We have created a ‘Teaching, Learning and Assessment Charter’ that underpins best practice in every learning session.
At St Michael’s Infant School we recognise the significance that children’s prior learning has on their ability to understand and assimilate the next step in a learning sequence. We provide learning experiences that allow children to build on previous knowledge and skills in both individual subject disciplines as well as across other areas of the curriculum. We want children to know what they are learning and why they are learning it. We intend to make learning clear and sequential so that all learners, regardless of educational need, have opportunities to make good or better progress.
We want children to leave our school being able to use our values and curriculum as frameworks to understand, appreciate and celebrate difference and diversity. We want our children to be aware of the power of social action and to be involved. We encourage critical thinkers who can use high-level vocabulary as a gateway to confidence so they are ready for their next learning phase. We intend, through our curriculum, for children to have high aspirations for themselves and to know that they have can be a historian, a writer, a geographer and so much more! We intend children to have the resilience to never put a ceiling on what can be achieved and never underestimate their potential!
CORE SUBJECT INFORMATION
READING AND PHONICS
Systematic synthetic phonics is essential for the teaching of reading. At St Michael’s we use the Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with phonics and reading. Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes (written letters or letter combinations). RWI is a successful, government validated reading programme that enables every child to become a confident and fluent reader. The speed sounds are divided into small sets. Once your child has learnt all of the sounds in one set, they can move on to sound blending the letters in that set, to read words. Children will be given books that have been closely matched to their phonic ability; they will read these to you several times in order to develop fluency and automaticity.
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Alongside systematic phonics, we want to develop a love of reading among our children by sharing a wide and range of texts across different genres. The children will be given high quality texts that you will read to them, in order to develop their language and comprehension skills.
We love to write – stories, poems, lists, recipes, biographies and more. We provide wonderful opportunities to inspire the children’s creative writing. We also teach the children the ‘purpose’ for their writing, i.e. to entertain or to inform. We are very proud of our handwriting and the children work hard to keep it neat and of a high standard. We follow the Nelson handwriting scheme across KS1 and Early Years.
Children enjoy learning mathematics at St Michael’s. We build strong foundations in mathematical understanding from the outset. Children learn with physical manipulatives initially, then with pictorial examples and lastly with abstract numbers, so that they have a firm mental point of reference on which to develop their maths. We use the ‘White Rose’ scheme of work across the school, including EYFS. Alongside this, we use ‘Master the Curriculum’ resources and are currently engaging with the NCTEM ‘mastering number’ programme. We ensure that all children have a ‘can do’ attitude and always try their best to tackle a new maths challenge. We promote a safe environment in which making mistakes is part of the process by which we develop resilience and grow in our abilities. We encourage all children to develop their fluency in maths understanding, their natural curiosity in solving problems and their ability to explain their answers using reasoning.
Science encourages a curiosity in the world around us and we support this curiosity with substantive knowledge. Lessons are linked with topic themes and children are encouraged to explore and research concepts outside of school so they can add to their knowledge base over time. Children are offered opportunities to pose their own scientific questions and to explore different ways of investigating answers and learning about fair tests. We regularly take our learning outside and make the most of our rural, school environment. Learning is divided into different areas. Year 1 study plants, seasonal changes, everyday materials and animals including humans. Year 2 also study these areas but look at living things and their habitats instead of seasonal changes.
Early years learning links to Key Stage 1 learning through various short, topic based, meaningful activities such as ‘leaf exploration’ and ‘my body’.
For the Topic Web and Curriculum Overview for each class please see the Class pages.
Helping my child with reading and maths
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Our relationships and sex education programme is taught alongside our PSHE curriculum, much of this is done through well-chosen children’s books.
PSHE and Relationships and Sex Education
Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education; programme is tailored to best meet the needs of our infant children in the complex and changing world that they live in. Our children are encouraged to explore our school values and ‘Bee Rules’ and British values throughout their time with us and use them as a basis for making good choices. They will learn about staying safe, happy and healthy, including on-line safety, and explore risk and how to manage this. They will be encouraged to ask questions to help them understand everything we talk about. Relationships and Sex education is now a statutory part of our curriculum. Much of our learning will be done through the ‘Story Project’ which uses high quality well-chosen children’s texts as a vehicle to deliver learning outcomes.
