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Hilltop First School and Foundation Stage

Curriculum

Please click on the links below to open each of our curriculum presentation videos.  These have been produced this year as we are unable to invite parents and carers into school for live presentations.

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:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

 

Our Reception children spend part of the morning based in one of our 4 learning zones:

  • The Language and Communication Zone provides rich exposure to creative vocabulary and expression.  The children have many opportunities for story telling, dress up, role play and small world play.  Much of the play relates to stories which have been enjoyed together and as the year progresses, the children are encouraged to use their growing phonic skills to begin expressing their own ideas in writing.
  • In the Maths Zone the children  can explore, number and mathematical concepts as they sort, measure compare and sequence while they play and solve challenges.
  • The messy Creative Zone is full of the sort of exciting resources that parents might not encourage at home such as playdough, gloop, mud, glitter and wet spaghetti!  Through exploring these wonderful tactile experiences, the children broaden their creative vocabulary and expression whilst developing all important fine motor skills necessary for writing.  Opportunities to explore construction materials encourage creative design and collaborative problem solving.
  • The Outdoor Classroom mirrors all areas of indoor learning.

 

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.

 

Phonics

“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.

 

Reading

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.

 

Maths

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:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

 

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.

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