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St Mary's C of E

School Bideford

A day at St Mary's

Staffing in Foundation Stage

The Foundation Stage is run predominantly as a unit with staff working as a team. Your child will be allocated a class teacher, which will also be a point of contact for parents. However, on a daily basis your child will learn alongside all adults and children within the unit.

Morning session

School starts at 8.50am when the classrooms open and your children can come into the setting. Please support your child in the morning by settling them to an activity. All staff will be on hand to support your child settle and take any message you might need to pass on. Please inform staff in the morning if someone else is picking up your child that day. We cannot let your child go home with another adult unless you have given your permission. Your child’s safety and wellbeing is our number one priority and we take every precaution to keep them safe.

The children will spend much of the day in Child Initiated Learning Time where they will be free to play and access their own learning. They will be able to move freely from inside to outside. During this time teachers and early year’s practitioners actively seek opportunities to move your child’s learning forward during their play. This will include supporting them to develop relationships with their peers, building their confidence and resilience and ensuring their level of well-being and involvement is high.


Our environment is carefully planned so there are opportunities for learning in all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum and we change our learning environment to reflect the needs of the children.

During the day there will also be small group and whole class teaching times where we introduce children to new concepts and come together to share learning. Each day will include a Phonics session where we explicitly teach the children.

Snack time

The children will be free to help themselves to a piece of fruit and drink in the morning. We encourage the children to be independent at this time. Please provide a named water bottle for your child.


Lunch time

At 11.50am the children begin lunchtime. The Foundation children are the first in the hall and staff will be on hand to support them.

The Government currently provides free school meals for all children up to and including year 2 (6–7 year olds). Children can opt into school meals on a daily basis and have a choice of four main options and three packed lunch options. School lunches, which follow the healthy eating guidelines, are all freshly cooked/prepared on site by the St Mary’s Catering Team.

Children may have a school dinner or bring a packed lunch from home. There is always a vegetarian option and special diets for medical and religious reasons can be catered for, if requested. A weekly menu is provided and is also available in Foundation Stage. You may decide on a daily basis whether your child has a school dinner/ school packed lunch or a packed lunch from home and their choices can be ordered as you drop your child off in the morning. Home packed lunches should not include fizzy drinks, sweets or any form of nuts, as we have children in school who suffer from severe nut allergies. They may have squash or fruit juice in their home packed lunch and water/ milk is always available at lunch time for those eating school dinners/ school packed lunches.

This is time for a children to talk and eat together. We encourage them to use cutlery and to be independent by modelling this.

After finishing their lunch the children play outside with children from Key Stage One (Year 1 and Year 2). They are supported by lunchtime staff during this time.

Lunchtime finishes at 1pm and the children are collected by their teacher.

Afternoon Session

The afternoon session will begin with a carpet time which might be a story or a maths session. The children will then return to a mix of child initiated learning and small group time.


End of the day

We finish every day with a class story time. Stories are an essential part of day and we value this time at the end of the day to come together, reflect on daily learning and enjoy a story together. 

Children can be collected from the classroom door. Please wait for your child to be called by their teacher so we can ensure the safety of the children.



The children are regularly observed during their play which allows us to build up an individual picture of your child and their achievements. Evidence is collected using iPads and Tapestry which is a secure online learning journal. We use this to photograph, make written observations of your child and highlight which objectives your child is meeting through their play and experiences.

This information is used to plan learning experiences which develop each child’s knowledge, skills and attitudes. These observations are sent home for you to read and respond to. You can also upload your own observations from home. This is a valuable way for us to get to know the children and often sparks learning at school so please get involved and send us some photos and information so we create an important bond between home and school. The children love to share their observations from home and it can be a great way to encourage their confidence in sharing their home experiences with their peers and familiar adults.


Sometimes we will share next steps with you in an observation. These next steps will give you ideas on how to support your child’s learning at home. We would ask that you respond to these next steps on Tapestry so we can work in partnership.