Teaching and Learning Strategies
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The Foundation Stage
Children in Nursery (FS1) and Reception (FS2) access the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. They engage in learning through first hand experiences that foster investigation and enquiry. The Early Years curriculum is made up of 7 areas of learning; 3 prime and 4 specific.
The prime areas of the EYFS are: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development is vital in the Foundation Stage. Through every day learning, we support the children in making strong relationships with their peers and familiar adults and encourage them to become confident and independent young people. At all times, adults support and model appropriate behaviour to promote positive relationships within the classroom; this is in reinforced during circle times and small group activities. The children are encouraged to recognise and celebrate personal achievements, however small, and those of their peers. Each class has a reward system in place that celebrates the small but significant steps along a child’s personal foundation stage journey.
To promote a rich and varied vocabulary, we provide a language rich environment, which gives opportunities for children to experience new and imaginative vocabulary. We plan specific activities to upscale the children’s vocabulary which is illustrated daily in Talk for Writing, book sharing, role-play, child initiated activities and when using the outdoor area. Specifically in F1 the children have daily opportunities to expand their language through the use of ‘talking pictures,’ which encourages them to talk in whole sentences and use new and exciting words.
To further deepen the understanding of children’s learning, staff in Foundation stage are encouraged to use questioning to allow children to talk about their experiences. The use of questioning also encourage children to use a wider range of vocabulary to form longer, more complex sentences. Where children have limited vocabulary and struggle to answer questions, adults will scaffold appropriate responses to allow all children to respond.
Physical Development, is a fundamentally important skill which underpins all aspects of children’s early experiences. If children learn to move with control and coordination; to balance and climb; to move with agility and self-expression they are likely to be more successful learners throughout their school lives. When you come into EYFS, don’t be surprised if you are asked to join in with our daily fine motor sessions, or asked to ‘Squiggle while you wiggle!’ Children in F2 also have twice-weekly focused fine motor tasks in small groups before focused writing.
Our recently developed outdoor area gives the children opportunities to climb, balance, hang and manoeuvre in and out of equipment. Nursery children have a timetabled ‘wheeled’ session where they develop skills on scooters/ bikes/ balance bikes to promote gross motor development; daily motor skills sessions and weekly ‘ Write from the Start’ early writing development. Reception children also have ‘cycle skills’ training from Active Fusion in addition to a weekly PE session.
The specific areas of the EYFS are: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design
The children in F1 have a ‘rhyme and story rich’ environment, to allow them access to story structure and playing with rhyme. They are introduced to the RWI pictures, along with the pure sounds, and finally the letter shapes and RWI rhymes. We have introduced a weekly ‘Imagination Library’ session into F1 where parents are supported in ways to help their child with early reading skills and to promote a love of books.
Children in F2 access daily Read Write Inc. sessions where they learn to articulate pure letter sounds through a range of multisensory activities.
As the year progresses, children move on to reading ditties and trickier Read Write Inc. stories. Children use and apply their phonic skills when accessing continuous provision through reading labels, captions, instructions and other text in the environment.
Children if F1 are supported in developing ‘pre-writing’ skills by exercising and strengthening their fingers in activities including cutting and sticking, pouring, manipulating playdough, using tweezers etc.
Mark making is the next step towards successful early writing. Children are encouraged to use a variety of different writing materials on a variety of scales. This could be writing on a post it note or making gigantic marks on the playground; it could be using brushes or magic wands.
The importance of this mark making practice is to embed fluent movement which will eventually lead to forming recognisable letters. In addition to this daily practice, the children participate in Talk for Writing and Helicopter stories and purposeful writing in each learning environment.
By the end of the Foundation Stage, many children can write short, simple sentences independently and read simple words and sentences.
Early maths is taught through games, song and exploration. In F1 we concentrate on the language of maths through child initiated play, simple challenges, questioning and stories. In addition, we deliver a daily maths session to consolidate and extend learning concepts.
In F2, we build on the children’s early experiences through a mastery approach to maths, which encourages children to use manipulative resources, like cubes and counters, to solve a range of problems. We ensure that children are fluent with: counting, ordering, adding and subtracting, doubling, halving and sharing before we challenge them to use their reasoning and problem-solving skills. Children also explore 2d and 3d shapes, measuring equipment and start to use the language for a range of mathematical concepts like time and money. We also take part in daily maths of the day. This year, we will be holding ‘maths through story’ sessions for parents/carers.
Understanding the World
In Understanding the World, children are encouraged to be curious and explore natural materials and learn about living things and compare different places. Our topics are chosen carefully to exploit the children’s own experiences which are vast and varied. They learn about technology, using computers and programmable toys and the wider application of technology in everyday life. Moreover, they learn about people and communities; how they are different or similar to their friends and they learn about and celebrate other cultures. Children in Foundation have access to ‘Bible Explorer’ sessions to introduce and explore Christian Values and ideas. Children in F2 also have weekly ‘science talk’ sessions.
Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)
EAD is a fundamental area to develop in Early Years as it gives the children the foundations to underpin their own identity and enables them to develop self-expression and self-confidence.
This year we are going to introduce ‘BIG ART’’. This will give the children the opportunity to create art on a large scale which will allow further development of the vital core gross and motor skills.
Children are given the opportunity to use their skills imaginatively in Expressive Arts and Design. They are given the opportunity to explore and use media and materials such as paint, clay and construction equipment. Children are also encouraged to be imaginative in areas such as role-play, art and dance. In EYFS, we also learn about different artists and create our own interpretation of their work. Both classes enjoy taking part in a weekly ‘Music Makers’ session which explores rhyme, rhythm and patterns.
