Our Curriculum

Children are natural learners and learn best through play.  Our educational programme is therefore planned around what the children know and builds on their experiences and interests thereby igniting their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.  This results in the children developing a life-long love of learning, eager for new knowledge.  Each child has a key person who prepares an individual, ambitious education programme which gives every child an equal chance to develop a deep understanding in all seven areas of learning.  It also supports children to develop the important skills and characteristics children will need throughout their lives.  The seven areas of learning are split into prime areas and specific areas.  The prime areas are particularly important for building a strong foundation for all areas of learning. 

Prime areas:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

Specific areas:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

Characteristics of effective learning and teaching:

Children learn in a variety of ways and it is important that the staff provide a curriculum that is broad, ambitious and encourages the children to develop important skills for learning. The Characteristics of Effective Learning and teaching form the basis of our curriculum. These are:

Play and Exploration – children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’

Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements

Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.

Supportive practitioners and an engaging and stimulating environment with hands-on experiences provides the children with lots of opportunities to develop these charateristics.

Curriculum 2021/22

Area of LearningIntentImplementationImpact
Personal, Social and Emotional Development          Give children language of feelings.  Build their emotional independence, emotional literacy and emotional resilience.   Give awareness of similarities and differences between us. Make sure children know they are each special and unique, with different cultural and familial backgrounds.   Support children in routines and boundaries, promoting independence and giving them opportunities to make choices and express preferences (as individuals and as a group).   Children to know how to look after themselves, understanding the need to exercise, eat healthily, take control of bodily functions and begin to look after their mental health.   Help children to learn to dress and undress.   Support children to build positive friendships, and navigate difficulties. Develop an understanding of British Values, giving children opportunities to explore what they mean and to demonstrate them within the setting.  
Become independent in self-care.
Activities which help children understand emotions and which encourage them to express their feelings- faces, Signs of Safety Houses.   Develop positive relationships, good attachments, boundaries and routines which help children feel safe and secure, thereby encouraging them to express their feelings and opinions.   Model positive relationships and help children navigate difficulties, encouraging them to start thinking of ways to solve these difficulties.   Help children to make informed choices from a limited range of options and value each child’s individual choices.   Good transition procedure that values the unique child and their families’ needs.   Early help, safeguarding policies and procedures, supervision meetings to help staff talk about and manage the strong feelings that children may express.   Provide activities to develop a good understanding of healthy eating, good hygiene and exercise.   Give children the opportunity to practice mindfulness and relaxation.  Well-rounded children who can express themselves and who can tackle the challenges of life with courage, perseverance and resilience.   Children who can build positive relationships and understand both themselves and others, creating a love of  everyone’s uniqueness and being accepting of others’ differences, whilst embracing our similarities.   They are independent and confident.   They have their own opinions and are able to express them to others.   Children who understand how to keep themselves healthy in body and mind and know how to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Physical Development              To develop fine and gross motor skills so they can move in a variety of ways and develop the strength, dexterity and co-ordination to use tools, write. Provide opportunities for children to develop their gross motor skills, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, stamina and strength, building the foundations for the next stage.   Give children the freedom to access the outdoors whenever they like, for however long they like and in any weather!  Allow them to move in a variety of ways, take acceptable risks and physically challenge themselves.   Provide multi-sensory experiences.                   Independent children who are confident in their bodies, who can express themselves through them, and who are ready physically for the next stage of learning.
Communication and Language              Support children to develop good language and communication skills with a wide range of vocabulary, giving opportunities for new words and concepts as well as an understanding of the use of language and communication.   Develop listening skills as well as speech.    Provide a language rich environment with plenty of opportunities to talk.   Adults are to actively listen to children, giving them a voice and respecting their opinion.   Adults to constantly model, recast and expand language and introduce and explain new words.     Adults to understand that children communicate in variety of ways such as facial expressions, body language and gesture. Use Makaton and visual timetables.   Provide experiences which allow children to develop explore and investigate the understanding of words and concepts.   Explore volume, speed, rhythm and rhyme through games, musical instruments and activities.   Share stories, poems, and rhymes and encourage children to engage in conversation and have the opportunity to explain their understanding. Provide puppets, story bags, and small world to support understanding.   Activities to develop sounds and strengthen the mouth, jaw, head and tongue (Letters and Sounds/Toby Tongue).   Adults to use open ended questions and comments which promote sustained shared thinking and challenges the children to problem solve, clarify concepts and evaluate activities.   Develop listening skills with a range of games and activities.   Provide an understanding of the social constructs, expectations and purposes of language.   Provide opportunities to investigate and practice the use of language in “real-life”, through role-play, visits and trips.   Sign post to extra support if required eg. ECAT, Talking Point, SALT drop ins, staff training.  Confident children who have built the foundations for a broad knowledge of the world, who can communicate and express themselves effectively and who are ready for school.     Children who listen attentively and respond appropriately, with interest and with relevant comments and questions. They can keep a conversation going and demonstrate two-channelled attention.  
