The size of The Rowans means that the younger children are already familiar with the teachers and routines in Key Stage 1 by the time they move up to a new key stage.
The teachers in both phases are sensitive to the fact that smooth transition from the Early Years to Key Stage 1 is vital to ensure that children feel comfortable and happy in their new curriculum. As such, much groundwork is done during the Summer and Autumn Terms to make sure that each child is settled and ready to achieve their full potential.
Outside the areas of English and Mathematics, much of the children’s learning in Science, History, Geography, Design Technology, Art, PSHE and Religious Studies is through half-termly topics. The children receive specialist teaching in Sport, French and Music and enjoy a broad and balanced curriculum which includes themed weeks such as International Week, Design and Technology Week and Arts Week.
Each class benefits from having their own class teacher as well as a teaching assistant, which helps ensure that learning opportunities for all abilities are maximised. The majority of learning takes place within the classroom and, where appropriate, makes use of our large outdoor space.
English is taught daily and the curriculum covers the following key components:
Reading is recognised as a critical enabler across the curriculum. Children read individually with an adult at least four times a week and are offered a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction texts. Initially there is a focus on ensuring that basic reading skills, such as decoding and understanding, are secure. As fluency improves, emphasis shifts to use of expression, predicting skills and inference. The children also benefit from weekly guided reading sessions where a group shares a text with an adult to learn more about author voice, techniques to engage an audience and skills of ‘reading between the lines’. Children have daily reading homework and are encouraged to read from a range of texts, including newspapers, poetry and plays.
Comprehension is an integral part of the reading process and more formal oral and written comprehension activities are planned weekly in Years 1 and 2.
Writing covers fiction and non-fiction, including story writing, news, instructional texts, letters, etc. The children’s creativity is nurtured alongside guidelines for structuring their ideas so that they communicate in a clear and engaging way. Timed story writing is taught, in preparation for 7+ assessments.
Grammar and punctuation is taught and consolidated across all work. The children are taught punctuation and sentence structure as well as story writing, comprehension, letter writing, news reporting, factual writing and poetry.
Spelling lists are sent home in preparation for weekly tests. The key focus is on high frequency words and spelling patterns.
Handwriting skills are consolidated across all subjects. Posture, pencil grip and fine motor skills are key elements of handwriting.
Speaking and listening is an essential life skill and these skills are promoted in all aspects of the curriculum. All children in Year 1 and 2 take part in LAMDA examinations during the Autumn Term each year. They also have many opportunities to perform to an audience through drama, concerts and plays throughout the year.
Verbal and non- verbal reasoning skills are developed in line with the expectations set for the 7+ assessment process. Verbal and non- verbal reasoning skills are developed in line with the expectations set for the 7+ assessment process. Our curriculum is designed to challenge children to think about text, solve word problems, follow written instructions to come up with a solution, spot letter and number sequences and crack letter and number based codes. We aim to develop each child’s ability to understand and reason, as well as to identify and interpret images, encouraging them to think analytically and to become confident problem solvers.
Computing is taught as a discrete lesson and children are taught programming and coding as well as learning basic word processing skills. Where possible, ICT is used to support literacy learning. This includes using the class iPads to read, write and research topics within English and other lessons.
Maths lessons take place every day through a combination of mental maths, practical work, problem-solving and written work.
Mathematical understanding is at the heart of our maths teaching and learning. Only by understanding what they are doing and why they are doing it, can children really enjoy their mathematical thinking and problem-solving. As such, lessons involve a combination of whole-class teaching, fast-paced, practical sessions and independent learning activities which are differentiated to suit each child’s individual needs.
We use a mastery approach in our teaching of maths. Throughout the programme, there is a focus on the development of deep subject knowledge and the ability to make connections. The approach places importance on different types of practice, as well as the ability to recall facts and manipulate them to work out other facts. Questioning is tailored to your child’s needs, with a variety of different problems to solve. Any misconceptions are explained immediately. Children who grasp mathematical concepts quickly will be given complex problems which deepen their knowledge of the same content to ensure that each child receives appropriate levels of challenge.
