In September Our Lady Of Lourdes Reception Team invite our families into school to talk about our curriculum. There is an opportunity for parents/carers to listen to their child’s teacher, ask questions and look around the classroom.
The Reception classes at Our Lady Of Lourdes Primary are a learning environment which aims at all times to be happy(because we know that happy children are responsive, receptive and enthusiastic to learning) and challenging(because we know children are capable and keen to learn, and enjoy the challenge and the achievements that come with it).
Through planned, purposeful play, children are able to discover, practise and refine their skills in literacy and mathematics as well as find out about themselves and their environment. In a broad and balanced way, our provision ensures coverage of the seven areas of learning and responds to the needs and interests of all our children. At all times, we consider characteristics of effective learning which promote positive attitudes to learning, an enthusiasm for knowledge and the confidence to become successful learners.
We place a good deal of importance on the characteristics of effective learning:
- playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’ (you can support your child by, for example, making sure they encouraging them to try out new experiences and asking open-ended questions that might stimulate their curiosity);
- active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements (allow your child to play independently – avoid leading your child’s play, and don’t let them engage for too long in passive activities like watching TV); and
- creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things (when your child is playing, provide some challenges and allow them to be inventive – try leaving fewer toys for them but add a few unknown objects for them to use… don’t forget how much fun a cardboard box can be!).
Our assessment data for older children shows that those children who demonstrate strong characteristics of effective learning are more likely to enjoy and achieve at a higher level as they get older. Support your child to develop these characteristics just as much as you support the academic side of things. This document gives you more information about the characteristics – it might help you get an idea of how you can support your child to develop good ‘learning behaviour’.
Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- 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 4 specific areas. These are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive Arts and Design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
There are different areas in the Reception classroom (both indoors and the outside). These are known as the ‘areas of provision’: different places set up in different ways. These might vary from time to time, but typically include areas for role-play, reading, writing, maths, sand, creative development, technology… come and have a look! Each area has lots of resources which allow children to learn independently or with an adult to support. Look out for all the different learning challenges in the areas, too – these are prompts for specific learning which could take place.
We believe effective learning in the Early Years is the result of a balance between:
- adult-led learning: this is led and managed by the adult and is typically planned to meet the specific learning needs of the child(ren)
- adult-guided learning: this is where adults might support a child by guiding them (for example, by questioning and prompting, or by providing specific resources in an area of the classroom) and the child(ren) can independently practise or explore
- child-initiated learning: this is when the child chooses where to go and what to do in the learning environment – it might look like play, but a lot of incidental learning can happen.
Research shows that the best outcomes for children’s learning occur where most of the activity within a child’s day is a mixture of child-initiated play (actively supported by adults) and focused learning (with adults guiding the learning through playful, rich experiential activities). As the Reception year progresses, and the children become more mature and ready for Year 1, the balance will gradually shift to more adult-led and adult-guided learning.
A key aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage is to move the learning from what children already know to what children want to know and what children need to know (and there’s often an overlap between the two). Staff in Reception find out what children want to know – what interests them, sparks their natural curiosity, engages them to be effective learners – by making lots of observations of the children and having discussions with children and parents to inform the direction of learning. This will usually influence future topics in the class. What children need to know also derives from observations but staff make sure they use Early Years and Key Stage 1 curriculum documents to make sure we are aware of expectations so children are challenged appropriately.
By the end of Reception, we will have prepared our children for their next step, the transition into Year One.
We will have encouraged our children to develop independence, perseverance and reasoning skills by demonstrating high levels of engagement in their thinking. These skills result in the thrill of learning and the children will show sustained concentration on their tasks. All these skills are essential when accessing the Year One curriculum.
The Our Lady of Lourdes curriculum follows the requirements of the National Curriculum 2014, but is wider than this, being unique to this school and community as well as being flexible enough to meet the needs of our pupils at any given point in time. It sets high standards and has high expectations of what our children can achieve. It offers our pupils opportunities in and outside of school to investigate, discover, enquire and imagine, opening their eyes to the possibilities available to them now and in their future lives.
Curriculum newsletters are produced at the start of each term by the teachers in each year group. There purpose is to share information about the themes covered with children and parents. Visit the year group pages to see the curriculum newsletters for each year group.
For further details about the curriculum offered by our school please speak to your child’s class teacher.
At Our Lady of Lourdes, we believe that our young children deserve an education rich in wonder and memorable experiences that allows children’s natural creativity and curiosity to flourish, alongside the purposeful acquisition of skills and knowledge. We believe that an education that does this, gives children the best chance to become well- rounded, happy individuals, ready to succeed in an ever-changing world. We want our children to be:
- Ready to learn: Children have a positive, confident attitude to learning.
