Lower Junior School
By Lower Junior School we mean Reception and Year 1 & 2 classes.
The emphasis in Reception is to introduce our young pupils to school life.
Students who are four years old before September can apply for a place in reception class. Pupils are required to attend Year 1 following their 5th birthday.
This year your child will continue to learn by doing things for themselves, by exploring and investigating, watching and listening, talking and discussing, creating and communicating — in other words — playing. Play is children’s work and playing hard is very tiring! Your child may be really exhausted and perhaps a bit grumpy when they come home! If they don’t want to talk about their day straight away, don’t worry, they will gradually let you into their new world as time goes by. Play can also be very messy as your child will be learning both inside the classroom with sand, water, paint, but also in the outdoors with mud, leaves etc. so you can expect some mucky clothes at the end of the day!
All children in Reception follow a curriculum called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and this is broken down into 3 prime aspects and 4 specific areas of learning.
Personal, social and emotional development
One of the prime aspects of your child’s first year at school will be a focus on their personal, social and emotional development, and their teacher will be aiming to give them a good start to their school experience by helping them form positive relationships, build confidence and self-awareness, as well as manage their feelings and behaviour.
Physical development is important too: you will hopefully notice that they are starting to move more confidently and to understand how to look after themselves and be healthy.
The final prime area is communication. Children learn through speaking and listening first and foremost, and this year you may notice your child communicating in a variety of ways at school — for example, through stories, in conversations with adults and their friends, or through facial expression, movement or dance.
For the specific areas of learning, your child will learn the basics of literacy — reading, writing and phonics. Barbara Speake uses a specific phonics scheme such as Read, Write Inc. but generally all will use the 44 phonics sounds and 18 diagraphs (two letters making one sound — sh, ch, th, qu, ng, ai, ee, ie, oa, oo/oo, or, er, ow, oi) to read and spell words. In maths, Reception classes will cover numbers, simple sums, shapes, spaces and simple measuring.
Children learn about the world, too, exploring different people and communities, and how we can use different forms of technology in our learning. Finally, imagination and creativity are championed in the area of expressive arts. Your child will explore different media and materials and be encouraged to use their imagination in a range of different experiences.
Included in the curriculum is the artistic element of learning where our pupils engage in the arts through ballet, tap and musical theatre. Pupils are monitored throughout their development and when they are ready they embark on graded assessments in their dance where students are excited to gain their first level certification.
Year 1 & 2
Continuous provision offers our pupils the chance to engage in active learning through hands-on, play-based activities which they can access whenever they choose.
Continuous provision can enable children to explore recent learning, practice new skills, and follow their own interests, both indoors and out.
Staff will often enhance the provision areas to make links to adult led learning. This gives teachers the opportunity to introduce their adult-led activities, being sure that children have plenty of chances to practise and improve skills, knowledge and confidence in active, independent learning.