The Infant curriculum is broad and carefully balanced. The primary intention is to provide exciting and interesting experiences which develop each child's ability to think and learn effectively. Children will have opportunities to reach beyond the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One requirements.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (age 4 to 5 years)
The Reception Unit accepts boys and girls from age four. The Reception classrooms, at the very heart of the Infant School, are bright and spacious rooms where our very youngest children are offered exciting, enriching and stimulating activities to stretch them to their full potential. Well qualified, warm and caring Early Years trained staff ensure children gain the attention they need to make rapid progress but also to develop the close relationships with other children that make them happy to come to school. Reception children develop the skills outlined within the "Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)". Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through seven areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
• Communication and language;
• Physical development; and
• Personal, social and emotional development.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child's healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in four specific areas. These are:
• Understanding the world; and
• Expressive arts and design.
These seven areas are used to plan your child's learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child's unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.The small, structured development steps in these areas ensure a solid foundation on which to build in Year 1. All activities are delivered through carefully structured play; through exploration and first-hand experiences with a true emphasis on building children's self-esteem.
If parents wish to know more about the EYFS curriculum, then information is available on the DfE (Department for Education) website:
Key Stage 1 (ages 5 to 7 years)
In Key Stage 1, the children learn through an exciting curriculum, which is planned and organised in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of additional exciting and creative activities to enrich the experience for the children. It also includes the 'hidden curriculum', in which children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their true individual potential. Our timetable is flexible where possible, thus ensuring teachers have the ability to integrate lessons, allowing children to become immersed into learning and achieve the highest understanding. Some specialist teaching is undertaken in subjects such as French, Music, Physical Education (PE) and Swimming.
Throughout Key Stage One the learning begins to become more formal in readiness for a smooth transition into the Junior School curriculum and comprehensive transition activities are planned into the Summer Term of Year 2.
We have a long term plan for the Key Stage 1 Curriculum. This indicates the topics to be taught in each year group and when; it also shows the key texts to be taught in literacy. We build on the learning and experiences children bring from their education in Reception; the plans are reviewed on an annual basis. With our medium-term plans, key skills are identified that underpin objectives and teaching strategies used when teaching each subject area. Our short-term plans are written on a weekly basis. The curriculum is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children. The curriculum is therefore tailored to be more personalised and is adapted to children's special educational needs.
READING & PHONICS
In order to cater for our children's varied interests and to sustain their enthusiasm as they develop their reading skills, we have built up a large selection of books from many different publishers. These include ORT, Fireflies, Project X, Rigby Pockets and Sail Books. We have banded them into colours using the book banding system and pur professional judgement. Recently we have added extra ORT phonics books for early readers and invested in Project X books to boost out boys' reading progression.
Our children work very hard and the school day is packed tightly with activities that leave many of our youngest children quite tired at the end of the day! Children often have a busy programme of events outside school, which may include religious commitments, music, or sporting activities and events, which take up time after school. Children also need relaxation time with friends and family and time to widen their experiences with additional pursuits and hobbies away from the classroom.
There are, nonetheless, some aspects of schoolwork, which can be reinforced purposefully at home. The main emphasis placed upon home learning in the Infants is to develop children's thinking skills to apply knowledge they have been taught in class in different contexts. The activities sent home will usually be designed to be completed with an adult helper. This is so parents can be as involved in the learning as possible, but also helps make it fun! The activities will usually be games or activity based and should not be too time-consuming. We believe that this boosts confidence and develops the right attitude to prepare children for more formal homework activities in the Junior and Senior School. The Infant staff recognise that the activities and experiences which children undertake outside school are equally important in development as any set home learning so there may be occasions on which we do not send work home. Ideally, when home learning is sent to you, it will be with a weekly time limit and should take no more than thirty minutes.
All pupils take reading books home and have a home – school reading record/home learning diary. Reading books are changed and checked in a strict rotational order to ensure that staff can spend quality time with each child. Details will be sent to you by your child's class teacher. Children will also have a class library book, which can be read as an interest book in place of the reading book.
In Reception class children may receive simple phonics or number based activities and games as appropriate. The timescale for this will usually be at least a week.
Children in Years 1 and 2 will receive home learning set on a weekly basis. Spellings will be sent home for the week, with a test held in school at the end of the week. Some literacy and numeracy activities will be sent home, usually as a reinforcement to lessons. Occasionally, some science or other topic work may be sent home as appropriate. The timescale for this will usually be at least a week.