St Michael's CofE VA Nursery & Infant School

National Curriculum

ENGLISH

The National Literacy Trust defines literacy as follows: ‘We believe literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen well. A literate person is able to communicate effectively with others and to understand written information.’

At St Michael’s we believe that talking and listening are fundamental to a child’s learning. Children are encouraged and helped, right from the very start, to talk clearly and confidently and with expression in order to communicate their ideas and feelings. Similarly, and just as importantly, they often need to be taught how to listen to others and respond appropriately. We provide children with opportunities to develop their skills in speaking and listening in all areas of the curriculum. Our enquiry approach to many subjects supports this drive as do the relationships we seek to build as children move through the School. In short, we aim to encourage questioning and curiosity.

We want all children to be able to enjoy reading and be able to read for purpose. We teach reading skills formally through phonics, (Letters and Sounds is our core text) but also through storytelling, using picture books, and spending time exploring the written word in all kinds of contexts and every subject area. Reading weeks keep reading at the heart of our school and encourage family members to engage in reading fun with their children. All children take books home each evening to practise, reinforce the skills taught in school and enjoy, and guidance is provided on how parents can best support their children’s learning in this area.

We want all children to be able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and to communicate with others effectively through the written word. Writing always has a purpose and children are encouraged to feel pride in their first steps, only later seeing how ‘secretarial’ skills can help them communicate more effectively.

MATHEMATICS

Mathematics is essential to everyday life. Through teaching and learning in this area we aim to ensure that all children become confident and fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practise with increasingly complex problems over time.

Our teaching programme is based on the Primary National Curriculum 2014 and sets out what children learn on a year-by-year basis in the areas of number (place value, addition & subtraction, multiplication & division, fractions), measurement , geometry (properties of shape, position and direction, statistics (tables and graphs)

SCIENCE

Science stimulates and excites children’ curiosity about events and things in the world around them. It also satisfies this curiosity with knowledge. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels. Scientific method is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling.

Teaching and learning in science reflects our belief that children have a natural sense of awe and wonder in the world around them. We aim to provide the children with a science knowledge base, and encourage them to ask questions, make predictions and then to test these in order to discover more about the world around them. We hope also to foster responsible attitudes towards the environment and all living things.

COMPUTING

Computing and e-learning makes a massive contribution to all aspects of School life, for children, staff, governors, parents and the wider community.

We believe that all children should be given opportunities to engage in a broad computing curriculum that ensures they are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY

Through the study of geography, children are given opportunities to develop an awareness of their immediate surroundings, other places and how people have used their environment. Children are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of places and environments throughout the world; develop an understanding of maps, and a range of investigative and problem-solving skills both inside and outside the classroom. As children study geography they encounter different societies and cultures. This helps them realise how peoples rely on each other. It can inspire them to think about their own place in the world, their values and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment. Environmental work is an important aspect of the geography curriculum and is further enhanced by our active Eco-School Committee.

History fires children’s curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Children consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. As they do this, children develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. In history, children find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions. To do this they are encouraged to research, sift through evidence, and engage in active discussion – skills that will prepare them for adult life.

DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY

Design & Technology helps to prepare children to participate in tomorrow’s rapidly changing technologies. Children are helped to develop the skills that enable them to think creatively and imaginatively to design, make and evaluate products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts.

MUSIC

Music is an important part of our curriculum. It is taught as a class subject, where children sing, compose and work creatively with sound, and where through active listening, children’ awareness, understanding and appreciation develops. But it is also wrapped up in daily life, for example, rhythm is used to develop awareness of pattern and rhyme, recorded music is used to stimulate dance and drama, hymns and songs are sung in Collective Worship, and there are even special ‘line up’ and ‘wash your hands’ songs for the younger children.

Music is also a key element in all the Christian festivals we celebrate in school and in the Church, as well as in Maypole dancing, an annual highlight.

