Curriculum

Chacewater Schools Vision. 

Intent

At Chacewater School, we base our love of learning through a broad and balanced curriculum – fostered through the earliest stages of their academic lives, right throughout their journeys in our school. Therefore, in our Foundation Stage we strive to deliver a wide and varied learning experience, where we are fully committed to developing each child’s unique potential. Thus, we promote children to lead their own learning through a balance of children’s interests and that of the skills we want them to fulfil based through the Development Matters Strategy and those that will help them as they begin their journey through our school. These areas are then explored and deepened further by not only their surroundings, but the immediate learning opportunities nurtured by the staff. Over the years we have adapted how we teach, allowing us to experience with rotational groupings which are adult led, independent groupings where the children lead or opportunities which are based around previous learning experiences to captivate what they children have learnt over time.


The Early Years Framework, accompanied by Development Matters and Birth to 5 will then be pieced together by inspirational texts and hook books linked to the child’s interest, incorporated and filtered throughout all learning experiences – Maths, Phonics and our afternoon sessions. 


What do we look out for? 


The Leuven Scale 


Leuven Scale of Wellbeing

  1. Extremely Low - The child clearly shows signs of discomfort such as crying or screaming. They may look dejected, sad, frightened or angry. The child does not respond to the environment, avoids contact and is withdrawn.

  2. Low - The posture, facial expression and actions indicate that the child does not feel at ease. However, the signals are less explicit than under level 1 or the sense of discomfort is not expressed the whole time.

  3. Moderate - The child has a neutral posture. Facial expression and posture show little or no emotion. There are no signs indicating sadness or pleasure, comfort or discomfort.

  4. High - The child shows obvious signs of satisfaction (as listed under level 5). However, these signals are not constantly present with the same intensity.

  5. Extremely High - The child looks happy and cheerful, smiles, cries out with pleasure. They may be lively and full of energy. Actions can be spontaneous and expressive. The child may talk to him/herself, play with sounds, hum, sing. The child appears relaxed and does not show any signs of stress or tension. He / she is open and accessible to the environment. The child expresses self-confidence and self-assurance.

Leuven Scale of Involvement

  1. Extremely Low - Activity is simple, repetitive and passive. The child seems absent and displays no energy. They may stare into space or look around to see what others are doing.

  2. Low - Frequently interrupted activity. The child will be engaged in the activity for some of the time they are observed, but there will be moments of non-activity when they will stare into space, or be distracted by what is going on around.

  3. Moderate - Mainly continuous activity. The child is busy with the activity but at a fairly routine level and there are few signs of real involvement. They make some progress with what they are doing but don’t show much energy and concentration and can be easily distracted.

  4. High - Continuous activity with intense moments. The child’s activity has intense moments and at all times they seem involved. They are not easily distracted.

  5. Extremely High - The child shows continuous and intense activity revealing the greatest involvement. They are concentrated, creative, energetic and persistent throughout nearly all the observed period.


At Chacewater School our vision for success stems back from our belief that time and dedication initiated in the Early Years setting with parents, carers and agencies, builds fundamental relationships with children’s families upon arrival to our school. Practitioners in the Early Years setting make exceptional links with desirable agencies and nursery provisions, whereby children meet the class teacher long before arrival, as well as discussing their interests and attainment with appropriate adults.

Our thoughtful and thorough parent appointments, open classroom and staggered start program, allows parents to engage in the school’s ethos prior to their children starting school. These exceptional links allow the children and their families to have a smoother transition into school life, allowing the children to have an essence of self confidence and awareness immediately and their relationships with peers and staff have already been made. 


What do we want to achieve? 


In the Foundation Stage we believe that our children should feel safe and happy in a stimulating learning environment, which allows them to reach their best academically, but also developing their thirst for knowledge, fostering a love of learning and leave our school with exceptional independent learning skills.


From this, we expect that all children within the Early Years setting make strong progress from their accurate starting points assessed through their initial baseline assessments. Along with the statutory baseline assessments that all reception classes are required to carry out, our school undertake our very own assessments too. These baseline statements are taken from the Development Matters Framework and are used to address areas of weakness and strengths within the earliest stages of the children’s schooling experiences. These are recorded and used to plan the provision for the cohort, addressing all areas of particular focus. Practitioners in the foundation stage make professional judgements as to where they believe the children are working at. These then link and are continuously monitored through the observations recorded on Tapestry and by having termly meetings with SLT using Target Tracker to support.


Curriculum Overview 


Each year a curriculum overview plan is created based on the information we have received from the parents and children during the come and play sessions, parent appointments, nursery visits etc. These overviews can change overtime dependent on the cohort and children’s interest, but factor in general themes to cover (based on the expectations of those in the foundation stage using Development Matters and Birth to 5) and linking possible texts and wow moments. 



 

Implementation 


Transition into Reception and engagement with parents


Starting school can be a daunting affair for both children and parents. At Chacewater School we make every effort to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible. Once we have the confirmed list of new starters (usually after the Easter holidays) we will write to everyone and invite them to a personal meeting with the Head teacher and Reception Teacher so we can begin to get to know the family. 

 

In the summer term we plan a number of 'Come & Play' sessions for children who will be starting school with us in September. Children attending Stepping Stones Day Nursery in the village will be brought to visit for two of these sessions. If your child attends a different setting, or doesn't attend any pre-school, they are invited to come to as many of these sessions as they can to get to know their new friends. 

 

The class teacher will also make a personal visit to children in local pre-school settings. This will give her a chance to talk to your child's key worker and find out a little more about them and see them in an environment they are comfortable in. 

 

Parents are then invited to an Open Afternoon to meet the uniform provider, After-school club, school caterers and Friends of Chacewater School. They will also have the opportunity to meet Governors, the Acorns Class staff and visit the classroom with their child. 

