The Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage consists of nursery (age 3 to 4) and reception (age 4 to 5) classes. We strongly recommend that all children attend our nursery, Little Chestnuts, when possible, before entering reception. The children who have been through our nursery generally settle and adapt to their reception class quicker than others. Little Chestnuts have their own brochure which is available from the school office.
Our Early Years classes provide a friendly, secure and stimulating environment where children can learn through a wide range of experiences. Our carefully planned and engaging activities enable every child to develop when they are ready. In Foundation Stage our emphasis is on the children learning through active learning and play. Child initiated learning allows the children to develop a range of skills including talking about their experiences, exploring messy play or extending ideas through mark making.
During their time in Early Years, the children develop independence and resilience through the enabling environments, positive relationships and open ended opportunities. This helps to develop their characteristics of an effective learning and support them throughout their individual learning journey. The Characteristics of Effective Learning are shared with children and parents to encourage children to take ownership of their learning and enhance their curiosity towards learning. The Characteristics are explained through; playing and exploring (engagement), active learning (motivation) and creating and thinking critically (thinking).
The Reception classes and the Nursery work closely together to ensure an engaging and balanced framework for all the children. Through active learning the children frequently access and experience all the areas of learning as laid out in the Early Years Statutory Framework. The 7 areas of learning are divided in to; 3 Prime Areas, which are fundamental skills and support development in all other areas, and 4 Specific Areas, which include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in the world around them.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (Making Relationships, Managing Feelings and Behaviour, Self Confidence and Awareness)
- Physical Development (Large motor skills and Fine motor skills - threading, manipulative skills, pencil control etc., Health and Self Care)
- Communication and Language (Listening and Attention, Understanding, Speaking)
- Literacy (Reading and Writing)
- Mathematics (Number, Shape, Space and Measure)
- Understanding the World (People and Community, The World, Technology)
- Expressive Arts and Design (Being Imaginative, Exploring Media and Materials)
Students from the local colleges and schools are welcome to continue their training and be members of our team. Parents are welcome to help with various activities on certain days but please be aware that DBS clearance is required when volunteering to help in school.
Key Stage 1 Curriculum and Organisation - Years 1 & 2
At Key Stage 1 every child has access to all the national curriculum subjects. The teachers teach the class as a whole and in group situations. All classes are of mixed ability and we place great emphasis on a firm foundation of basic skills. The class is divided into ability groups for English and Maths. A major proportion of the school time is spent on the core subjects:
- English. This includes the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. The children are encouraged to develop a real enjoyment of books. There is a well-resourced library in the main area. Speaking, listening and writing are also taught using a cross-curriculum approach, through all the other subjects.
- Maths. The children learn about number, shape, weight, space and position, pattern, relationships, capacity, measurement, time and money. Investigative skills are encouraged and practical activities form an important part of their understanding.
- Science This involves practical and investigative work sometimes as part of topics. Children are encouraged to predict their results and record their outcomes in a variety of ways.
- Computing. Key Stage 1 children have access to 30, networked laptops for use across all subjects in class, or in the outdoor classroom. All the children have access to recording equipment and digital cameras so images and sounds can be uploaded and edited using appropriate software. E safety is also taught.
The other subjects taught are:
- Geography and History. These subjects help children to learn about their local environment and about famous people and events in the past.
- Music Opportunities arise in class lessons, assemblies and school productions. We also fund a qualified music teacher to teach music to all classes.
- Art and Design. The children are given opportunities to draw, paint, model with clay and cook.
- Physical Education. This is taught throughout the school and includes gymnastics, dance, ball skills and team games. Specialist dance and PE teachers work in each year group throughout the year.
- Design and Technology. This is a practical subject and the children learn to design, make and evaluate their own models and creations. The children learn how to use tools and are taught how to use them safely.
- Religious Education. We follow the Buckinghamshire agreed syllabus. The children are taught about a range of religions, especially those relevant to the pupils attending our school. The daily assembly includes moral and social education. The school is non-denominational. Parents who wish to withdraw their child from the act of collective worship or religious education may do so by arrangement with the head teacher.
- Personal, Health and Social Education. We have a health education programme which includes sex and relationships education and drugs awareness, healthy eating and personal safety.