ART, CRAFT & DESIGN

Art, Craft & Design is a natural form of expression and can be a source of great pleasure. We encourage children to develop their creative and imaginative talents through learning skills and techniques and using a variety of materials and tools. Children have opportunities to work with professional artists and crafts people. They learn to appreciate works of art and use artistic language to describe paintings, sculptures and other artefacts.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND COLLECTIVE WORSHIP

At this school, RE is closely linked to our whole school exploration of Christian values. Each half term we focus on one distinct value, especially during Collective Worship, but also during PSHE time. The values we explore follow Roots and Shoots. The teaching of RE takes account of the value under consideration and teachers incorporate it into their RE teaching wherever possible. 

During the Foundation Stage children begin to explore the world of religion in terms of special people, books, times, places and objects, and by visiting places of worship.  Children listen to and talk about stories which may raise puzzling and interesting questions – including religious stories. They are introduced to specialist words and use their senses in exploring religious beliefs, practices and forms of expression.  They reflect on their own feelings and experiences.  They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation of, and wonder at, the world in which they live. 

Throughout Key Stage 1 children investigate Christianity and are introduced to at least one other principal religion.  They learn about different beliefs about God and the world around them.  They encounter and respond to a range of stories, artefacts and other religious materials.  They learn to recognise that beliefs are expressed in a variety of ways, and begin to use specialist vocabulary.  They begin to understand the importance and value of religion and beliefs for some children and their families.  Children ask relevant questions and use their imagination to develop a sense of wonder about the world.  They talk about what is important to them and others, valuing themselves, reflecting on their own feelings and experiences, and developing a sense of belonging.

Through Collective Worship in our school we aim to:

  • provide an experience of worship that will allow children to respond to the presence, power and peace of God
  • introduce children to Christian language and symbolism and the cycle of the Church year
  • explore a variety of ways of praying and introduce children to some well known Christian prayers, e.g. The Lord’s Prayer
  • strengthen and support the school community, giving expression to and reaffirming the Christian values of the school
  • celebrate the gifts that each child brings to the school community, recognising the uniqueness of each individual made in the image of God
  • encourage children to reflect on the puzzling questions that life poses and to respond to the wonder and mystery of the world around them
  • foster a concern for others within the School and wider world
  • foster an appreciation of the created world and an awareness of our responsibility for it.

PE & SCHOOL SPORT

Physical Education is concerned with the promotion of positive attitudes towards physical activity and well-being. At St Michael’s children are helped to acquire the skills needed to participate with confidence and enjoyment in a range of individual team activities at school and in the wider community, and to appreciate the place of regular exercise as a way of keeping fit.

All children take part in a minimum of two hours of high quality PE and sporting activities each week.

A well-balanced programme of activities is provided for the children that includes opportunities for expressive and creative movement through dance, as well as gymnastics and games.

Learning through co-operative and competitive activities helps to promote an understanding of inter-personal relationships.

Physical Education is enriched through clubs which help children to develop personal and social skills as well as preparing them for leisure activities in adult life.

PERSONAL, SOCIAL, HEALTH EDUCATION (PSHE) & CITIZENSHIP

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, PSHE is about making connections and is strongly linked to play. PSHE is taught through activities that are part of topics, as well as on an individual basis to develop personal skills such as dressing, feeding and toileting. Positive experiences are built through daily opportunities to share and enjoy a range of different activities. The children are given the opportunity to engage in social activities, as members of a small group or occasionally during whole school activities.

In KS1 children continue to engage in activities that promote an understanding of themselves as growing and changing individuals, and as members of a wider community, based on their own first hand experiences. They learn to understand how their choices and behaviours can affect others and are encouraged to play and learn alongside, and then collaboratively with, their peers. Children are also given the opportunity to make choices about their health and environment and are encouraged to develop a caring attitude to others. SEAL materials and themes may be incorporated into the curriculum.

SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS EDUCATION

During the first school years, we present SRE as part of the Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) element of the curriculum. SRE is taught in the context of relationships and is informed by our Church School ethos, and PSHE and Citizenship programmes. We believe that SRE promotes self esteem and emotional health and well being and helps children form and maintain worthwhile and satisfying relationships, based on respect for themselves and for others, at home, school, work and in the community.