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Curriculum Explained: Early Years


Overview

1

Our curriculum is largely based on the English National Curriculum and draws directly from the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework that is taught in all Early Years departments in England & Wales.

2

The curriculum is based on the philosophy that young children learn best through a play-based curriculum with a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities centered around topics.

3

The curriculum is based on the philosophy that young children learn best through a play-based curriculum with a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities centered around topics.

4

Lessons and activities are carefully differentiated in order to cater for a range of ability levels, allowing each child to draw the most out of each school day.

5

The school day and all learning environments are designed to create a secure, well-organised and lively environment that encourages learning.

6 7

Children are continually assessed to make sure they are suitably challenged. We apply a patient approach to each child’s learning and are mindful of the variable rate of development seen across children of this age. All class teachers are trained to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which ensures consistency and continuity as children progress from one year to the next.


1 Our curriculum is based on the English National Curriculum and draws directly from the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework that is taught in all Early Years departments in England & Wales.


The curriculum at our school is based on the National Curriculum for England & Wales.

Secondary

English National Curriculum

Primary Age Early Years Age

Year Group

Year Group

Age Grade (US)

Key Stage 1 Grade (US)

Foundation Stage

Year Group

Grade (US)

Key Stage 3 11-12

Year 7

Grade 6

5-6

Year 1

Kindergarten

12-13

Year 8

Grade 7

6-7

Year 2

Grade 1

13-14

Year 9

Grade 8

2-3

Pre-Nursery

Toddler

3-4

Nursery

Pre-K

7-8

Year 3

Grade 2

14-15

Year 10

Grade 9

4-5

Reception

Pre-K

8-9

Year 4

Grade 3

15-16

Year 11

Grade 10

9-10

Year 5

Grade 4

10-11

Year 6

Grade 5

Key Stage 2

IGCSE

A-Level 16-17

Year 12

Grade 11

17-18

Year 13

Grade 12


Learning is divided into six major areas of learning and aims to cover all the skills required to prepare a pupil for Primary education.

English National Curriculum

Personal, Social & Emotional Development

Your child will be provided with experiences that enable them to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. Your child’s emotional well-being will be supported by helping them to know themselves and what they can do. They will be encouraged to develop respect for others, social skills and a positive disposition to learn.

Communication, Language & Literacy

Your child will learn to become competent in communicating, speaking and listening, being read to and beginning to read and write. Your child will also be given the confidence, opportunity, encouragement, support and disposition to use the skills in a range of situations and for a range of purposes.

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

Your child will develop their understanding of problem solving, reasoning and numeracy in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practice and talk about their developing understanding. They will be provided with opportunities for practice to develop children’s confidence and competence food.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Your child will develop the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. Your child will be given opportunity to learn to use a range of tools safely, encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real-life situations, undertake practical experiments and work with a range of materials.

Creative Development

Your child’s creativity will be extended by supporting their curiosity, exploration and play. They will be given opportunities to explore, share their thoughts, ideas and feelings, for example through a variety of art, music, movement, dance, imaginative role-play activities, mathematics, and design and technology.

Physical Development

Your child will be given opportunities to learn through being active and interactive, improving their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. They will be encouraged to use all of their senses to learn about the world around them and to make connections between new information and what they already know. Your child will develop an understanding of the importance of making healthy choices in relation to every day life.


The Areas of Learning are broken down into more specific skill sets each with clearly defined learning objectives for the year.

English National Curriculum

Discipline

Pre-Nursery Objectives

Nursery Objectives

Reception Objectives

Language for Communication

Learn new words very rapidly and are able to use them in communicating about matters which interest them.

Respond to simple instructions. Question why things happen and give explanations.Use vocabulary focused on objects and people.

Have confidence to speak to others about their own wants and interests.Use talk to gain attention and use action rather than talk to explain to others.

Language for Thinking

Use language as a powerful means of widening contacts, sharing feelings, experiences and thoughts.

Use talk to connect ideas, explain what is happening and anticipate what might happen next.