Our aim is to provide our children with the knowledge and skills necessary to make safe and informed decisions about themselves and others now and in the future.
We make a strong commitment at St. Michael’s Infant School, that our children will be healthy and happy in mind and body. During their time here, they will experience a wide range of high quality, fun and engaging physical educational experiences that give them a passion for an active lifestyle and provide them with a range of knowledge and skills that they will use and develop in their later life. They will work to improve themselves as individuals and to learn the joy of being part of a team. We will encourage them to manage risks and learn from their mistakes. The children have access to a broad and varied range of sporting activities for at least 2 hours a week, regular physical rest breaks and after school clubs which enable children to develop their particular passions and skills.
Here at St. Michael’s, forest school is now an established and integral part of our curriculum. Led by Mrs Stewart, our Level 3 leader, all pupils take part in weekly forest school sessions using our adjacent woodland space. The children are given opportunities to learn through nature, linking this learning to other areas of the curriculum such as Science and Humanities. They build confidence and self-esteem through hands on experiences in their outdoor classroom. They have the chance to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves; learning transferable life skills and getting to know and love their environment. Play and choice are an essential part of the learning process within each session, with most sessions following a child led approach.
We offer discrete computing lessons, through our Purple Mash scheme of work, as well as opportunities to use technology within other areas of the curriculum. Children will be taught a range of computing skills, such as using technology to create, store and manipulate information, creating and debugging simple digital programs and algorithms and using technology safely. Please refer to our Online Safety Policy for more information on this area.
In Reception, the children explore technology, use Bee Bots to program and take part in online safety learning.
Art and Design
At St. Michael’s we provide an Art and Design curriculum which inspires, challenges and equips children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. Planning is mainly topic based and taught through discrete lessons. Planning covers a range of visual arts, these include painting, drawing and sculpture.
In early years, the children learn to experiment with media and materials. They use a variety of tools and techniques to create drawings, paintings and sculptures.
In Key Stage 1, the children are given opportunities to develop creativity and imagination, working with a vast range of media and materials. They will make and take ownership of their own sketchbooks to allow their ideas and creativity to flourish. They will evaluate and analyse their creative works and the works of their peers. They will build substantive knowledge over the Key Stage about a range of great artists, craft makers and designers.
Art work is celebrated in displays throughout the school and externally where appropriate.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology prepares children to take part in the development of tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. The subject requires children to combine their designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding in order to design, make and evaluate their pieces. At St. Michael’s we seek to offer exciting, purposeful projects linked to our topics to encourage our children to become autonomous and creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team.
Musical education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.
In early years, the children will learn to engage and talk about music, they will sing while thinking about pitch and melody and they will explore and engage with music making, dance and performance.
In Key stage 1, the children will learn to use their voices expressively, play tuned and untuned instruments musically, listen to a range of high-quality live and recorded music and learn about a range of musical genres such as hip hop, reggae, pop and classical.
At St Michael’s we follow the Charanga scheme of work across early years and KS1 and in addition to this, we have weekly singing sessions and performance opportunities throughout the year.
Our curriculum is delivered through a combination of topic led and discrete lessons.
In early years, the History focus is very much on the memories of the child, e.g they may be asked to remember a special event, routine or custom for their family. They may talk about differences between different family members or different generations. They will use simple topic vocabulary such as old, new, then and now. The Geography is linked to discussing things such as where they live and what they notice about the world around them, patterns in nature and weather and simple mapping of places and things.
In Key Stage 1, children will learn about specific people or events that are both within and beyond living history. An example of this includes people like Neil Armstrong, Tim Peake, Grace Darling and Mary Anning. We look at events such as The Great Fire of London. There will often be a very strong link to a local event or person.
In Geography, we encourage pupils to be curious about the world around them.
In early years, the children learn to make sense of their physical world and their community by exploring, observing, and finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
In Key Stage 1, the children will begin to develop a geographical vocabulary by learning about where they live, as well as one other small area of the United Kingdom and a small area in a contrasting non-European country. They will learn about weather patterns in the United Kingdom and hot and cold areas of the world. They will use ICT, world maps, atlases and globes, simple compass directions, aerial photographs and plans, as well as simple fieldwork and observational skills.
Meet the Teacher Information