The School Curriculum
THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
The curriculum is at the very heart of our school’s success. We offer the children a broad and rich range of experiences through which we teach the requirements of both the Early Learning Goals for children in Reception, and the National Curriculum as they pass into Key Stage 1 and then Key Stage 2. Class teachers work closely together to ensure we meet national requirements; planning activities that take into account our extensive knowledge and assessments of the children. We believe that it is important for children's learning to be based on real experiences that are engaging, motivating and fun. Most of the curriculum is taught within school but we take every opportunity to utilise the local and wider communities to further enhance their learning.
The children are taught using a variety of teaching techniques that are designed to engage them in learning. They will work either as a whole class, small group or individually depending on the task. The age of the children, their ability or stage of development will be considered when tasks are being planned. The teaching staff have a wide range of expertise and are supported by the teaching assistants who work effectively under their direction within the class.
THE FOUNDATION STAGE
Early Years Education is a vitally important stage of the children’s education. It should encourage an enjoyment of learning so that children are motivated to continue to learn as they grow. The curriculum is very play-based and offers the opportunity for self-led learning as well as teacher-led activities. The Foundation Stage refers to children entering pre-school up to the end of the Reception year. Children who come into Reception will experience the six Areas of Learning of the Foundation Stage. This curriculum underpins all future learning by supporting, fostering, promoting and developing their physical, intellectual, emotional and social skills.
THE SIX AREAS OF LEARNING
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
· Children to develop a positive sense of themselves, feel safe, secure and confident in the school environment.
· Children are encouraged to participate as effective members of a group and the whole class as well as individuals.
· Children to develop an awareness of behaviour which is acceptable to others and understand the need to share resources, ideas, thoughts and adult time.
· Children are encouraged to consider the needs of others and show respect for people from other cultures and with different beliefs.
Communication, Language and Literacy
· Children are encouraged to listen attentively, to talk about their experiences in both small and large groups and to use a growing vocabulary with increasing fluency.
· They are expected to listen and respond to stories, rhymes, poems and songs and take part in role-play activities.
· Children are encouraged to develop a love of books and acquire the early skills necessary to develop their reading and writing.
Problem solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
· Children are encouraged to use mathematical language to describe position, shape, size and quantity. They become familiar with number rhymes, games and activities.
· They use everyday objects for counting, matching, ordering and sequencing and they begin to recognize and use numbers to 10. Through practical activities they begin to understand and record numbers, begin to show awareness of number operations such as addition and subtraction and develop the mathematical understanding necessary to solve practical problems.
Knowledge and understanding of the world
· This forms the foundation for later work in science, design and technology, history, geography, and IT.
· Children talk about where they live, their environment, their families and past and present events in their own lives. They are given the opportunity to explore and recognize features of living things and to use technology and IT to develop their learning.
· Children are encouraged to move confidently and imaginatively with increasing control and co-ordination and an awareness of space of others. They will use a range of small and large equipment and balancing and climbing apparatus to develop their skills. They will handle appropriate tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely, enabling them to achieve increasing control.
· Children will explore sound and colour, texture, shape, form and space in two and three dimensions. They will be encouraged to respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel. Through art, music, dance, drama stories and imaginative play, they will be increasing the ability to use their imagination, to listen and to observe. They will use a widening range of materials, suitable tools, instruments and other resources to express ideas and to communicate feelings.
ASSESSMENT & REPORTING TO PARENTS
An early years profile is carried out on each child within the first half-term after entry to school. This provides an initial assessment upon which future planning is based. In addition, planned, regular observations are made which lead to assessment of the child and inform future planning for that child. These observations and examples of children’s’ work are included in a Learning Journal which is shared with parents.
CORE SUBJECTS OF THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM
English is a vital way of communicating in school, in public life and internationally. In studying English children develop skills in reading; writing; speaking and listening. It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others effectively. Children learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. Children learn to choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations and for different audiences.
We believe that children should find Mathematic activities stimulating, relevant and useful to them in the world in which they live. In Mathematics lessons, children learn about number & algebra; shape, space & measure; problem solving and handling data. These skills are practiced and reinforced by making links to their use in everyday life. Opportunities are planned so that children can apply these skills in other areas of the curriculum such as Science or Geography.
As far as possible, Science is linked with other areas in the curriculum in order to encourage a greater understanding of the world around us. Children are taught such skills as investigation, observation, testing theories, researching, recording and evaluating. Science stimulates and excites children’s curiosity about phenomena and events in the world. They learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.
Information Communication Technology prepares children to participate in a rapidly changing world. Children use ICT tools to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information. They learn how to employ ICT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of ICT promotes initiative and independent learning, with children being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use ICT to best effect.
FOUNDATION SUBJECTS OF THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM
Other areas of the curriculum are History, Geography, Art, Music, Design & Technology, PSHE (Personal, Social & Health Education), PE (Physical Education) & RE (Religious Education). With the exception of PE, these are taught through a topic approach. Through careful planning, all of the key skills and subject knowledge are taught through linking them under a common theme. The topics are planned on a four year cycle so that children get a broad range. Skills are developed and practiced through this approach and the progression of skills is planned for as the children move through the school. Opportunities are also planned for the children to apply their English, Mathematical and ICT knowledge and skills. Topic based work proves to be a much more engaging and exciting way to learn than separate subject specific lessons.
Physical Education is taught separately as it is difficult to incorporate this subject into topic work. PE develops children’s physical competence and confidence, providing opportunities for them to be creative, competitive and to face up to different challenges as individuals, in groups and as part of a team. It promotes positive attitudes towards active and healthy lifestyles.
This is taught as part of our Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Science curriculum. Throughout their time at school we give the children the scientific and biological facts to develop their awareness of the human body. In the later stages of Key Stage 2 we discuss issues relating to growing up, relationships and making decisions. The school nurse is invited to deliver part of this curriculum as well as videos which parents are able to see beforehand if they so wish. Parent permission is sought before we deliver our Key Stage 2 Sex Education programme.