The School Curriculum
In Reception children follow the final year of the Early Years Foundation Stage which is for children from birth to five years old. In Years 1 and 2 the children will follow the National Curriculum for Key Stage One. For many years we have been teaching through a themed topic approach to the curriculum and will continue to do so. All Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum objectives have been grouped into topics. The staff have a variety of resources with which they are familiar and they have the autonomy to select the most appropriate lesson or groups of lessons to meet that objective. Lessons are specifically planned to develop certain skills, concepts, knowledge and understanding. Our curriculum includes multi-cultural education promoting racial harmony and equal opportunities. We always seek to see children as individuals, with their own needs and unique personalities, and our aim is to help them achieve their full potential. All year groups have access to outdoor learning areas.
Reception run a child led curriculum which encompasses the children’s interest through learning and play, alongside some adult initiated topics. Through these, the children have the opportunity to explore and develop their learning throughout the Early Years curriculum.
Year 1 and Year 2 run a two year cycle.
|Reception||Year 1 & Year 2
Cycle 1 Cycle 2
|Ourselves||Nuneaton and Beyond||Africa|
|Superheroes||Seaside (Pirates)||Robin Hood|
The Early Years Foundation Stage
The curriculum is based on sound principles of good early years practice. The children are taught and gain experiences in seven broad areas of learning. Most of the curriculum is developed through practical activity and the internal and external environment are used to provide first hand experiences. The EYFS curriculum is taught in the following seven areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children are provided with experiences and a supporting environment which helps them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others. We support children’s emotional well-being to help them to know themselves and what they can do.
The physical development of children is encouraged through opportunities for them to be active and interactive, improving their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. Children are supported in developing an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food.
Communication and Language
We provide an environment that encourages children’s learning and competence in communicating, speaking and listening. We provide opportunities and encouragement for children to use their skills in a range of situations and for a range of purposes.
We provide an environment that encourages children to develop their reading and writing skills. Their level of competence is developed through a range of experiences in different contexts.
Children are supported in developing their understanding of problem solving, reasoning and numeracy in a range of contexts including the real world. Children explore, enjoy, learn, practise and use lots of apparatus and talk about their developing understanding.
Understanding of the World
Children find out about the world through exploration and a variety of sources. We aim to support children in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. We support their learning by offering them opportunities to use a range of tools safely, encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in both natural and real life situations.
Expressive arts and design
Children’s creativity is extended through provision and support for their curiosity, exploration and play. We provide opportunities to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of art, music, movement, dance, imaginative and role-play activities.
Characteristics of Learning
They run through and underpin all 7 areas of learning and development. They describe factors which play a central role in a child’s learning and in becoming an effective learner. They are vital elements of support for transition from Reception into Year One.
They represent the process of learning.
There are 3 characteristics:
- Playing and Exploring
- Active Learning
- Creating and thinking critically
Aims specific to the Early Years Foundation Stage
We believe that the EYFS has its own aims in addition to the whole school aims.
– To define and build upon the child’s existing knowledge and experiences in partnership with parents.
– To encourage independence, autonomy and self-control.
– To enable all children to develop their interests and abilities fully; encouraging lively and enquiring minds.
– To know and value themselves and their own strengths whilst understanding personal limitations.
– To ensure that the child is appropriately prepared for the challenges and demands of their future education.
– To give children the opportunities and skills to communicate effectively.
National Curriculum – Key Stage One
The subjects covered in Key Stage One are as follows:
– Design Technology
– Physical Education
– Art & Design
– Religious Education
– PSHE & Citizenship
We believe that literacy and communication are key life skills and that through the English curriculum, we should help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively with the world at large, through spoken and written language. We also intend to help children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety. We believe it is important to provide planned opportunities for a range of speaking and listening tasks. This encourages children to develop as fluent, confident and competent speakers who are also able to listen with interest and understanding for sustained periods. Children are also encouraged to become confident, enthusiastic, critical and independent readers at school and at home. They are given opportunities to experience print that has been produced in a variety of forms and for a variety of purposes. They will have opportunities to read for information, interest and enjoyment. We strive for children to develop as independent, enthusiastic and expressive writers, who are able to write in a meaningful way. Children are encouraged to regard themselves as writers and value their own work and that of others. Children are also encouraged to develop as confident and independent spellers, who use an adventurous vocabulary in their own writing. They should have a range of spelling strategies, alongside their phonic knowledge, so that they can attempt unknown words. Children are also taught to use correct grammar and punctuation effectively within their writing.
Maths is taught using a concrete-picture-abstract approach. This means that children develop understanding of number concepts by using a variety of apparatus, using mathematical drawing to explain and then using numbers and mathematical symbols. Children’s mental strategies and oral maths are a focus. Priority is also given to developing reasoning skills. The children are encouraged to explain “why”, when they have reached an answer. The children also experience a wide range of activities designed to develop their understanding of shape, space and measures through solving real life problems and in the form of practical investigations. We differentiate our activities to meet the needs of all of our children and ensure continuity, progression and mastery throughout the age range.
