In our Foundation Stage Unit for reception (FS2) and nursery (FS1) aged pupils, teaching and learning covers the following areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language Development
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
These areas of learning encompass aspects of all those ‘subjects’ in later phases of education. Teachers and teaching assistants work as a team of Foundation Stage Practitioners and skilfully link learning intentions based upon themes and following children’s interests. There is a strong emphasis on active play based learning. Most important is the fostering of enjoyment of, and enthusiasm for, learning.
For all our pupils the development of social and emotional skills that support children in being confident, independent and collaborative learners is paramount. In a nutshell - a happy child will be an effective learner.
We provide a broad and balanced curriculum. All pupils are taught the following from year one onwards. We link all these subjects together holistically, creating cross-curricular links. This helps children make sense of their learning, by applying skills and knowledge in practical contexts.
Science (Including Environmental Studies)
P.E. (Physical Education)
Humanities (History and Geography)
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
Our aim is to provide a language-rich environment where children can become actively involved in developing their skills in spoken language, reading and writing. In Key Stage One this includes daily English lessons where children learn to appreciate our rich literacy heritage, to discuss and develop their ideas, and to write clearly, accurately and coherently across a range of genre. They also participate in daily phonics sessions where they develop phonological awareness and understanding of spelling patterns and rules. The same areas are covered in the Foundation Stage’s Communication and Language, and Literacy learning, but with appropriate group teaching approaches for the younger age range. The phonic and reading schemes we use are mainly "Letters and Sounds", and addtionally the use of "Jolly Phonics" in the Foundation Stage.
Reading has a high profile and our aim is for children to become independent readers with a real love of books. To this end the children are introduced to a wealth of good quality reading materials and participate in a wide range of reading activities. Children are seen as readers from the start. There is a reading workshop for parents every autumn to help support a shared approach and an understanding of how best to help at home.
To foster a partnership between school, child and home, children take books home to share with parents. A Reading Diary which goes back and forth between home and school is a valuable form of communication in which progress concerns etc. can be recorded.
As with reading, children are seen as writers from the beginning and given every opportunity to behave as writers. As their knowledge of the written word increases they will be encouraged to write in a greater variety of contexts for different purposes e.g. stories, poems, notes, instructions, recount, play scripts, recipes.
We appreciate the value of good handwriting and this is practised regularly. Correct pencil grip and letter formation is important and this is taught from the early days to enable children to develop a neat fluent style of writing. The importance of correct pencil grip and letter formation continues to be reinforced throughout Key Stage One where the children will begin to develop a joined handwriting style.
Activities such as role-play and listening to and discussing stories and poems encourage children to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and to listen to what others have to say. Throughout all our teaching of English we aim to provide good models for the children to work from.
At Loughton Manor First School we believe that all children should consider themselves to be mathematicians.
Mathematics provides a means by which children view and make sense of the world. It is a tool for life but it is far more than that. We believe that children should enjoy mathematics for its own sake, marvelling at and being excited by pattern, shape, number, etc. Mathematics at Loughton Manor First School is meaningful and exciting. Whenever possible it is linked to the real world and children’s own experiences. Mathematics is a subject that can be enjoyed both inside and outside of the classroom. At LMFS we believe that children learn best when they have access to practical apparatus and encourage them, to access what they need to help with their learning.
We have high expectations of children’s mathematics. We believe that all children must achieve to the best of their ability.
We have a strong commitment to teaching mental calculation strategies, thus developing agility and confidence with number. We use a range of teaching methods and styles to ensure that our lessons have a stimulating pace, and that the children are able to use a high level of mathematical language to explain their answers, therefore developing deep mathematical understanding and reasoning skills.
Our teaching in mathematics is founded upon the National Curriculum for Mathematics and in both FS2 and Key Stage One, children have daily mathematics lessons which always commence with a lively mental maths warm up. In Key Stage One maths lessons are either 50 minutes or an hour long. The Foundation Stage approach follows the same principles but with teaching and learning organised to be appropriate for younger learners. In particular, there is a strong emphasis on practical outdoor maths learning.
Everyday life is a journey of discovery. At Loughton Manor First School we aim to encourage our pupils to take an investigative, experimental and scientific view of the world around them.
Our children’s work is built around their own experience to bring relevance to their studies. The woodland area, enclosed pond and vegetable garden in the grounds of Loughton Manor First School are fantastic resources as they allow children to develop a greater understanding of the natural world around them.
Science is a core subject in the National Curriculum. Activities are chosen that will encourage children’s natural curiosity. We believe in creating as many opportunities as possible for our children to develop a ‘hands on’ approach to the subject. We aim to nurture skills of observation, appropriate to the children’s age and ability, which will lead to accurate recording to their findings, and a better understanding of their environment.
It is also important that scientific work results in skills of classification, logical thinking, predicting and evaluating. These are necessary in all areas of the curriculum, and Science is one of the ways in which our children will be able to achieve these skills.
