, so there is plenty of variety in my day!’

Mrs. Romero is a teaching assistant in Apple Tree and has worked in early years for 14 years.   She brings experience of working with preschool age children and has a background in special educational needs.   Mrs. Romero is up to date with the latest special educational approaches and training.

Mrs. Romero says: ‘I feel privileged to be part of a strong and committed team in Apple Tree class. It’s a rewarding role, sharing in the children’s challenges and adventures and supporting them as they develop and grow. The children always bring a smile to your face and I enjoy seeing them having fun, forging new friendships and gaining confidence in all that they do.’

We are a unique team of people who all share a view that early years really matters and every day we work very hard to make a difference in Apple Tree to the children we are privileged to teach.

You are very welcome to come and visit us please ring and make an appointment the school office telephone number is: 01983 293392.

We look forward to meeting your family.


Key Person & Attachment

The Key Person

Key Person Information at Northwood Primary School

Children thrive from a base of loving and secure relationships. This is normally provided by a child’s parents but it can also be provided by a key person. A key person is a named member of staff with responsibilities for a small group of children who helps those children in the group feel safe and cared for. The role is an important one and an approach set out in the EYFS which is working successfully in settings and in Reception classes. It involves the key person in responding sensitively to children’s feelings and behaviours and meeting emotional needs by giving reassurance, such as when they are new to a setting or class, and supporting the child’s well-being.

In the Spring Term your child has had the following key person:

SUPERBS – Mrs. Hayward/Mrs. Romero

WONDERS – Mrs. Strand

MARVELS – Mrs. Essery/Mrs. Marshall

The children can approach any member of the Apple Team for support during the day.

Why Attachment Matters

What is attachment and why is it important for young children? Attachments are the emotional bonds that young children develop with parents and other carers such as their key person. Children with strong early attachments cry less when separated. They engage in more pretend play and sustain attention for longer. They are less aggressive and are popular with other children and with adults. Their sense of who they are is strong. Children need to be safe in the relationship they have with parents or carers. They are vulnerable but will develop resilience when their physical and psychological well-being is protected by an adult. Being emotionally attached to such an adult helps the child feel secure that the person they depend on is there for them.  When children feel safe they are more inclined to try things out and be more independent. They are confident to express their ideas and feelings and feel good about themselves. Attachment influences a child’s immediate all-round development and future relationships.

Summer Term Key Persons will be:

SUPERBS – Mrs. Strand

WONDERS – Mrs. Essery / Mrs. Marshall

MARVELS – Mrs. Hayward / Mrs. Romero


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