EARLY YEARS CURRICULUM IN DETAIL
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Personal, Social and Emotional Development:
The school fosters and develops relationships between home, school, nurseries, pre-schools and our local services in order to make links stronger for the good of the community as a whole. Children are encouraged to learn to problem solve, share, take turns and co-operate with others. They are encouraged to be independent and make choices for themselves. They are also encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of others and to respect other cultures and beliefs. Children are enabled to become confident and develop a positive self-image, sharing with others things that make them special alongside sharing things that make others special to them.
Children are given opportunities to move to music, use equipment to support their ability to climb and jump with confidence, learn key skills such as forward rolls and practice their fine and gross motor skills. This includes using fine motor resources such as pencils, crayons, paintbrushes etc to mark make. They develop an increasing understanding of how their body works and ways in which they can be healthy. This is done across both indoor and outdoor environments and by working with a wide range of resources.
Communication and Language:
This covers all aspects of language development and provides the foundation for literacy skills. Children developing competence in speaking and listening is focused on from their very first weeks of school. We aim to extend and enrich the children’s vocabulary through story time, rhymes, role-play, storytelling and group discussions. Children are encouraged to share their own experiences through speaking and acting out events in imaginative play and talking about their own ideas. They are encouraged to take part in class activities such as storytelling with puppets, participating in music sessions, saying rhymes, singing song, re-telling familiar tales and books together as well as then applying this new confidence in using language to communicate within their own directed play.
We have a variety of resources for the children to use to help them develop early literacy skills. Children are encouraged to use the mark-making areas indoors and outdoors independently but they also take part in teacher-led activities. These activities include phonics sessions, small group guided reading and writing, handwriting sessions, sequencing and re-telling stories. The pre-writing work encourages correct pencil control, left/right orientation, pre-formation mark making and letter formation. Children have the opportunity to develop their writing skills in accordance with their age, ability and competence. We encourage children to treat books and other resources with respect and they are given many opportunities to listen to stories told by the staff.
Phonics is an important part of teaching early reading and writing. At Wheatfields we have adopted the StoryTime Phonics programme designed my Michelle Larbey. StoryTime Phonics is a holistic, whole class approach to learning to read. Its joyful yet systematic approach uses real story books to contextualise the phonemes, ensuring high levels of engagement right from the start. The teachers are able to hook the children in using the stories, characters and exciting events from the tales chosen for each phoneme. Alongside help from the Phonics Fairy and Tricky Troll who are characters that support the children in recognising words which are decodable and those that need to be sight read, more commonly referred to as tricky words. Below you will see links to handwriting phrases for each letter which have been linked to StoryTime Phonics as well as a video of the staff articulating the pronunciation and caption action that is linked to each phoneme. As the children develop an awareness of the sounds, they can begin developing the skills to confidently segment and blend. Segmenting involves breaking words down into individual sounds or syllables and blending is the skill of pulling together individual sounds or syllables within words to read them as a whole e.g. g-oa-t à goat. Once the children are able to apply the sounds they have learning to segmenting and blending they will begin reading their own texts and recording their ideas by writing words independently.
A phonics session within Reception often starts with a costume or prop linking to the story read the afternoon before. After a re-cap of the story the teacher will embark on a journey with the children to learn the phoneme through drama, dance or storytelling linked to the text. The children will then independently set out to challenge their own phonics knowledge alongside peers within the environment through activities such as sound hunts, recording treasure maps, creating lists of words using their taught sound, paintings, creating models of things beginning with their sound, mark making formation of the sound, playing interactive games focussed on spelling and segmenting, storytelling and reading books. The adults are then able to enhance play, support those struggling with pronunciation and develop challenge to support progress within the free flow.
Understanding the World:
Understanding of the World is about how children get to know about other people, the place where they live and about all aspects of the environment. All children are given opportunities at Wheatfields to solve problems, investigate, make decisions and experiment. They begin to learn about living things, their local environment, the world around them and the people who are important in their lives.
Technology has become a commonplace for many families and children alongside our communities and the way in which most of us work day to day. Recognising the role of technology at home or in school is important because this helps children to identify the different types of technology and what they are useful for. At Wheatfields we provide opportunities for children to develop computing skills work with and use modern technology such as Ipads, Chromebooks, developing programming skills through apps & Lego and storytelling through animation.
Expressive Arts and Design:
We provide opportunities for all children to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of art, design, technology, music, drama, movement, dance and imaginative play activities. Children are given opportunities to make paintings, drawings, collages, models, storytelling and use basic musical instruments. Children also learn new songs and rhymes and enjoy singing them with each other. Colour recognition is taught alongside mixing paints, sorting, matching, creating texture, exploring rhythm and in learning how to use different tools to apply a variety of techniques to manipulate materials. At Wheatfields we aim to help children become creative through encouraging attitudes of curiosity and questioning as well as teaching skills or techniques. Children notice everything and closely observe the most ordinary things that adults often take for granted. As staff we build upon the children’s interests to encourage them in creating amazing inventions or making marks on paper that represent for them an experience or something they have seen. Encouraging children to choose and use materials and resources in an open-ended way helps them to make choices and to have confidence in their own ideas.