Begin to use talk to pretend imaginary situations.Use language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences.

Linking Letters and Sounds

Distinguish one sound from another.Show interest in play with sounds, songs and rhymes. Repeat words or phrases from familiar stories.

Enjoy rhyming and rhythmic activities. Show awareness of rhyme and alliteration. Recognise rhythm in spoken words.

Continue a rhyming string. Hear and say the initial sound in words and know which letters represent some of the sounds.

Listen to and join in with stories and poems, one-to-one and also in small groups. Begin to be aware of the way stories are structured.

Enjoy an increasing range of books. Know that information can be retrieved from books and computers. Explore and experiment with sounds and words.

Sometimes give meaning to marks as they draw and paint. Ascribe meanings to marks that they see in different places.

Attempt writing for different purposes, using features of different forms of writing such as lists, stories and instructions.

Reading

Have some favorite stories, rhymes, songs, poems or jingles.

Writing

Distinguish between the different marks they make.

This table is an extract from the Foundation Stage Framework Learning Objectives. It is shown here for the purpose of illustration.


Each year’s learning objectives are carefully defined to ensure continuity and progression as pupils progress through the Early Years.

English National Curriculum

Discipline

Pre-Nursery Objectives

Nursery Objectives

Reception Objectives

Language for Communication

Learn new words very rapidly and are able to use them in communicating about matters which interest them.

Respond to simple instructions. Question why things happen and give explanations.Use vocabulary focused on objects and people.

Have confidence to speak to others about their own wants and interests.Use talk to gain attention and use action rather than talk to explain to others.

Language for Thinking

Use language as a powerful means of widening contacts, sharing feelings, experiences and thoughts.

Use talk to connect ideas, explain what is happening and anticipate what might happen next.

Begin to use talk to pretend imaginary situations.Use language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences.

Linking Letters and Sounds

Distinguish one sound from another.Show interest in play with sounds, songs and rhymes. Repeat words or phrases from familiar stories.

Enjoy rhyming and rhythmic activities. Show awareness of rhyme and alliteration. Recognise rhythm in spoken words.

Continue a rhyming string. Hear and say the initial sound in words and know which letters represent some of the sounds.

Reading

Have some favorite stories, rhymes, songs, poems or jingles.

Listen to and join in with stories and poems, one-to-one and also in small groups. Begin to be aware of the way stories are structured.

Enjoy an increasing range of books. Know that information can be retrieved from books and computers. Explore and experiment with sounds and words.

Distinguish between the different marks they make.

Sometimes give meaning to marks as they draw and paint. Ascribe meanings to marks that they see in different places.

Attempt writing for different purposes, using features of different forms of writing such as lists, stories and instructions.

Writing

This table is an extract from the Foundation Stage Framework Learning Objectives. It is shown here for the purpose of illustration.


Enhanced Curriculum

2 We enhance the curriculum by including a second language, music, educational visits and a range of other activities that are designed to enrich pupils learning experience.


In addition to the standard curriculum offered in the UK, our curriculum includes additional areas of learning

Enhanced Curriculum

Local Language

We feel that it is very important that children learn about the customs and language of their host country. All children in the Foundation Stage therefore take part in the language programme, which is taught by a native speaking teacher. In the Foundation Stage children receive a minimum of three hours of language lessons every week. We typically have two programmes, one for native speakers (Advanced programme) and one for those children who are learning the as an additional language (SAL). Extra curricular activities, focusing on culture, are also oered.

Instrumental Music Programmes

We support the children’s creativity through a variety of musical activities. We have an extensive range of age appropriate musical instruments and the children are given opportunities to express themselves through singing, music and movement. All of the Foundation Stage children are exposed to music on a daily basis. In Pre-Nursery and Nursery they have a 45 minute music lesson in the morning, Receptions takes place in the afternoon.

Art. Drama and Dance

Creative activities play a huge part in learning in the Foundation Stage. Children who attend Foundation Stage all day will have one specialist lesson a week focussing on specific art skills and techniques. Throughout the rest of the week, children will have access to art type activities either through lessons planned by their class teacher or the creative area that is set up in the classroom. In addition to this, your child will have specialist lessons in Dance each class will have a 45 minute dance session each week.