 

A 'Starting School' booklet is provided to support families with all the information they might need about our school. This booklet is updated every year to make sure it reflects the needs of our families. 



Balance of child-initiated activities and adult led activities.


A thoughtful process is constructed to ensure that all children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are accessing a range of different adult led activities and child led activities. 


How do we deliver this in phonics? 

  • The children are assessed and accurately placed into groupings according to their individual needs. Each group consists of 5/6 children. Children access 2 adult led activities which are led by the teacher and the teaching assistant. One focus is on reading and the other is on writing.

  • The children then access child led activities which are set up to make links to the learning that is taking place. These activities link back to the sound of the day, reading opportunities and fine and gross motor skills to build up their finger strength and muscles for writing.

  • Links are also made throughout continuous provision opportunities daily.

  • Use of hook books to navigate learning.


How do we deliver this in Maths? 

  • We follow the Mastering Number project and have great emphasis on children representing and understanding numbers to 10. We delve deeper into the children’s understanding of number and ways we can represent these in different ways. 

  • We run 3 adult led activities of 5/6 children where our focus looks at objectives from Development Matters and the Mastery Number Project, along with a focus of the number of the week. 

  • Our continuous provision opportunities allow children to make links to previous learning opportunities, links to the numbers of the week, links to subitising and mastering number and a challenge station. These are recorded on Tapestry and discussed/assessed with all practitioners in the room. 



Early Reading 


Reading is at the heart of our curriculum.  


At Chacewater School, Phonics is delivered throughout KS1 and EYFS similarly. 


In Early Years we first begin with phonological awareness, where we focus on the children’s listening and hearing skills. During the staggered start process we assess the children and begin to teach the initial set 1 sounds using Read Write Inc. 


The teacher delivers a speed sound lesson to the whole class which includes the ‘sound of the day’’, rhyme and handwriting process and objects that also begin with the sound of the day. We also link early reading, oral blending and CVC recognition into these sessions as well. 


At the beginning of the year, children are then rotated in their house teams (before the initial RWI assessments take place at the end of the first half term). Children focus on the sound taught with a range of different activities. These rotations include 2 adult led activities with a focus on reading and writing and a mixture of independent activities that the children can access and make links to what has been taught. These independent activities always link to the sound of the day, the formation of sounds and finger strength exercises. Once the initial RWI assessments are completed, children work in differentiated groups in a rotation of activities catered to the children’s needs. 


Reading underpins our schools’ approach to learning and therefore as well as this, phonics and reading is essential to all areas of the curriculum. Continuous provision activities are set up with reading at the heart of what we teach. As well as this, hook books underpin the children’s learning and are used to encourage discussion and promote each topic which is taught across the EYFS year. Children are given enriching opportunities to delve into story telling and sequencing using story stages, story spoons and tough trays that link to the book of the week. We also visit the Library weekly to create a essence of reading for pleasure. 


Approaches to building Early Mathematical skills


Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. In Early Years our aim is to build a strong association with number and a deepening understanding of how numbers can be characterised using varied resources, environments and representations to help them with this. 


By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.


How do we deliver this at Chacewater? 


  • Maths session always begins with a song – relating to the Development Matters framework, something the children need to know by the end of the reception year.

  • Maths sessions always begin with a teacher input. Number of the week (focusing on NCETM and Numberblocks). Different ways to represent a numeral or number, is taught at the beginning of a lesson to allow children to see that numbers can be represented in a variety of different ways: eg: hands, fingers, dice, numicon etc. This year we are also taking part in the Mastery Number project.

  • At the beginning of the week and as part of an assessment tool, children access learning around the room in a continuous provision style, allowing teachers and TA’s to assess what the children already know and what they don’t. This then helps the delivery of the rest of the week’s planning. Teacher and TA’s then revisit this on their Friday sessions and assessments and observations of the children in that week are then put into a folder on Tapestry and are assessed as a group and then as an individual child. Pictures are uploaded onto Tapestry of the 4 sessions children all took part in over the course of the week. 

  • Maths sessions are the separated into three groups (adult led). These groups are always practical and looking over different ways of visualising and representing. Children rotate through these groups over the course of the week and each teacher/TA has an objective (taken from the Development Matters Framework) in which helps assess the children and what they can/can’t do. This then helps reinforce planning for the next week. 

  • Our independent groups where the children access the provision themselves are broken down into – Learning that has been taught previously, learning that links to Mastering Number, Learning that links to the number of the week. 


A mixture of inside and outside provision is used to implement these sessions with the children, and different methods and teaching styles used throughout. These opportunities are set up for children to access across the course of the week in afternoon continuous provision opportunities,

 amongst other things related to the weekly topic choice. 


Timetable – an example of a weekly timetable and the use of RWI and Maths timetables and how the sessions run are addressed below:


 







In each subject, provisions for adult led activities and continuous provision opportunities are planned. The use of groupings is allocated and each adult working with a child/group has a specific focus which is adapted and catered to the needs of the children in their groups. 

Transition from Reception in to Y1

At Chacewater School, we are committed to making the transition throughout all children’s lives as stress free as possible. Therefore, in EYFS, we prepare the children for their transition to year 1 with a progression of skills and expectations throughout their year of learning. Children are provided with transition slots to get to know their teacher before they start and buddy classes are offered to classes in order for children throughout the school to get to know each other and their teachers beforehand. 

 


Impact

Through the delivery of a well-planned and challenging curriculum we aim that the pupils will leave the Early Years foundation stage with transferrable skills needed to start Key Stage 1. This will be measured at the end of reception as to whether the pupils have achieved a Good Level of Development. We aim that the pupils will leave the Early Years being able to read, have good personal, social and emotional skills, show a good level of listening and be resilient learners with inquisitive minds who are keen to learn.