As well as topic lessons during the school Year, Key Stage One classes hold regular ‘science days’ where the whole day is given over to a range of scientific investigations around a specific theme. On these investigation days we make a particular point of encouraging parent helpers to support children’s discussion and thinking.
The main aspects for our Physical Education Curriculum in Key Stage One are creative Gymnastics, Dance and Games. In addition to this children, especially Foundation Stage, but on into Key Stage One too as much as possible, have a wide range of play opportunities to develop physical skills. This is through their outdoor curriculum which includes for example, climbing equipment, wheeled vehicles and gardening, digging.
Gymnastics allows children to translate the teacher’s words into action and provides a powerful tool for language development. It allows them to create original patterns of movement using the floor and apparatus, initially by themselves, and later on with a partner. They learn to co-operate in carrying and setting out their own apparatus safely, and to begin to understand how apparatus layouts can influence how they are able to move.
Dance provides the opportunity for pupils to experience expressive movement in response to a variety of stimuli such as the teacher’s voice, creative writing, pictures, objects, percussion and music. We also value and enjoy the cultural aspects of dance by learning folk dances.
Games develops the natural skills of running, jumping, throwing, catching and striking using a variety of apparatus. Children are also introduced to the concepts of Games Making.
Pupils are encouraged from the earliest age to be responsible for the equipment they use, learning how to handle equipment safely and look after resources.
PSHE is defined as all aspects of the school’s planned provision to promote their pupils’ personal and social developments, including health and wellbeing. The central element of PSHE is the development of the child’s self-esteem. Children develop the ability to express views and feelings openly and with sensitivity, and at the same time learn more about considering the views and needs of one another. They also learn that they will be taken seriously and their opinions and suggestions are valued. Their pupil voice is also heard via the school council.
The school has an ongoing commitment to children’s health and wellbeing and sees this as a priority. In addition to regular P.E. lessons and daily break time exercise, children are encouraged to have a mid-morning snack of fresh or dried fruit or vegetables, and to have drinking water throughout the day in the classroom. For years 1 and 2 these snacks and water sipping bottles are brought from home. In the Foundation Stage children prepare their fruit daily as part of their curriculum and similarly, learn to pour drinks of water, helping themselves when desired. (FS2 have water sipping bottles too) We also participate in the Government's Fruit and Vegetable Scheme whereby every child has a free piece of fruit daily. This is in addition to their break time snack.
The school encourages families to order school milk for their children through the ‘Cool Milk at School’ subsidised milk scheme: www.CoolMilk.co.uk Milk is free up until a child’s 5th birthday, but still needs to be ordered by the family.
The History curriculum aims to give children the concepts, skills and knowledge that will enable them to develop a sense of people in different places and at different times.
Children will be taught to show an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They will gain a sense of chronology and time, allowing them to sequence events. Children will learn how to use a range of sources to learn about the past, discussing their validity and reliability. They will use these skills to identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods.
The pupils will initially learn about changes within living memory, then move on to discuss changes beyond living memory. This will include learning about significant events in the past and significant historical figures. They will also be taught about significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
Geography provokes and answers key questions about the physical and human worlds.
In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One place knowledge is developed, creating awareness of themselves in relation to their immediate surroundings of home, school and locality. Pupils then learn about locational knowledge, locating Milton Keynes on a UK map. They also learn to name and locate the countries of the UK, as well as capital cities and surrounding seas, using maps, globes, atlases and aerial photographs. Pupils then learn about human and physical geography, recognising key human and physical features, using geographical vocabulary. They consider weather patterns in the UK and compare this with other parts of the world. The children also learn to use geographical skills and fieldwork for observation.
Our ongoing family of “Travelling Teds” support the Geography curriculum. Our bear family (four bears) can be booked out by pupils, to share events in our locality, in the UK and around the world. Children tell us about their travels and adventures in a school fortnightly assembly. Photographs and writing are then displayed in school.
We are fortunate that the children, parents and staff at Loughton Manor First School share a wealth of languages as well as religious and cultural beliefs and practices. As a school we aim to make everyone feel valued and included by celebrating this diversity. We encourage the children to share their own experiences and to reflect upon the religious and cultural ways of others. We enable the children to join in and experience several key celebrations throughout the school year. We integrate a variety of cultural and moral themes into the curriculum and the daily assemblies, and we follow a comprehensive RE scheme of work which looks in detail at several religions.
Whilst assemblies and RE are non-denominational our collective worship is mainly of a Christian nature, but expressed in such a way that those of other faiths feel included. We pride ourselves on our commitment to valuing and respecting all our families and their beliefs.
Any parents who are concerned about their child’s participation should arrange to discuss the matter with the headteacher who will be glad to explain our approach in detail. We respect the right of parents to ask for their child to be withdrawn from aspects of assembly and R.E. if this is their preference.
In this technological age it is important that our children are allowed to take every opportunity to develop and improve their skills in Computing using an interactive approach to the subject which uses digital technology to enhance their learning across all subject areas.