Topic Based Learning

3 The curriculum is based on the philosophy that young children learn best through a play-based curriculum with a balance of adult led and childinitiated activities centered around topics.


Work is organised into topics, which create a context that is relevant and engaging, providing a basis for fun activities to reinforce learning. Pre-Nursery Themes

Nursery Themes

Reception Themes

Autumn Term

Topic Based Learning

All About Me School Christmas

Ourselves Traditional Tales The Jungle Christmas

Myself & Important People Around Me Festivals & Celebrations Science Investigations

Spring Term

Traditional Tales Chinese New Year The Farm Easter

Weather Chinese New Year Mini beasts Seasons & Growth Easter

Food & Keeping Healthy New Life & Growth Science Investigations

Summer Term Transport Fruits & Vegetables Water

Sea life Holidays Music

Above is an example of what might be taught during an academic year to pupils of the Foundation Stage.

The World Around Us Journeys & Transport Science Investigations


Activities are varied, some will be teacher-led while others are set out for pupils to engage in them independently with support. Topic: Pirates

Topic Based Learning

Area: Communication, Language and Literacy Activity A, Pirate ship role play. Set up the role play area as a pirate ship and add props as the week progresses (children will make eye patches, hats and coins) Include : treasure chest and gold pieces, pirates hats, hooks, costumes, stories about pirates, binoculars, maps, a plank.

Adult introduced then child initiated.

Activity B, Children go to the library, the teacher encourages them to find any books linked with the pirate theme (perhaps find and plant a few in key places before hand). E.g. “Pirate Pete and the baby”, “Kettle Ship Pirates” by Rodney Peppe. Back in the classroom, share in a individual or small group situation. Teacher will stop the story at a key point and ask the children to guess or predict what will happen next? Can they name characters? Can they name setting?

Adult led.

Activity C, Children make up their own pirate adventures orally with a teacher. Answer questions like- where do they travel, who do they see? What do they find? Does anyone try to stop them? Etc. Then children can make their own mini books about pirate adventures. Children can draw pictures and emergent write captions. Can they explain their story to a friend or adult?

Child initiated.

Activity D, Letter formation practise. Children write the letter ‘P’ on the interactive whiteboard (IWB) when completed 5 practise attempts correctly, they move on to the next activity.

Child initiated.

Above is an example of a ‘Topic’ based lesson plan, designed to be taught to pupils of the Foundation Stage.


Pre-planned activities relate to specific objectives within the six Areas of Learning. Activities typically stem from the current topic. Personal and Emotional Development (PSED)

Communication, Language and Literacy (CLL)

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy (PSRN)

Show care and concern for others, for living things and the environment

Topic Based Learning

Use language and other forms of communication to share the things they create, or to indicate personal satisfaction or frustration.

Show an interest in the world in which they live. Pirates chase other boats, fight other pirates and take their treasure (stealing). Is this right? What could they do instead? I.e. Chase boats, share treasure and have party!! Are Pirates real? Ask children what they know about pirates.

Look at globe and spot land and sea. Children sit in circle and roll inflatable globe across to a friend. As they roll the globe, encourage them to call out “land “or “Sea”, and as soon as the recipient gets the globe they must point to land or sea.

Children stick ready made cut outs of palm tree, island shape, x, shark fins and mountains onto a piece of paper to make their own pirate maps. Make the paper look old by using tea bags.

Areas

Objectives

Topic: Pirates

Activities

Knowledge and Understanding of the World (KUW)

Objectives

Areas

Children make up their own pirate adventures orally with a teacher. Answer questions likewhere do they travel, who do they see? What do they find? Does anyone try to stop them? Etc. Then children can make their own mini books about pirate adventures. Children can draw pictures and emergent write captions.

Play ‘Pirates game’ Teacher calls out pirate actions for the children to respond… e.g. climb the rigging, scrub the deck, salute the captain, walk the plank...