Children in the Foundation Stage engage in high quality learning experiences both indoors and outdoors. Their learning and progress is tracked through observations, photographs and videos on the online learning journey, Tapestry.
Key Stage 1 and 2
In art, each year group uses a piece of work from a famous artist as a starting point and stimulus for discussion. The artwork is carefully chosen to link with the topic being covered and the specific art skills required for each class. During a cycle, the children will complete a range of activities to include sketching, painting, mood boards and texture work. Running alongside this, the children will research the famous artist and/or the period of art history. The cycle is completed by a final sustained piece of work, using a specific media. A quiz is also used to demonstrate the children’s knowledge about the original artist.
In design technology, all aspects of designing, making and evaluation are taught, and built upon each year. In design technology, we provide opportunities for children to use creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others' needs. Making mistakes is a huge part of design technology and integral to learning.
Our curriculum for computing has been developed to equip children with the foundational skills, knowledge and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives. Through the computing curriculum, they learn how computers and computer systems work; they design and build programs, develop their ideas using technology and create a range of content. Computing is taught as a discreet subject in order to expose children to language used in programming and computer science. Where possible, we try to make cross curricular links so children are taught researching, formatting and word processing skills.
In history, our pupils research the past. We inspire their curiosity and equip them with the skills and knowledge to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
In geography, we develop our pupils’ curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. We equip them with knowledge about places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with the skills to be able to research the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.
Currently science continues to be taught discretely. In order to develop skills, foster the children's natural curiosity and help them to develop an understanding of themselves and the world around them, it is taught with a carousel approach and the intra-curricular links are explored to develop mastery in this subject. For example, one group might be constructing a circuit; another group might be investigating switches and a third might be investigating conductors and insulators. The children will be encouraged to develop their own lines of enquiry by means of exploration, questioning and investigation. By the end of a unit of work, each child will have covered all aspects of learning.
In order to ensure that music is taught effectively across the academy, one week each term is dedicated to the music curriculum. In addition, the academy accesses many wider opportunities for the children to be taught music by peripatetic specialist music teachers. Singing, rhythm and rhyme skills are built upon from EYFS through regular use of percussion instruments. In this phase, pupils are also introduced to recorder as a way to explore pitch and early notation skills. Children in key stage two learn to play the ukulele. All children participate in a weekly whole-school singing session.
In order to enrich this provision further, pupils are invited to audition for The Crookesbroom Primary Academy Choir, led by specialist music teachers. The choir will perform at a range of concert venues in the local area and participate in regional festivals and competitions. In addition, all children have the opportunity to join the ‘Young Voices’ club. This provides them with the chance to express a love for performing through choral singing.
We exploit music wherever we can across other areas of the curriculum to support learning. Children will regularly sing songs in other areas such as numeracy and MFL.
Children learn French in KS2. As well as learning to read, speak, listen to and write in French, children also learn about the culture and customs in France and compare it to their own.
In our academy, we have adopted the Real PE programme; this is a unique child-centred approach that engages and challenges every child. It aims to develop the key abilities children need to be successful within PE and sport and across the curriculum. It focuses on the development of agility, balance and coordination, healthy competition and cooperative learning by enabling the children to make choices about their own learning and development. Our aim, it to ensure that pupils understand the benefit of exercise on their health and well-being. Every term we enter a virtual multi-skills competition. This provides all the children with the opportunity to participate in inter and intra competitions. We strive to enter as many competitions and festivals as possible. This allows the children to compete against other children in the local area and also across the county. We work closely with Active Fusion. This provides the academy with the opportunity to access high quality CPD for teaching and non-teaching staff, resources and support from qualified sports coaches and PE specialists.
As Britain is an ever-changing multi-cultural society, it is important that children learn to respect, value and understand the beliefs and views of other people and faiths. In order to ensure that all of the world’s major religions are covered during a child’s journey through our academy, each year group explores one world religion in detail. This allows children to compare and contrast the religion studied to Christianity and other religions familiar to them. Children’s understanding of RE is further developed though educational visits and visitors. We aim for every year group to visit a place of worship and invite visitors into school form other faiths. Key Stage 1 learn about Hinduism; year 3 - Judaism; year 4 - Sikhism; year 5- Islam and year 6 - Buddhism. We also visit the local church and have termly ‘Open the Book’ bible story-themed assemblies delivered by a local Methodist church.
Our aim is to ensure that our pupils become caring, concerned citizens. As well as this being embedded in the way that staff and children interact, we also consolidate this through regular themed assemblies, PSHE sessions and themed weeks and days. Making links explicit across the curriculum, we give our children the skills and confidence to make a positive contribution to their communities. Each week, we explore democracy using ‘Votes for Schools’. The children explore a relevant topic that helps them to grasp the issues facing society and provides them with the understanding that they have the right to express their opinion. We give children the confidence to take action on issues that really matter to them; we help them build character, explore British values and learn about how our society works so they can take their full part in it.
Relationship and Sex Education
As an academy, we believe for Sex and Relationship Education to be effective, it needs to start early so that children learn to talk about feelings and relationships and are prepared for puberty before it happens to them. We feel it is vitally important that children learn about the safety and risks in relationships. Where appropriate, we also seek advice and support from medical professionals.