Science is delivered through themed topic. We believe that science should be fun and relate to the pupil’s own life, experience and the environment. The children develop their scientific knowledge and skills through experiments and investigations, including some computer-based resources. We also make good use of the different areas of the school grounds and beyond, in the locality eg. Ensor’s Pool, to study a range of topics, including habitats, wildlife and plants. The children have the opportunity to experience practical activities and make their own observations. They are encouraged to make predictions, ask questions, measure outcomes and explain their findings. The children are taught to recognise if a test is fair and to develop their investigations accordingly. As part of our development as a sustainable school, the children are encouraged to take care of the environment through recycling, reducing waste and being aware of saving energy. They are also taught how exercise and eating a balanced diet can help them have a healthy lifestyle.
The children are encouraged to use ICT wherever useful within the whole curriculum from Art right through to Science. The children are taught the fundamentals of using technology such as turning on and off and basic functions as well as the use of a range of common computing skills including word processing, creating simple spread sheets and charts, controlling and instructing. All school areas have access to the internet giving all children the chance to safely explore the World Wide Web. Our emphasis is very much on exploring the technology and finding its uses. Computers, tablets, iPads, interactive whiteboards and programmable toys are all used to support the children’s learning and to enable them to appreciate the ever-increasing use of ICT in every-day life.
Design and Technology
Children are best able to develop their capabilities in design and technology through practical activities, which encourage them to investigate a particular need or solve a problem. At Glendale this is exactly what we ask, and expect, them to do through designing, making and evaluating theme based models and mechanisms.
Learning about the past helps children to make sense of the world in which they now live, and to respect other times and values. At first they discover the past as directly as possible, through their families and personal memories, and acquire the skill of ordering simple events. They develop awareness of how the past is different from the present, and ways in which we can find out about the past. They study famous stories, people and events in history, visit buildings and sites, and handle artefacts, pictures and photographs. Visitors are invited into school to talk to the children about life in the past and we visit local historic buildings and museums.
The teaching of geography is important in giving our children the opportunity to study the world around them and to begin to understand their place in that world. They have direct and practical experience of their immediate environment, and are then introduced to areas beyond the locality. Comparisons are made with other areas of the country and beyond. The children are encouraged to have a caring attitude towards the environment and respect their surroundings.
Music is by nature a creative activity. The children participate in a variety of practical music activities with the emphasis on enjoyment. These include singing, playing, listening, performing, composing and conducting. Children are taught the concepts and are encouraged to form opinions about the music they hear and play. They listen to music from a variety of cultures and countries and historical periods. The main objectives of our music lessons are for all children to have fun, develop a love of music and experience success. Every week a music specialist from Warwickshire music service comes to teach each class.
Art & Design
Art heightens a child’s imagination and perception of the world, and offers the opportunity for relaxation, success and enjoyment. The children are able to make choices, to experiment and to discuss their work and that of others. A wide variety of materials are used, and we teach the children the necessary technical skills to enable them to express themselves creatively. The children have the opportunity to appreciate a variety of art forms from differing cultures and to compare them to their own.
At Glendale we believe P.E. should benefit the whole child, through games, gymnastics and dance. Physical activity promotes development of gross and fine motor skills. Children are encouraged to share and experience their success and limitations with others, whilst learning to be a team member. They gain an understanding of, and implement safe practices throughout all areas of P.E. Creativity and imagination are particularly enhanced through dance and gymnastics. We are able to offer additional experiences to enhance the P.E. curriculum through visits from specialist coaches. Active Learning within lessons when appropriate, to encourage physical activity within the context of other areas of the curriculum.
Our religious education policy and curriculum follows the Warwickshire Agreed Syllabus – predominantly teaching the faiths of Christianity and Islam. We aim to teach the children about religious traditions and beliefs, and to give them opportunities to reflect and make decisions and to acquire a set of personal values for later life. Glendale is not a church school, but we try to nurture a caring community, which respects the needs and beliefs of others.
The children share in Acts of Worship which, in accordance with the Education Act, is mainly Christian in character. We also encourage members of the local community to join with us or we visit places of worship so that we can enjoy the experience of a multi-faith society. Parents have the right to request that their child is withdrawn from Religious Education and Collective Worship but will need to make alternative arrangements.
In addition to the National curriculum, at Glendale we offer a variety of practises which help develop learning, for example after-school clubs. Educational visits out of school and visitors into school. The children are given learning challenges to complete at home.
Creative Teaching and Learning
We believe that creative learning should be on-going to enable children to be continuously engaged and enjoy their learning. School staff use a range of approaches and activities to engage the children, including using the outdoor environment as a stimulus. Creative learning is always at the forefront of the teacher’s minds when planning for children’s development.
The children predominantly learn to read using the reading scheme Story World, this has a range of fiction and non-fiction books, with poetry included from stage 7. For children who need to broaden their reading at particular stages a variety of other books are available from Big Cat Phonics, Rhyme World and Oxford Reading Tree. These are used to support consolidation of using phonics or comprehension. A ‘free reading’ range of books, at 4 levels in line with the National Curriculum expectations follow on from the Story World scheme. This includes a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry carefully selected to help promote children’s enjoyment in a lifelong love of reading.
A range of books from ‘Bug Club’ and other sources are used during Guided Reading sessions, these also include a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Phonics is taught throughout the school, from Reception. The school does not use a single scheme, but uses elements of a variety of schemes to meet the learning styles of all children. We follow the Read Write Inc. scheme letter sets and their approach to discrete phonics sessions. Jolly Phonics actions are introduced alongside each sound.