Literacy              To develop a life-long love of books and reading.   To comprehend language through meaningful interactions with the adults around them, and their peers.   To be able to recognise writing in the world around them, and especially words that are pertinent to them (eg. Their names).   To get children physically ready for writing and know that writing has a meaning and carries information.   To give children the confidence to express their interests and ideas in a variety of ways and to make choices of their own.Use Letters & Sounds (see below) programme, phase 1, to develop essential skills for phonic awareness
Talk to children, introduce new words, and explain the meaning of words.   Provide lots of opportunities for songs, storytelling and rhymes both indoors and outside, using a wide variety of books (eg. fiction, non-fiction, traditional tales, poems and stories with repeated refrains) which also reflect a range of cultures and languages. Ensure books are accessible to the children in every area, and demonstrate how to handle and use books, drawing attention to things such as title, author etc. and drawing attention to unfamiliar words.   Support children into tuning into different sounds and develop listening skills (eg. by making changes to rhymes and songs).   Provide enticing quiet areas which are comfortable for sharing books, both indoors and outside.   Make children aware of print within the environments and talk about what it means.   Provide games around rhyme, rhythm and alliteration.   Lots of opportunities to act out roles and stories, and create their own story lines, narratives, and songs.   Support home learning by teaching parents new songs and rhymes, illustrating how to read stories using different tones of voice and puppets/props.   Provide a wide range of stimulating opportunities to motivate and encourage children to mark-make, firstly building their large muscle co-ordination, then going on to develop small muscle co-ordination.  
Children who:   Have developed a love of books and who want to expand their knowledge.   Have the foundational skills needed for the next stage of reading and writing, including physical strength and dexterity.   Enjoy using their imaginations and know that they carry valuable ideas that can be conveyed in a variety of ways.   Understand the importance of listening as well as talking, and have developed good listening skills.           
Mathematics                    Develop an understanding of mathematics, counting, recognising numerals, problem-solving and purpose, and focus on establishing foundational knowledge.     Develop an understanding of mathematical concepts such as   quantity, positional language, shapes, length, quantity, height and volume.    Provide opportunities to take part in finger rhymes with numbers, and focus on nursery rhymes and songs with numbers in them.   Provide numbers in all areas of learning, allowing children to explore and play with numbers, looking at their shape, experimenting with ordering and assigning quantity to numerals.  Focus on putting maths within the children’s individual interests.   Use practical activities and games to talk about changes in number and amounts, using the language of maths in fun ways such as baking, sand and water play, or construction.   Allow the children to explore maths within role play, eg. Shops and cafes, exchanging money and mark-making their own quantities and “numbers”.   Talk about maths positively to the children and approach it with interest, allowing the children’s natural inquisitiveness and curiosity to guide the learning.   Give opportunities for maths outdoors, using the space to enable children to explore length, height, weight and volume for themselves.  Allow them to lift and shift heavy things safely (eg. Planks and crates) increasing spatial awareness and letting them investigate mathematical concepts.   Let the children problem-solve during their play, without stepping in too soon!   Allow access to resources such as weighing scales, tape measures and calculators to encourage mathematical exploration.   Provide resources which allow the children to explore shapes, both 2D and 3D, within their play.  Provide them with mathematical vocabulary, explain concepts and allow them to construct freely with a varied range of equipment.   Draw attention to number and shapes within their environment.    Children who:   Have the foundational knowledge of maths to set them up for the next stage of learning.   Confident in maths and who enjoy mathematical investigation and challenge.   Can problem solve.   Have a basic concept of volume, size, weight and length, and can verbalise their understanding.    
Understand maths is all around and part of their every day routines.
Knowledge of the World              Nurture a love of knowledge and learning.   Develop an interest in the environment and the world around them, appreciating the range of environments and noticing similarities and differences.    Give opportunities to be outside, experiencing the world with all their senses.   Provide opportunities to widen children’s experience of the world, going on trips, undertaking new experiences and challenges, and talking to children about what they are seeing, hearing and feeling.   Provide interesting activities both inside and out which explore features of the world, explore science and technology and engage children, triggering questions and conversation and building upon children’s natural curiosity.    Children who:   Are interested, engaged, observant and questioning of their world.   Can talk about their world, expressing their observations and explaining why things occur.    
Expressive Arts and Design          Develop interest in different media and materials.   Support children to express themselves through various media.   Develop confidence in artistic expression through singing, dancing and drama.    Provide opportunities for exploring and experimenting with colour, design and texture with a number of different tools, materials and techniques.   Encourage musical expression.  Model singing, dancing and an enjoyment of self-expression!  Build children’s confidence by acknowledging and accepting their chosen modes of self-expression.   Set up activities which are open-ended and non-prescriptive, allowing children to guide the activities in their own way and express themselves through them.   Provide activities which allow children to create and develop their own narrative, and which then encourage them to share this narrative with others.      Children who:   Are confident to express original ideas and create imaginatively.   Can express their thoughts and feelings through different forms of media and materials.   Enjoy open ended creativity, feeling confident to express themselves rather than feeling daunted by it.   Value their own ideas, and those of others.  

Letters and Sounds Programme

We use the Letter and Sounds programme, phase 1, to develop essential skills for communication, language and literacy. Many schools in the area also use this programme starting with Phase 2 in reception so our children are ready with all the basic skills from Phase 1. Phase 1 is divided into 7 aspects as follows:

  1. General sound discrimination – environmental sounds
  2. General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds
  3. General sound discrimination – body percussion
  4. Rhythm and rhyme
  5. Alliteration
  6. Voice sounds
  7. Oral blending and segmenting

These aspects teach the children to tune into sounds (auditory discrimination); listen attentively and remember sounds (auditory memory and sequencing); extend their vocabulary and talk about sounds; discriminating phonemes; reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear, in order, all through the word; use sound-talk to segment words into phonemes and develop vocabulary and language comprehension.