An introduction to our curriculum
As a child enters our Reception Year he/she will work within the Areas of Learning. These areas are part of the Early Years Foundation Stage that guides children from birth to 5 years of age.
As the children begin to learn to read they start by learning the 44 letter sounds. We use the Jolly Phonics Reading Scheme alongside Phonics Play, an online interactive website to teach phonic development. As the children’s reading becomes more proficient they are introduced to the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme whose structure is followed until the children become ’Free Readers’.
The areas of learning and development
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years’ settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:
- communication and language;
- physical development; and
- personal, social and emotional development.
Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
- understanding the world; and
- expressive arts and design.
Educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as follows.
- Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
- Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
- Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
- Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
In Year 1 children begin to follow the National Curriculum and will continue to do so until they leave us in Year 6.
Our children are taught the subjects of the National Curriculum, these are English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, Art and Design History, Geography, Music, Physical Education, Personal Social Health and Education (PSHE) and Religious Education. In order to achieve a balanced curriculum – i.e. to ensure that each subject area is given sufficient prominence and that the skills, concepts and knowledge in each subject are introduced and developed in a structured way – we base each term’s work upon a long term plan.
The teaching of English and Maths is largely, though not wholly, during the two daily lessons of approximately an hour’s duration. The statutory Programmes of Study of the National Curriculum are taught but as with all our teaching it is also led by the pupils’ knowledge, needs and continuing teachers’ assessments.
Many subject areas are taught in an integrated way wherever possible, using themes or topics to give a focus to learning. However, where such an integration of subjects cannot be achieved in a cohesive way, during a particular term, then these are taught separately for that term. Parents are informed of the topics for each term through school, weekly class newsletters and website.
Alne Primary School has adopted a Themes and Schemes approach to our long term curriculum planning. Each term, planning is linked to a particular theme or topic of interest, with the intention of bringing the learning to life through an end product.
Class Updates are provided each week to parents via e-mail or hard copy and these give an outline of the work covered in each class that week. Past themes have included A Village Cafe, involving the creation of a cafe for an open morning in school and Caribbean Carnival, culminating in the whole school demonstrating caribbean carnival dancing complete with masks, streamers and headdresses.
Parents have the opportunity to see what the children have been learning through our termly open mornings, so please check the school newsletters for our next one.