In addition to this, we prepare the children for 7+ assessments through timed practice papers, mental maths challenges and problem solving so that they experience questions in many different formats and can draw on a range of strategies to solve them.
– understanding the relative size of a number and its place in our number system
– understanding the four basic operations and their relationship to one another
– applying mathematical knowledge to make sense of real-life problems, including worded problems and puzzles
– rote learning of key number facts, including times tables and number bonds
– using units of measure including time, money, capacity, length and mass
– properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes
– data handling and statistics
– predicting and estimating answers then checking their thinking
– development of non-verbal reasoning skills.
Children receive regular maths homework, which can include written work, practical activities and rote learning of times tables and key number facts.
The Science curriculum in Key Stage 1 builds on the learning that has already taken place in the EYFS and moves forward the children’s scientific thinking and investigative skills.
Where possible, acquisition of scientific knowledge is taught through scientific enquiry. During weekly lessons, children are given opportunities to:
– ask questions
– make close observations and use equipment
– identify and classify
– use evidence to support their thinking and draw simple conclusions
– gather and record data
– understand the importance of rigour and accuracy when gathering results.
Scientific themes include plants, animals, materials and their properties, earth and beyond, living and non-living things, habitats and movement.
Weekly topic lessons combine History and Geography objectives.
The History element aims to foster in the children an enthusiasm for, and understanding of, the past from dinosaur digs to castles, from The Great Fire of London to Tudor palaces. It helps them understand how the past influences all aspects of our lives and shapes the customs and beliefs of the communities to which we belong. Learning about the past and the methods used to study it helps the children to make sense of the world in which they live.
In lessons, we aim to:
– stimulate the children’s curiosity about, and enthusiasm for, the past
– help them understand how knowledge about the past can influence the present and the future
– give children the opportunity to identify the aspects of everyday life that have changed over time.
Geography helps children make sense of the world around them. We aim to build upon children’s understanding of their ‘personal geography’ and extend it to cover regional and global geography in a context which the children can understand. We carry out practical investigations, and local field work and explore changing environments. The children learn simple mapping skills and develop an awareness of simple geographical features. Field work in the local area supports environmental studies and helps the children to develop a sense of responsibility for their world.
Art lessons provide children with a relaxing and enjoyable means of expressing themselves creatively. The work of famous artists, designers and sculptors from different countries and cultures are used as stimuli for a broad range of art projects, which include learning the skills involved in:
– clay work
Where appropriate, ICT programmes are used by the children to express themselves creatively. The internet and books from our School Library are also used by the children for research when learning about art and artists.
Computing objectives are integrated across the Key Stage 1 curriculum and children use a range of hardware and software to support their learning – from English to Art, Science to Physical Education.
The curriculum is supported by a class set of iPads as well as laptops, programmable toys and recording equipment. Consequently, the children’s learning is enhanced to include the many opportunities offered by the virtual world, which helps prepare children for their lives ahead.
Other digital technology that supports learning includes interactive whiteboards in every classroom, visualisers, digital cameras and electronic programmable toys.
The PSHE curriculum is designed to be imaginative and stimulating so as to match the children’s needs, interests and aspirations. The children are taught to communicate and to listen, to express their feelings appropriately, to be sensitive and respectful to others, to understand their feelings and to solve problems.
Through the curriculum we aim to develop each child’s self-awareness and self-esteem. We aim to foster respect for each other and to understand similarities and differences both in and out of school.
We aim to develop the children’s understanding of the Christian faith and of other world faiths.
The children are introduced to the Bible and look and discuss stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Children learn about Christian celebrations and festivals and cover both the Easter and Christmas stories in detail. The children also explore various customs and festivals of the major world religions and we encourage children of all faiths and none to share their own special celebrations with their class. In addition to the lessons, the children explore moral issues which apply to their young lives through assemblies and in their PSHE sessions.
French is introduced from Reception upwards. The children have one lesson a week and the majority of the lesson is conducted in French with an emphasis on vocabulary and pronunciation. Lessons are hands-on, with fast-paced activities including games, songs, puppets and plenty of movement and fun.