Early Years Foundation Stage
The Nursery and Reception are the first 2 years in our school. They lay all the crucial foundations for your child’s education. At this stage, children learn primarily through play. Rich learning opportunities are created by our staff in both the indoor and outdoor environments to develop social, language and physical skills. The areas of learning within the Foundation Stage are:
Our Reception children spend part of the morning based in one of our 4 learning zones:
Within each zone, children will be exposed to new concepts and skills through explanations and adult modelling. During much of the rest of the day the children have free access to many of the resources and activities on offer during the morning. During this time it is exciting to watch them choosing to independently return to challenges or creative activities which allow them to use the skills they have previously learnt.
“Synthetic phonics offers the vast majority of young
children the best and most direct route to becoming
skilled readers and writers”
Sir Jim Rose, Rose Review of Reading 2006
Early reading skills are taught through a synthetic phonics approach at Hilltop. We begin to introduce Phonics using the Letterland resources. In Nursery, children are introduced to the Letterland friends and learn the sounds that single letters make. In reception, we follow the Letters and Sounds sequence of introducing letters so that children can rapidly explore blending to build words.
We offer workshops during the year to guide parents and carers in supporting their children's development of Phonics and early reading skills. Unfortunately we are not currently able to invite parents of pupils in Key Stage 1 to join their children for our usual weekly fun practical session to practise Phonics and Grammar skills each Friday morning.
Phonics is important for children to become effective readers, but it is not the only strategy used. It forms part of our language rich curriculum, so that pupils develop their wider reading skills at the same time. From an early age pupils take home picture books to enjoy with parents and siblings. families are encouraged to enjoy familiar stories, talk about the pictures and retell the events of the story. As children become ready to start to take reading books home, they follow the progressive colour banded Read Write Inc scheme to develop their growing reading skills. As children progress through school and their reading confidence and skills grow, books from a variety of reading schemes together with books written by popular children's authors are introduced to further develop their confidence and accuracy. We encourage children to read at home with parents and carers at least four times a week. Once a child has read 4 times a week for 10 weeks, they will be awarded a special Hilltop Reading pin badge. There are three badges (bronze, silver & gold) to be earned in each year group.
Within Key Stage 1 and 2 we use the White Rose Maths programme. This programme actively supports the challenge of mixed classes in each Key Stage.
The national curriculum identifies three main aims in the primary phase:
White Rose planning supports these aims effectively. All classes have a daily maths lesson as quick challenges or tasks to develop fluency in key areas of competency. Weekly maths home learning is set using MyMaths and children from Year 2 upwards are encouraged to practise their times table knowledge using TimesTable Rockstars.
Key Stage 1 & 2 Foundation Subject Curriculum
We believe that children need to learn core knowledge whilst developing the necessary skills to make them independent thinkers who will progress through school and beyond. With this in mind, our staff have worked hard to develop a curriculum which is dynamic, broad, balanced and innovative to ensure that the children enjoy a practical, fun, challenging learning experience that will prepare them for life in 21st Century Britain. We recognise that children need a curriculum that is wider than the statutory National Curriculum. Where possible, content is covered within the context of whole term topics. Staff within each Key Stage plan together to cover all areas of the curriculum over the course of a two year rolling programme. Examples of topics at each Key Stage include:
Key Stage 1 (Years 1 & 2): Living in Windsor, Rainforests, Space
Key Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4): Exploring Japan, Ancient Egypt, Chocolate
An overview of the different curriculum areas can be seen in the Windsor Schools Curriculum Site. Specific details of this term and previous term's learning can be seen in the Learning Updates published each half term.