- Resourceful: Children show initiative, ask questions and are prepared to use a variety of strategies to learn.
- Reflective: Children are curious, able and willing to learn from their mistakes and can describe their progress.
- Resilient: Children are prepared to persevere and stay involved in their learning, even when the process is challenging.
- Reciprocal: Children are prepared to help each other.
Our ethos in the Foundation Stage is to support children’s personal, social and emotional development so that they feel safe and secure and ready to learn.
We strive to work in strong partnership with parents and carers to encourage independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.
Through the seven areas of learning we provide topics that excite and engage children, building on their own interests and developing experiences of the world around them.
The curriculum celebrates diversity and supports the pupils’ spiritual, moral and social and cultural development. Those children with particular needs, including SEND, are supported appropriately allowing them to be successful and that we prepare them to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Foundation Stage and ensure they make good progress from their starting points.
Staff ensure that they support the children with their transition into Nursery, Reception and Year one.
At Our Lady of Lourdes, we offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced and which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points. As an ‘early adopter’ school we will follow the revised Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework using topic themes and enrichment opportunities.
The aim of our curriculum is to develop a ‘thirst and love of learning ‘and ‘Awe and Wonder’ memories by:
- Carefully planning sequences of activities that provide meaningful experiences, developing each child’s Characteristics of Effective Learning, whilst promoting, ‘self-discovery’ for our pupils.
- Developing an effective and engaging environment that is rich in language.
- Providing high quality interactions with adults that demonstrate and impact on the progress of all children.
- Ensuring that the ‘Unique Child’ is at the forefront of adult’s interactions and adopting a nurturing approach for those children who might need some reassurance to enable them to succeed.
- Staff acting as role models to the children they teach for children to develop their own speaking and listening skills.
- Carefully assessing through observations referring to the revised Development Matters which have now moved away from age bands to ‘pathways’ which are broken down to Birth to 3, 3 to 4 years and Reception (to be recorded on tapestry once the new development matters have been uploaded) An observation will be ‘flagged’ as being evidence towards an Area of Learning. This will create a bank of observations that have been ‘flagged’ in an Area which can be referred to when data is being compiled.
- Allowing children to be successful in their attempts at an activity and using effective feedback to help facilitate next steps in learning but providing enough challenge to develop resilience.
- Suggesting whole learning opportunities with information about what has been taught, allowing parents/carers to build on their child’s school experiences at home.
Children develop their literacy skills by the imitation of stories that they learn using actions and story mapping techniques. We use core texts as a basis for much of our topic planning and start with an exciting book to hook the children and engage them in their learning as well as promoting reading for pleasure.
Phonics is taught daily using jolly phonics and Letters and Sounds through differentiated phonics groups. Phonic sounds are introduced in a systematic manner and progress is monitored with children moving on to read books from the Oxford reading Tree Scheme. The sessions are delivered in an engaging way and activities are revisited to embed their knowledge and confidence.
The maths curriculum is taught through daily dedicated sessions through differentiated groups. These sessions are carefully planned using a combination of White Rose and The Oak Academy. This starts with mastering numbers 0-5 and then progressing onto 0-10 and 0-20. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.
Children have opportunities to share their learning with their parents and carers through Seesaw and Tapestry and by offering ‘stay and play’ sessions in nursery and Learning Journal visits each half term in reception. This allows our children to talk to their adult about their learning independently and share their achievements and successes. This allows our adults to share the EYFS experience. Parents and carers can also share their children’s achievements by sending ‘wow’ cards which describe the child’s success. Parents will be informed of their next steps via termly individualised targets.
We also support the transition into nursery and Key Stage 1 for both child and parents. We prepare children for reception and year one with visits to their new class, meeting the teacher and ensuring the environments are similar at the end of EYFS and the start of Year 1. Parents can meet with new teachers in reception in the summer term and visit their child’s new learning environment. Children with SEND will receive enhanced transition opportunities.
At Our Lady of Lourdes, we strive to ensure that our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is good from their varied starting points. The impact of our curriculum will also be measured by how effectively it helps our pupils develop into happy and successful learners, who are well rounded individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.
Children will demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities, developing their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to access fully more areas of learning. They will develop skills across all areas of the curriculum and develop a wider sense of the world around them and will draw on these experiences during interactions with others and link this to new learning. Evidence in children’s learning journeys support all areas of the EYFS curriculum. Children will have developed their Characteristics of Learning and be able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children will be confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.
We endeavour for pupils to be Key Stage 1 ready and have our school values embedded by the time they leave reception, preparing them for their future. We will aim to help children to make sense of the world around them, to develop tolerance, compassion and an understanding of their rights and the rights of others in an ever-evolving world.