Negotiate space successfully when playing racing and chasing games with other children, adjusting speed or changing direction to avoid obstacles.

Activities

Discuss how pirates like to find treasure, and one of their favourite treasures is…”diamonds”. Show children a diamond shape, count the sides together. Look at diamond shapes and look at how it is different from a square because it has a point at both the top and the bottom.

Begin to be aware of the way stories are structured.

Show awareness of similarities in shapes in the environment.

Creative Development (CD)

Above is an example of how ‘Topic’ based lessons, relate to the six areas of learning.

Physical Development (PD)


Differentiation

4 Lessons and activities are carefully differentiated in order to cater for a range of ability levels, allowing each child to draw the most out of each school day.


We believe children thrive from challenges. Activities are designed to be accessible to all whilst providing a challenge to those ready to progress.

On the carpet

Differentiation

Guided task with teacher (differentiated)

Monday

Tuesday

Read Penguin Small by Mick Inkpen. Ask children questions about the story. Where did the story take place? (cold, icy, snowy, ocean) Who was main character? How did Penguin Small feel at the beginning of the story? Terrified. What other words can children think of that mean the same or similar to how Penguin Small was feeling when his friends left him? Sad, frightened, scared, unhappy, afraid... Discuss words that mean the opposite of these feelings (happy, excited, confident).

Read The Emperors Egg by Martin Jenkins. This book is an information book and gives facts about penguins. Make a list on f/c of words that were used to describe the penguins in both the books we have read – their appearance & the way they moved (beak, wings, fluffy, feathers, soft, flipper, flapping, swim). What other words associated with penguins can children think of? (Waddle, sliding, white belly, King, diving, South Pole).

Easy children suggest words to describe a polar bear. Write these on f/c asking children for initial letter sounds. Model correct formation of letters. Give children a picture of a polar bear (see resources). They choose a descriptive word, read it and copy it onto their polar bear. Decorate with polar scenery and animals. .

Easy Look at a list of descriptive words (see resources). Read & sort – start Guided task with by finding words Penguin & Whale – Teaching Assistant Sort the words to match the (differentiated) creatures. Tell children they will choose one list of words in their ICT activity.

Wednesday Tell children that today they will write a class shape poem about a penguin. Read list of descriptive penguin words from Tuesday with children. Using enlarged picture of a penguin (see resources) invite children to copy words from list onto the penguin. They can write the word in any way they choose. (sideways, big, small, around the edges) Model how to do this. Explain that this is a shape poem – all the words are associated with the picture. There are no sentences & the words don’t have to rhyme.

Thursday Show children how to construct a shape poem through a Power Point presentation (see resources). Slowly click revealing one word at a time. Can children work out what the shape poem will be by reading the words? Finish by revealing the picture. Alternatively, write words randomly on f/c to describe an apple and finish by drawing an apple around the words.

Medium Ask children to write a list of words to describe a polar bear and its surroundings on LHS of their w/bs. On RHS they write words for a penguin. Underline any words that describe both the penguin and polar bear. Choose one list to copy onto the outline of the creatures (see resources).

Medium Point out that penguin & polar bear both start with the same sound. Write ‘paddling penguin’ & ‘perfect polar bear’ for children to read. children think of more words to add to the alliterative phrases. TA to scribe – how long a phrase can we think of?

Above is an example of differentiation used in a Communication, Language and Literacy lesson to a Reception class (4-5 years old)

Friday Tell children they are going to write a song using all of their knowledge about penguins from the week. Hum the tune of Frere Jacques – The song is eight lines long & each line is repeated. Show children an example about penguins (see resources). Sing the song to children & ask them to sing along with the second repeated line. Ask children to suggest ways to change the song using what they know about penguins. Write their ideas on f/c in the same layout. Finish the song with the final verse “We are penguins …..”

Hard As Med – checking spelling of words in a dictionary (or in story books). Use correct formation of letters. Vary the size of their letters to make presentation more interesting. `


Activities & Environment

5 The school day and all learning environments are designed to create a secure, well-organised and lively environment that encourages learning.


