Early Years Curriculum
Our Early Years curriculum is frequently changing as we respond to our children’s needs and interests. We plan for children to learn through play and exploration opportunities, adult guided focus sessions and short whole class sessions.
The ways in which the children learn, the Characteristics of Effective Learning, underpin all that we do in Reception. We support the children in thinking creatively, having their own ideas, and developing a sense of willingness to ‘have a go’.
Play is essential for children’s development and through play and exploration the children are encouraged to develop skills in determination, concentration and a good attitude to learning. Adults observe the children as they play, support them and move their learning on, extending their language and thinking, and helping them to develop skills in all seven areas of learning.
There are seven areas of learning and development that make up the curriculum in the early years. There are the three prime areas of Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Achieving a good level of development in these areas by the end of the Reception year is particularly important for building a child's capacity to learn, form good positive relationships with adults and peers and flourishing at school.
The four specific areas of learning and development within the Early Years Curriculum are Literacy, Numeracy, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. All areas are important and inter-connected.
Communication and Language: The children are given opportunities to experience a rich language environment and there is emphasis on introducing them to new and exciting vocabulary. They are encouraged to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and speaking and listening in a range of situations. The children are encouraged to express their own thoughts and ideas and take into account those of others. They learn to follow instructions and answer questions about their experiences and are given opportunities to explore and learn through words, books, stories, role play and drama.
Physical Development: This area provides children with the opportunity to develop and practise the control they have over their own bodies. It allows for them to further develop their confidence and skills in large gross motor movements such as, running, jumping and climbing. They will have the opportunity to develop their spatial awareness and coordination skills. They will gain increasing control over large and small movements becoming confident in using a range of equipment and tools effectively. They will be encouraged to make healthy choices and develop independence in their self-care skills.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: The children will be encouraged to feel good about themselves and others, so they are able to develop positive relationships and develop respect for others. They will be supported to become independent, excited and motivated learners. They will learn the important life skills of resilience and perseverance to
reach a goal or acquire new skills and be supported to manage their feelings and to understand appropriate behaviour in different situations.
Literacy: Children will be encouraged develop a love of literature in both the spoken and written form: linking letters and sounds to read and write simple words becoming early readers and writers. They will engage and play with language, stories, characters and extend their vocabulary and imagination through drama, storytelling and role play.
Mathematics: Through practical and real life play opportunities children will develop and improve their counting, use of numbers, addition and subtraction, shape, space and measures. They will develop an understanding of maths through stories, songs, games and imaginative play, creating resilient mathematicians.
Understanding the World: Children will have the opportunity through a variety of exciting themes and topics to make sense of the world in which they live and how they can influence it. Learning about their own lives and how they have changed in their own lifetime; making sense of the physical world, the local community, finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design: Children will have the opportunity to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials and will be encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Key Stage 1 Curriculum
In Years 1 & 2 we follow National Curriculum objectives through topic-based learning. Writing is nearly always linked to the current topic in order to make it interesting and meaningful for the children and also to ensure they are given opportunities to write about well-resourced subjects.
All children working in Reception and Key Stage 1 have daily phonics teaching based on Letters and Sounds. We use Phonics Play planning and teaching resources to support this and achieve a coherent and full coverage of Letters and Sounds.
Our Phonics reading scheme is provided through Collins Big Cat Phonics books. Children start using reading books without words and build from there as soon as they are ready. Everyone has three reading books; a phonics-based Big Cat book, a supplementary reading book based on their level of phonic knowledge and a free choice reading book from the class library of picture books and non-fiction books as well as being able to use other class books and the mobile library van.
Staff have been trained to deliver the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme.
Children working in years 1 and 2 are also taught in small groups following the White Rose Schemes of Learning and develop their skills using concrete and pictorial resources. They have access to play-based learning within the continuous provision areas, also. We supplement our Mathematics resources using New Heinemann Maths and other sources to develop fluency.
Physical Education/Physical Development
We encourage all children to enjoy being active, both at playtimes and within the curriculum. PE is planned on a yearly cycle, which ensures the breadth of the areas of the National Curriculum 2014 are covered. We use coaches from Derby County Football in the Community Trust and Primary Stars coaches to enhance the children's learning experiences and ensure high quality teaching.
RE is taught both as a discrete subject, where we follow the Derbyshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2020 - 2025, and is also taught through specific themed activities, school visits including working with other schools and as part of the Christian ethos of the school.
Learning in RE principally uses questions as a line of enquiry, such as 'What makes some places sacred?', 'Who is a Christian or a Muslim and what do they believe?' and 'How should we care for others and the world, and why does it matter?'
The principal aim of RE in Derbyshire schools is to engage pupils in systematic enquiry into significant human questions which religion and worldviews address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise varied responses to these questions, as well as develop responses of their own.
It is a legal requirement that R.E. is taught but parents have the right to withdraw their child from these lessons after discussion with the Headteacher.
Science is taught as part of a 2 year topic cycle which covers the objectives from the National Curriculum 2014 for Y1 and Y2. The Early Learning Goals in Understanding the World, Expressive Art and Design and Personal, Social and Emotional Development are also incorporated into the same topic cycle in order to ensure that all aspects of the EYFS curriculum are taught.
Cross-curricular links to other subject areas such as Art, English, Mathematics and Design Technology, History and Geography are included in each topic.
We always ensure we link topics to great picture books - both classic and newly-published - to ensure children see the benefits of reading and learn to love books of all kinds. We are able to accommodate children's interests within topic choices too, to encourage children to shape their own learning journeys.
Topics for the academic year 2020 -2021 have included:
Who's coming to tea (based on the Tiger Who came to tea)
Keeping Cosy (seasonal changes)
Amazing Animal Journeys (based on North - a tale of the greatest journey on Earth)
Birdwatch 2021 (using RSPB resources and picture books such as Owl Babies)
Getting Around (more journeys using transport and based on The Naughty Bus)
Topics for the academic year 2021 -2022 have included:
All About Me
Light and Dark
The Christmas Story
Finding out more ...
Parents and members of the public can find out more about the curriculum our school is following by contacting the Headteacher: Miss Teresa Nicholls.