St Michael's CofE VA Nursery & Infant School

Our Curriculum

The school curriculum consists of all learning and other experiences that we plan for our children. The central aims of our curriculum are to work in collaboration with families and the local community to provide opportunities for all children to learn and to achieve; to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepare all children for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. The curriculum of this school is designed to stimulate, encourage and challenge children, so that they develop their own potential and personality to the full.

The curriculum itself covers a wide range of subjects and provides opportunities for academic, technical, creative and sporting excellence. Skills-based learning is developed by linking subjects such as history, geography, art, design technology and music to the topic being studied so that children can make purposeful connections in their learning. We also use every opportunity to involve reading, writing, maths, science and computing where relevant. Some subjects are taught discretely, such as PE, RE and PSHE but still links are made wherever possible.

We plan in topics, chosen to capture the interests and imaginations of our children. We make sure we know children’s abilities and interests well so that we can help them make as much progress as possible in all areas. Long term plans are made at the start of each year to ensure the requirements of the EYFS and National Curriculum will be met, but the detail is subject to change as topics often grow from children’s interests and enthusiasms.

Children may be taught as a whole class for the whole or part of a teaching session, and they may be divided into smaller groups for practical activities and into ability groups for core subjects. Groupings are kept flexible so that teaching can be matched to the changing needs of the children. The younger children spend a large proportion of their time with their own class teacher and teaching assistant so that they can benefit from these close relationships. However, we also like to make the best use of the expertise of teachers and on occasions particular subjects will be taught by other staff, e.g. PE, Music, PHSE and RE.

Themed days and weeks

Throughout the year, themed days/weeks are woven into the curriculum to extend the breadth and balance of opportunities we offer our children. These include reading weeks, Healthy week, Science week, Outdoor Classroom day, Fairtrade Fortnight.

 Forest School

Forest School is a core feature of our practice, designed to enhance, enrich and complement our day to day curriculum in both Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.

 

Forest School times help children develop self-esteem, independence and self-confidence and develop new skills, but they are also fun and ideal for getting vital exercise and fresh air. We see children become more courageous and considerate. We see them learn to work with others and respect the world around them. We see that the Forest School experience has a really positive impact on work in the classroom, as well as their well-being.

Each child takes part in a Forest School session every other week. We make use of our outside grassy areas and the wild pond area, and from time to time explore the wooded grounds of nearby West Lodge. Once or twice a year we also take a coach to nearby Blickling woods and spend a day shelter building, fire making and exploring.

Collective Worship

The daily assembly is an important occasion where the whole main school meets together to participate in celebration and Christian worship.

Parents, governors and friends are invited to join us on Fridays for celebration assemblies where children share their work and talk about what they have been doing and learning.

Care, service and love of others, values for life, respect for the world and charity for those in need are some of the key teaching points of our Collective Worship.  We invite representatives from other denominations and walks of life to take part and from time to time the children themselves take the lead.

If for any reason, parents wish to withdraw their child from Collective Worship, they are invited to discuss the matter with the Headteacher.

Philosophy

All children are fascinated by the study of ideas. We use this instinctive curiosity to develop their speaking and listening, as well as thinking skills. Right from the start, children are encouraged to discuss and debate as much as possible; we teach them to question and challenge and have confidence to express their ideas. Philosophy sessions can be held in small groups, in classes and, occasionally, with the whole School in assembly time.

Visits and visitors

Educational visits and visitors to the School are essential elements of the wider curriculum. They provide memorable experiences and rich opportunities for learning, for wider personal development and well being. Recent destinations include Gressenhall, Norwich castle, the Old Tearoom in Aylsham, Holt Hall and Blickling woods. We are looking forward to a visit from an Olympic athlete in the summer.

Fairtrade

We operate a Fairtrade policy and include aspects of Fairtrade  as part of the wider curriculum. The children are encouraged to look out for Fairtrade products when out and about and once a year they lead an assembly explaining the ideas behind it to all the new children in the School.

Clubs

Clubs can extend and enrich children’s learning, but can also engage more reluctant learners. A recent Star Wars club, for instance, was very popular with boys and got them involved them in all kinds of associated writing activities. All staff help to run clubs and activities at some point during the year and outside providers are also used to extend opportunities as much as possible.

Homework

Our main focus is reading and parents are expected to help and support us by giving their children the chance to practice or share reading with them, at home, every day. Reading records and books will be checked carefully by teachers once a week. If parents or children say they need to change the book more often we encourage them to do so, and will show them how to use the boxes for themselves. Other homework, such as maths games, maths challenges and research may be sent home when the teacher chooses.

 Outdoor learning

We are an Eco School and value the benefits of outdoor learning. Children are stimulated by the outdoors where they can undertake a range of practical activities to support and enhance learning across the curriculum. Our Foundation Stage and Key Stage One children benefit from Forest School activities and tending growing beds to produce fruit and vegetables to use in cooking activities.

 

For more information on our curriculum please speak to our head teacher, Mrs Catherine McMahon.