Learning activities take place in and out of the classroom making the day manageable and enjoyable with some lessons taught by specialists.

Assembly

Communication, Language & Literacy

Communication, Language & Literacy

Thursday

Personal & Emotional Development

Communication, Language & Literacy

Friday

Assembly

Period 3

Period 4

Problem Solving, Reasoning & Numeracy

Personal & Problem Solving, Emotional Reasoning & Development Numeracy

Personal & Emotional Development

Wednesday

15 mins

Period 5

Communication, Language & Literacy

Music

Local Language Lesson

Problem Solving, Reasoning & Numeracy

Problem Solving, Reasoning & Numeracy

1 hour

Local Language Lesson

Communication, Language & Literacy

Problem Solving, Reasoning & Numeracy

Period 6

Music

Local Language Lesson

Lunch Break

Tuesday

Period 2

Morning Break

Activities & Environment

Monday

Period 1

Period 7

Period 8

Period 9

Period 10

Creative Development

Topic Time

Story Time

Instrumental Music

Knowledge & Physical Understanding of Development the World

Story Time

Creative Development

Topic Time

Story Time

Instrumental Music

Knowledge & Physical Understanding of Development the World

Story Time

Dance / Drama

Typically taught by a specialist teacher.

Above is an example timetable and indicates approximate distribution of time between areas of learning during a week to pupils of the Reception class.

Extra Curricular Activities


Teachers structure playtime in ways that encourage learning and stimulate a child´s most powerful asset, their imagination.

Activities & Environment

In the Early Years Foundation Stage we recognise that the outdoor environment is a rich, dynamic and natural space for learning and development. Its value as an essential learning resource has been identified by many pieces of research. Early Years teachers acknowledge that being outdoors has a positive impact on children's sense of well-being and helps all aspects of children's development. Learning outside offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors. It gives children first-hand contact with weather, seasons and the natural world. Teaching and learning in outdoor environments offer children freedom to explore, use their senses, and be physically active and exuberant. In the Early Years Foundation Stage we use outdoor environments for children’s independent learning time. During break times or lunchtimes activities that include the six areas of learning are often provided and the children can explore them at their own pace. The outdoor environment is often used within our Literacy and Numeracy lessons. Literacy can be experienced outside by exploring writing and mark making with chalk on floors and walls, in mud, or even writing words and letters sounds using ribbons on the grass. For listening skills in Literacy a sound walk around the school grounds can help children to tune in to environmental sounds. For Numeracy activities we can order numbers outside, play games where children can be physically active whilst counting, we can hide numbers or shapes around the outside areas and be detectives on a numeracy hunt. We can explore capacity outside in the sandpit, using soil or water. The ways in which outdoor learning can be incorporated into everyday lessons are endless. We incorporate outdoor learning as often as possible into our daily routines because we understand it has equal value to indoor learning and has a positive impact on children’s well-being and development.


6 Assessment

Children are continually assessed to make sure they are suitably challenged. We apply a patient approach to each child’s learning and are mindful of the variable rate of development seen across children of this age.


Teachers use a nine point scale to track each child’s progress allowing children to progress at a pace corresponding to their maturity. Language for Communication and Thinking

Assessment

Linking Sounds and Letters

Reading

Writing

1. Listens and responds.

1. Joins in with rhyming and rhythmic activities.

1. Is developing an interest in books.

1. Experiments with mark-making, sometimes ascribing meaning to the marks.

2. Initiates communication with others, displaying greater confidence in more informal contexts.

2. Shows an awareness of rhyme and alliteration.

2. Knows that print conveys meaning.

2. Uses some clearly identifiable letters to communicate meaning.

3. Talks activities through, reflecting on and modifying actions.

3. Links some sounds to letters.

3. Recognises a few familiar words.

3. Represents some sounds correctly in writing.

4. Listens with enjoyment to stories, songs, rhymes and poems, sustains attentive listening and responds with relevant comments, questions or actions.

