Curriculum information for families and friends
We organise our curriculum around themes as this enables our children to get fascinated by and absorbed in a subject - whether it's dinosaurs or Queen Victoria. We study some themes for a longer time (often a term or 6 or 7 weeks) to allow them to really delve into it deeply and become an expert. At other times we may study a theme for just a short time (such as democracy day or potato day) as this allows us to cover a good range of different themes.
This means that most of the children’s work in history, geography, DT, computing, art, music and science centre on this theme. For example children in Year 4 studying the theme of Cinderella may be using the ball where Cinderella met her prince to focus on the orchestra that must have been playing (you can't have a ball without music!!!) to learn more about how sound is created and how it travels. There is a clear set of learning objectives in each subject for the year and part of the planning that teachers do is to decide where each science, history, art objective, for example, is best fitted in to make sense to the children. If it does not fit in naturally, we plan to teach that element separately to make sure everything is covered.
There will be lots of opportunities over the year for families to get involved in the themes - we'd love you to get as excited about them as we and the children do!
Maths is not usually taught through the theme but in a separate daily maths lesson. We use the Hamilton maths programme to carefully structure the maths over each year and over the children's journey through school. The emphasis is on helping the child to understand how the number system works and why we do calculations in certain ways with a huge focus upon learning key mental maths skills. These include things such as learning your number bonds to ten (8 & 2, 6 & 4 for example), the times tables and skills such as doubling and halving. These are parts of maths that are great fun and can be mastered much more quickly if anyone at home can help the children practice these vital skills.
We also make sure the children can solve problems and apply the skills they have learned. This may well mean they go back to the theme they are studying - graphs showing how many of each instrument family was in the orchestra at Cinderella's ball to answer questions can mean the children see the usefulness of maths and that they really start to build confidence in themselves as mathematicians
English is a key subject and is central to what we do. The ability to talk and listen is so central that children can't really make good progress without it so this is a major focus during the early years - and throughout your child 's school life. Reading is taught very carefully. We have a huge range of books to enthuse children to find the magic of stories and fascinating facts. The phonic skills that are so important to reading are taught from reception to Year 3 in fast-paced 15 minute sessions three times as day, every day. Children are encouraged to read though guides or shared group reading sessions where they can enjoy putting the skills they have learned to good use with fabulous books. Children all have at least one guided reading session a day. They are also encouraged to read at home. Writing is taught daily too. Skills such a punctuation and spelling are taught as well as the children being given lots of exciting opportunities to write, whether it is a label for a model do Cinderella’s coach they have just made from play dough in younger age ranges to a biography of Shakespeare in older ones.