Early Years Foundation Stage
The curriculum within the Early Years Foundation Stage is planned around three main themes:
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
At Knollmead we base the set up of the environment and activities planned around the children's interests. We ensure that all the characteristics of effective learning are promoted through the teaching and learning on a daily basis. We encourage the children to play and explore, be active learners who are resilient and resourceful at all times. To be creative and think critically, by having their own ideas, making links and choosing their own way of doing things.
The Foundation Stage curriculum is made up of seven areas of learning. There are three prime areas which underpin the four specific areas.
The three prime areas of Learning and Development are Communication and Language, Physical Development, and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Skills from these areas are then applied in the four specific areas of Learning and Development of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, and Expressive Arts and Design.
Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their coordination , control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children need to be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through as variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
The Learning Journey
- All the areas of development are important and inter-connected. At Knollmead we recognise children learn through play and first-hand experiences. We use children's interests as a starting point when planning the next steps in learning.
- We aim to ensure that as much learning takes place outdoors as indoors and offer a curriculum where children discover learning is fun.
- We also work closely with parents to find out about their children's interests. We see them as a crucial part of the learning process and encourage them to send in examples of learning experiences their child may have had at home.
How Children Learn
The characteristics of effective learning are central to the Foundation Stage curriculum, as they focus on how children learn.
- Playing and exploring; where children develop curiosity, build on what they already know and are confident to try new things,
- Active learning; where children are motivated, concentrate, keeping on trying and enjoy achieving what they set out to do,
- Creating and thinking critically; where children have their own ideas, make links in their learning and choose ways to do things.
Please click on the below links for more information.
For further information on the EYFS Curriculum please contact Miss Dean, EYFS Phase Leader at the school address.
Key Stage 1
Key Stage 1 is made up of two classes; Year 1 and Y 2. Please refer to the Cornerstones grid for topics covered.
In both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 we assess children’s learning and progress accurately and regularly, ensuring that children know how well they have done and what they need to do to improve. In addition to our day to day assessment, key assessment at Key Stage 1 includes the phonics screening check which is administered to all children in Year 1 and tasks and tests which are performed at the end of Year 2. These tasks and tests are designed to be administered informally as part of normal classroom activity. The results inform teachers’ overall assessments in English and mathematics which are reported formally.
Please refer to the home learning section for information on how we believe that homework supports the children’s learning.
Key Stage 2
Key Stage 2 is made up of four classes; Year 3, Year 4, Year 5/6 (Coral Class) and Year 5/6 (Crystal Class)
In both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 we assess children’s learning and progress accurately and regularly, ensuring that children know how well they have done and what they need to do to improve. In addition to our day to day assessment, National Curriculum tests in English and maths, completed at the end of Year 6, are designed to test children’s knowledge and understanding of specific elements of the Key Stage 2 programmes of study. They provide a snapshot of a child’s attainment at the end of the key stage. In addition to children completing written tests in English and maths, teachers assess children’s attainment in English, mathematics and science. These teacher assessment judgements are also reported to the Department for Education as well as to parents.
Homework gives children the opportunity to lead their own learning and parents the flexibility to manage home learning around family life. Make sure you check the termly letter from your child’s class-teacher for the details of when homework is set and when it needs to be returned to school.
For further information on the KS2 Curriculum please contact Miss Price, Assistant Headteacher at the school address.
Phonics and Reading
At Knollmead we believe that English is a fundamental life skill.
Knollmead Primary School has a clear, consistent, whole school approach to reading, which recognises that reading needs a multi-strategy approach. Competence and pleasure in reading is the key to independent learning and is given the highest priority, enabling the children to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum and is crucial in developing children's self confidence and motivation. Each year group has different banded reading book schemes, which are both phonetical and non-phonetical. This is to stop repetition of reading books throughout the children's time at Knollmead.
The teaching of phonics is an integral part of the curriculum in both the Early Years and Key Stage 1 classrooms.
We follow the national phonics programme, 'Letters and Sounds', where children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. The teaching of phonics is a high priority for all teachers as it enables pupils to decode for reading and encode for spelling.
In EYFS, sounds are introduced using 'Jolly Phonics' approach and then children are moved to a broader approach using 'Letters and Sounds' which forms the basis for the teaching of phonics in Years 1 and 2.
We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable. Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practice and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.
We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, magnetic letters, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes and practical activities. Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with any reading or writing activities.
Staff involved in the teaching of phonics groups have been appropriately trained in order to provide a consistency of approach throughout the school.
Alongside the teaching of phonics, children have access to a language rich environment where they are able to apply their decoding skills and develop language comprehension in order to 'read'.
Through shared, individual and guided reading our children learn the importance of reading comprehension.
The skills taught within these lessons:
- understanding the text
- making connections with existing knowledge
- reflecting upon responses
- engaging with the text
- critically evaluating the text
- monitoring own understanding making decisions about which strategies will help clarify understanding
This makes the approach to reading an active process within our school. Success in reading has a direct effect on progress in all areas of the curriculum and is crucial in developing children's self-esteem, confidence and motivation. It is for this reason that we place a heavy emphasis on reading.
Writing is a vital means of communicating our thoughts, instructions, opinions, knowledge and ideas and it is essential that all pupils have the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to put this into practice. We aim to create learning situations in which all children will experience a structured approach to learning writing skills (including grammar and handwriting) in order to become competent writers.
Speaking and Listening
We believe that communication, both oral and written, is the key to success, to social integration and to personal development and happiness. We aim to equip our children with the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to use language effectively. Speaking and listening activities are embedded throughout the curriculum. Teachers encourage the regular use of 'Learning Partners' and group discussion to allow children to develop their oral skills and their ability to communicate and cooperate with their peers. Key vocabulary is pre taught to the children giving them the necessary tools to enable them to fully participate in all lessons.