Davey Drive, Hollingdean, Brighton BN17BF

St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Brighton

Educating in Faith, Hope and Love


We follow the Essential Letters and Sounds phonics scheme, a synthetic programme which supports children's development in reading and writing. Four new sounds are introduced each week and one session is devoted to reviewing and consolidating learning. We are now enjoying being able to write sentences independently in our Superstar Sentence books! Our role-play area helps us to practise our phonetic knowledge and get stuck into a good book.

To embed high-quality texts into our curriculum, we use The Power of Reading in our Literacy sessions to build vocabulary, support inference skills and describe characters and settings. We often use drama and to enhance our learning and understanding e.g. hot seats, role-playing character speech and re-telling stories through small world puppets and play. We have plentiful writing opportunities throughout our environment and work with adults to develop different styles such as speech bubbles, captions and posters. 

Drawing Club: A new text is read to the children each week where ambitious vocabulary is introduced and actions and symbols are used to help reinforce understanding. Speaking and listening and mark making skills are the foci here and books are brought to life with a participating audience. Each session, an 'Adventure Time' drawing is completed, where children have autonomy in what they draw. A 'code' of maths or phonics is included which interacts with the children's drawings. 


At St Joseph's, we follow the White Rose scheme of learning. It enables children to learn maths in a fun, engaging and practical way, giving children a positive attitude to learning. We are practising our number formation and developing our mathematical reasonings to make sound judgements when comparing, sequencing and spotting patterns. Our children are building on their conceptual and abstract understanding and are becoming fluent, confident mathematicians!

Understanding the World

It is crucial to us that every child at St Joseph's has a wealth of unique first-hand experiences that develops their knowledge of our ever-evolving world. We enjoy baking, going to the library, litter picking. Our Outdoor Learning sessions helps us to spend time in nature, appreciating insects and plants, working as a team, noticing changes of seasons, learning about various animal habitats, fire safety and the list goes on!

Visits and trips expands our knowledge of our community and inspires us with ambitious future vocations. We particularly enjoyed our recent visit of a Fire Crew where we learned what to do when the fire alarm sounds, what protective gear firefighters wear and we even went inside a fire truck and sprayed the hose!

We celebrate different festivals and religious celebrations from around the world including Diwali, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday) and Easter. We are all important individuals and have a unique place in our society. 

Expressive Arts and Design 

We experience both child and adult-led art and are encouraged to be creative. We use various media to explore new textures and techniques and look at the work of famous artists to inspire our creations. Take a look at our wonderful masterpieces!

Early Years

The non-statutory curriculum for Early Years children, Development Matters  has been updated and will form the early part of the Reception children's curriculum from September 2021. The new Early Years Framework has been released and is statutory from September 2021.


The Early Years Curriculum  covers the areas of learning and development which shape the activities and experiences that children have in our reception class. Here is an overview of the changes but please read the documents in full for further information.


The 7 areas of learning and development remain the same.

The 3 prime areas:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development                

The 4 specific areas:

  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design


The Changes


Changes have been made to the wording in the educational programmes. Specifically, this means:

  • they are longer, there is more depth, and they contain examples of things that you can do with children
  • there is a new focus on early language and extending vocabulary, with more examples on how to embed and develop vocabulary skills across all 7 areas, because this improves child development in a broad curriculum



Welcome to Early Years Foundation Stage!

We have fun when we learn in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our emphasis is on first hand experiences where children can investigate and have a go. We encourage active learning where children can concentrate, persevere and enjoy success. Children will have and develop their own ideas, make links and develop their own strategies with the support of the adults who work with them. We know it is important to develop children's confidence and a love for learning. We value early language and aim to develop vocabulary across the curriculum every day.

The following link is a parent-friendly guide to the new EYFS and what to expect when their child starts school at St Josephs.

Parent's Guide

The Learning Environment

At St.Joseph's the learning environment is as important and as valuable as any adult working in the area. It offers children the opportunity to practise what has been formally taught independently in a carefully though through activity. It is also the place for children to be creative and develop their own interests through exploring new equipment or using their imaginations to have their own ideas. The learning environment changes often to support the current learning but there are also activities that are constant. Some children need familiar activities to rely on before they can build up the confidence to take risks with new activities.

Reading and Phonics

Reading and phonics are areas that parents can easily be involved in. Children will bring home a library book each week to share at home with you. When they begin the EYFS phonics programme (Essential Letters and Sounds) they will bring home phonetically decodeable books to practise reading words with the phonemes they are learning at school. Each child has a reading diary where adults will communicate with you about your child's reading. You can respond here too.

If you would like to give your child a head start; please download this Early Reading Leaflet.


The children learn to say the sounds for each grapheme. The correct pronunciation of these sounds is very important when children are learning to read. Watch the videos below to hear them pronounced correctly.

Phase 2 sounds

Phase 3 sounds

Here is the presentation from our Early Reading Workshop in November 2021.


To develop our fine motor skills we spend 10 minute sessions doing Funky Fingers activities! As we are twisting, squeezing, threading, pinching, our pencil grip becomes stronger and more refined. These sessions help us with strengthening the muscles in our hands so we are able to write comfortably and confidently. 



Early Writing requires children to be confident with their mark making. In St.Anne's Class we follow the Writedance programme incorporating essential physical development skills for writing, with the ability to make marks with confidence.

We know that children learn through first hand experiences and finding things out for themselves. We ensure our curriculum contains many opportunities for Active Learning. We supplement our curriculum with trips, visitors and crucial first-hand experiences.

We assess children in the EYFS through direct observation and interaction. We enjoy spending quality time with each child, learning through fun, multi-faceted activities.