We teach the 2014 Computing curriculum which comprises these elements:-
Computer Science – learning how digital systems work, understanding algorithms and writing and debugging computer programs (coding)
Digital Literacy - learning to be confident, creative and responsible users of technology. This includes learning how to stay safe online (e safety). We have a child-friendly internet agreement ‘Think Before You Click’ which children discuss with their parents and sign.
Information Technology – learning to use, create and manipulate digital content, including using existing software to present work and retrieving and saving work.
In KS1 the Computer Science and Digital Literacy aspects are taught primarily through weekly Computing lessons while IT skills are taught and practised mainly through creating and exploring content linked to other subject areas.
Every teacher has a laptop linked to an interactive whiteboard or touchscreen and a visualiser. These are used extensively in lessons to demonstrate ideas and present areas of learning in an exciting and engaging way. For pupil use we have a suite of 15 wireless networked laptops in Foundation Stage, and a further 30 netbooks for Key Stage 1. We have a set of digital cameras for pupil use as well as video cameras and sound recorders. We have a set of 12 BeeBot programmable toys which are used throughout the school. In Foundation Stage items such as remote controlled cars and metal detectors are available for the children to explore.
Staff in Foundation Stage use ‘Hudl’ tablets to gather photographic, recorded and written evidence to compile a Learning Journey for each child.
We subscribe to Espresso, Education City and Purple Mash - online educational content which can be accessed by pupils from home and school. Our internet access is through a broadband connection with firewall, filtering and monitoring appropriate to our educational setting.
The Design and Technology curriculum is taught through three types of activity. First, children engage in investigating products, often by taking things apart. They then complete Focused Practical Tasks in order to learn how to use particular techniques, mechanisms and tools. The skills and information gathered through these activities are used in their Design and Make activities which culminate in evaluation of their own designs and those of their group, class or year group. All activity areas are covered during the course of the year and include working with food, fabric and resistant materials. In Design and Technology children learn the importance of perseverance and use language and hands on exploration to develop and improve their ideas.
Our overall aim in Art is that we want children to enjoy having a go, because this is the best way of encouraging them to want to learn, to wish to enquire, to be creative, and be willing to ask and question. We plan our teaching in Art to include a range of media and techniques.
In curriculum terms, our aim is to provide the children with a sound basis in knowledge and understanding, skills, attitudes and values. As there is an enormous range of possible course content as set out in the National Curriculum, the specific aim is to enable pupils to become visually literate. At first school level this means that we:
(a) introduce children to visual and tactile qualities to be found all around them.
(b) introduce children to works of art from a variety of cultures and particular famous artists’ work, architecture and other aspects of design which they encounter in daily life.
(c) introduce children to the language of art, and
(d) enable children to develop critical, practical and creative skills.
We also consider Art to have significant social importance in that it contributes towards the development in each child of a personal awareness of self, as an individual and as a member of a group.
Music is an important part of our curriculum and excellence in music education is a distinctive feature for which the school is renowned. As such we view it in two ways: Firstly, it is a discipline in its own right and should be undertaken for its own rewards. It is akin to learning a new language giving children an awareness and appreciation of music and its powers of communication. Secondly, it is a strong cross-curricular subject linking Language, Arts, Drama, PE, Dance, Science, Maths and Humanities, as well as encouraging social skills and collaboration.
In our music teaching we aim to give children an awareness of the world outside themselves and lead them to an appreciation of a wide range of cultures. In addition to this, learning to perform together helps social interaction and co-operation and also develops essential skills of co-ordination, concentration, listening, confidence building, communication and self-expression.
In our approach we give children the opportunity to experience and experiment at first hand. A main aim is to impart an enjoyment of music, and we hope our pupils grow this enjoyment into a lifelong pleasure. All classes have a weekly class lesson with schemes of work and a teaching programme that covers listening and appraising, composition and performance.
Foundation Stage 2 and Key Stage One children also have a weekly singing lesson. They develop choral skills and Year 2 are introduced to early sight-reading of notation.
In Year 2 all children learn an instrument. There is the opportunity to learn the violin or the cello as a strings group, or have group trumpet lessons playing pocket trumpets which are light enough for our young learners. Parents of pupils have to pay for lessons which are provided for us by Milton Keynes Music Service. Any pupils who don’t access this tuition, enjoy recorder lessons which take place weekly at the same time as the other instrumental tuition.
Our library is stocked with books purchased by the school and supplemented by the School Library Service. The library is a major learning resource, supporting all aspects of the curriculum. It provides a wide range of publications, reflecting the diverse needs of our pupils. Children are able to develop skills in seeking information and referencing, skills which are important for all areas of their education.
Activities centred around the library are intended to encourage familiarity and confidence. We aim to enthuse children and encourage reading for pleasure and a love of books. Happy readers are better readers.
Each class has a specific ‘library time’ to share, browse and exchange books. From Reception onwards, children are able to borrow library books to take home and share with parents. We rely upon valuable volunteer helpers to help children choose and book out their library books, using our computerised system.
We want children at Loughton Manor First School to know how to use the library and to see reading as a pleasurable activity. We like the library to be seen as a place to offer both learning and enjoyment.
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