At Cliftonville Primary and Pre-School, 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. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum using topic themes and enrichment opportunities. The aim of our curriculum is to develop a thirst and love for learning by:
• Carefully planning sequences of activities that provide meaningful learning experiences, developing each child’s characteristics of learning.
• Providing high quality interactions with adults that demonstrate and impact on the progress of all children.
• Using high quality questioning and interactions to check understanding and address misconceptions.
• Staff acting as role models to the children they teach in order for children to develop their own speaking and listening skills.
• Carefully assessing children’s abilities and recording WOW moments which are recorded on Evidence Me, and shared with parents. These are used to inform the next steps of learning and meet individual needs.
• Developing an effective and engaging environment that is set up so that children can access all areas of learning both inside and outside at any one time.
Making use of our Forest School and playing field to develop children’s love of learning across all areas of the curriculum as well as our school values.
• Providing activity starting points for child initiated activities that enhance children’s learning and impact on progress.
• Allowing children to be successful in their attempts at an activity and using effective feedback to help facilitate next steps in learning.
• Suggesting home learning opportunities with information about what has been taught, allowing parents to build on their child’s school experiences, at home.
We recognise the changing needs, starting points and interests of our children and we respond to this by regularly developing existing topics.
The English curriculum is taught using Talk for Writing (T4W) in EYFS as well as across the whole school. Children develop their literacy skills by the imitation of stories that they learn using actions and story mapping techniques. They then move on to innovation of these well-known stories by including their own ideas. Children also have the opportunities to show independence in their writing by planning and writing their own stories.
Literacy opportunities are also promoted in many of the continuous provision activities available to children during the week.
The Early Years follows a topic teaching approach and introduces the children to core texts based on each topic. Each new topic usually starts with an exciting hook to engage children in both the topic and the book. We have developed our own suggested text list for the Early Years which have been chosen for their level of challenge and quality language. They have also been chosen with a view to promoting reading for pleasure.
Phonics is taught daily through ‘Letters and Sounds’. Phonics sounds are introduced to children each day in an engaging way. The phonics activities are revisited to embed over the year and supported in a range of ways including associating actions with these.
The maths curriculum is taught through dedicated maths lessons. These sessions are carefully planned using concrete resources and build on prior learning and real life experiences across the theme and year. This starts with mastering numbers 0-5 and then progresses through to 0-10 and 0-20. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences. We primarily use the White Rose scheme of work.
R.E. is taught through topic and the RE today scheme
Weekly Forest school sessions (Outdoor Day) are run for children in Early Years; these support a range of skills and develop their social interactions. All seven areas of learning and our school values are encompassed within these sessions and allow all children to take risks in an unpredictable environment whilst developing leadership skills and promoting mental health and wellbeing.
Starting in term 2, Year R parents are invited into school one day a week to share a story with their child. This could be a book which they are reading at home, one of their phonetically decodable reading books or simply a book they have never seen before. This is a great opportunity for parents to find out how to support their child in becoming confident readers. In Pre-School, children and parents share a story book to take home each week to share together.
In year R, we have two Parents Evenings and in Pre-School we hold three Stay and Play sessions every year where children’s progress is discussed and learning journeys are shared. At the end of every week, the Early Years share what they have been learning about in school via our School Blog. We also have a Facebook page where children’s learning and successes are celebrated.
Through Quality Assurance undertaken by Year Group Leaders and senior leaders three times a year, termly Pupil Progress Interviews and data reviews and governor monitoring visits, children demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities, developing their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to access more areas of the learning and communicate to both adults and children. Children develop skills across all areas of the curriculum including literacy, mathematics and physical development using these in different ways. Children have developed a wider sense of the world around them and can draw on these experiences during interactions with others and link this to new learning. Children develop their characteristics of learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.
From their own starting points, children will make excellent progress both academically and emotionally, developing a sense of themselves so that they are well prepared for Key Stage 1.