The aim of the Project READ website is to support collaboration between schools in our joint endeavour to improve reading outcomes for Derbyshire pupils. A huge 'Thank you!' to all who have contributed case studies. Use the case studies as a starting point to reflect on practice in your school with colleagues. Explore the 'Useful Links' tab for research, resources and continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities. The password to view the video clips is projectread

'On the Farm' in the EYFS at Gorseybrigg Primary School: planning which words to teach

About our school

We are a small, single form entry school in Dronfield Woodhouse with a Foundation Stage Unit for Nursery and Reception children.  The majority of children enter our Nursery in-line with age-related expectations (ARE) and those who begin Nursery below ARE for ‘Communication and Language’ show good progress. 

At Gorseybrigg Primary School we aim to develop happy, enthusiastic and confident children with enquiring minds whilst providing them with the skills, attitudes and values which equip them for life.  We help children towards independence, promote high personal standards and develop their awareness of the needs of others. The educational experiences must allow the development of the whole child. Learning should follow the children’s needs and interests, incorporating the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum and the Early Learning Goals. All children should have equal access to all areas of the curriculum. In the Foundation Stage the children learn through experience, activity and purposeful play.

We have contributed four case studies to


To encourage children to use a wide vocabulary in their play and learning in our 'On the Farm' topic


This topic reflected the interests of some of our children and took place over approximately 6 weeks in the summer term.


The initial training session I attended gave me a deeper understanding of:

- how we learn, store and build vocabulary knowledge

- how to use Isobel Beck’s ‘tiers’ approach to select which words to teach

- strategies to embed the teaching of vocabulary in the EYFS.

In these clips, Sophie shares how her team implemented the training. To enquire about similar CPD opportunities for your school, contact 

1. Gathering words for our topic. The EYFS team gathers a wide range of words to help them with the next stage of planning.

2. Cutting up the words. As they cut the words up, prior to sorting them, colleagues reflect on what they have learnt about how children learn new words and which strategies can help.

3. Deciding which words to teach. The team use Beck's 'tiers' approach to decide which words to teach explicitly in this topic.

4. Teaching breadth and depth. Sophie reflects on the children's understanding of 'vet' and 'brave'.

5. Strategies to introduce 'tier 2' words. Sophie explains the strategies they will use to teach these words.

6. What worked well last time. The team reflects on what they learnt from teaching vocabulary explicitly in the previous topic.

7. Using our word welly to introduce a word. Sophie uses a 'word welly' to introduce the word 'rake'. 

8. Before - 'what do we know about farms?' Sophie explains how a simple activity helped her to capture the words children could use confidently and independently at the beginning of this topic.

9. After - 'what do we know about farms?' Sophie repeats the activity at the end of the topic to help the team to evaluate impact.


Adults' engagement with the process of teaching new vocabulary explicitly We now talk routinely about the meanings of new words. We are now more aware of the vocabulary that we introduce, model and use in play and learning. We make sure that we use challenging new words in context so children can link the new words with real life experiences and previous knowledge.

Impact on Children’s learning We have observed that our children now use ambitious words with relish! They are becoming ‘Word Detectives’.  For example, they will now ask to clarify the meaning of new words and talk about how some words have different meanings in different contexts.  

Next steps

We now use Beck's tiers framework when we plan our next focus together as a team. We have also shared this approach with other year groups throughout school.


Sophie Kirkwood – Reception Teacher – Specialist Leader of Education for EYFS

Tel: 01246 418508     Email:

Additional information

Would you like to take part in a vocabulary project in your school? Project Vocabulary EYFS - Year 6 is a collaborative CPD opportunity available to primary school clusters in Derbyshire. It builds on the robust foundations of Project READ. It will enable schools not involved in the original project to participate in similar, collaborative school improvement projects. Participating schools work in partnership with Derbyshire's Teaching, Learning and Assessment Consultants and with Specialist Leaders of Education from Derbyshire's Teaching Schools. Contact for more information.

1. Gathering words for our topic. Password for all clips: projectread
2. Cutting up the words
3. Deciding which words to teach
4. Teaching breadth and depth
5. Strategies to introduce 'tier 2' words
6. What worked well last time
7. Using our word welly to introduce a word
8. Before - 'what do we know about farms?'
9. After - 'what do we know about farms?'
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