4. Links sounds to letters, naming and sounding letters of the alphabet.

4. Knows that, in English, print is read from left to right and top to bottom.

4. Writes own name and other words from memory.

5. Hears and says sounds in words.

5. Shows an understanding of the elements of stories, such as main character, sequence of events and openings.

5. Holds a pencil and uses it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.

5. Uses language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences 6. Interacts with others in a variety of contexts, negotiating plans and activities and taking turns in conversation.

6. Blends sounds in words.

6. Reads a range of familiar and common 6. Attempts writing for a variety of purposes, words and simple sentences using features of different forms. independently.

7. Uses talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events, exploring the meanings and sounds of new words.

7. Uses phonic knowledge to read simple regular words.

7. Retells narratives in the correct sequence, drawing on language patterns of stories.

7. Uses phonic knowledge to write simple regular words and make phonetically plausible attempts at more complex words.

8. Speaks clearly with confidence and control, showing awareness of the listener.

8. Attempts to read more complex words, using phonic knowledge.

8. Shows an understanding of how information can be found in non-fiction texts to answer questions about where, who, why and how.

8. Begins to form captions and simple sentences, sometimes using punctuation.

9. Talks and listens confidently and with control, consistently showing awareness of the listener by including relevant detail. Uses language to work out and clarify ideas, showing control of a range of appropriate vocabulary.

9. Attempts to read more complex words, using phonic knowledge.

9. Reads books of own choice with some fluency and accuracy.

9. Communicates meaning through phrases and simple sentences with some consistency in punctuating sentences.

Teachers would typically track a child’s progress through the scale by highlighting objectives once achieved or mark with a different colour to show the child is working towards. In this example, Green = Achieved and Yellow = Working Towards.


Teachers use the assessment to plan activities and also to provide detailed and meaningful feedback to parents.

Assessment

Planning'

Learning' Ac-vi-es'

Assessment'

Observa-on'

F

ck to eedba

ts

Paren


Throughout the year parents receive various progress reports. Parents can also discuss their child’s progress at any stage prior appointment. Type

Description

Frequency

Curriculum Letter

At the beginning of each term parent receive a detailed explanation of the topics that will be covered in the term, the broad learning objectives and a list of key events.

Termly

Reports

Assessment

Parents Evening

Open Day

Communications Book

Personal Appointment

Towards the end of each term parents receive a written report detailing their child’s progress. Reports typically increase in detail and depth during the course of the school year. One-to-one appointment with the class teacher are available shortly after reports go home. This is a chance for you to review your child’s progress. Once a term, parents are invited to come into school for a morning to sit in class and take part in the mornings activities. The experience allows parents to gain an insight into how their child learns at school.

Termly

Termly

Termly

The communications book travels to and from school every day with the child. Teachers will use it to convey any important information to parents and vice-versa.

Daily

Parents always have the opportunity to schedule and appointment with their child’s teacher to discuss any matter concerning their child’s progress in school.

On demand

The above is an example of the types of communication available to parents from the school.


7 Assessment

All class teachers are trained to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which ensures consistency and continuity as children progress from one year to the next.


Our school looks to employ exceptional teachers. Teaching staff must have either a graduate or post graduate teaching degree combined with several years of experience teaching the English National Curriculum. Required Teaching Qualifications

Assessment

Undergraduate

Bachelor of Education (BEd) or equivalent

Post Graduate

Bachelor’s Degree + Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Master of Education (MEd)

Other

In exceptional cases, other qualifications combined with experience and/or ability can be a substitute for an undergraduate or post graduate qualification. For example, the school may employ a teacher with an early years qualification (e.g. Montessori diploma or NNEB) and a demonstrated track record as an exceptional teacher.


Our Chinese staff deliver the English National Curriculum in Chinese. In addition to their teaching degree, they are required to receive extensive training in delivering the English National Curriculum, leading to a UK Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Qualifying Chinese staff to teach the English National Curriculum

Assessment

Local Teaching Qualification

Intensive National Curriculum Training

In-service training + Post Graduate study

UK Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)



Curriculum Explained EYFS