“Our curriculum that has been created and organised to make learning exciting, fun, meaningful and memorable for the learners of Garden Fields.”
We have developed a curriculum that has been created and organised to make learning exciting, fun, meaningful and memorable for the learners of Garden Fields.
Our Creative Curriculum
Children’s learning in all areas of the curriculum is organised in the following way. Each half term/term there is a year group curriculum theme. At the start of each term, the theme is introduced to children via a ‘wow’ moment in order to inspire and engage the children. At the end of the term, the learning around the theme is brought to a conclusion with an event that celebrates children’s achievements as we lock that learning and look forward to beginning a new topic.
The celebration of learning could be an exhibition of children’s learning, a performance, presentation or a themed day.
Not all units of learning fit in to a theme. We therefore need to make sure that the children experience all the learning opportunities they should in accordance with the National Curriculum. We want to ensure that our children experience a creative and broad curriculum, therefore some units of learning may be taught as stand-alone units.
Throughout the year the children will experience whole school themed blocks of learning these are indicated on the Long Term Plan and may be taught from one to three weeks. We also make provision for the teaching of Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural (SMSC) both through our themed units as well as stand-alone units which focus on six different PSHE themes over the academic year.
Sometimes learning in some curriculum areas has been blocked and will be covered in a particular term this happens in subjects such as History or Design and Technology. Blocking the curriculum in this way can help make learning more meaningful and in-depth rather than trying to fit in a little bit of everything every term. We make sure over the year the children experience the curriculum balance they should.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
In the EYFS children work towards the seven areas of learning that are outlined in the Early Learning Goals. There are a variety of teaching and learning approaches that provide stimulating learning environments for the children. These include children experiencing whole class teaching, group work activities, opportunities for one to one teaching and opportunities to learn through play. Each half term there is a focus theme which is developed from the children’s ideas and interests. The EYFS also begin and end topics with ‘Wow’ and ‘Lock’ moments to inspire and engage children in both supported and independent learning.
Using St Albans as a resource
We make the most of the world around us to add to our children’s learning experience. This includes using our school environment and the many wonderful places that are within walking distance of our school (St Albans Cathedral, Verulamium Park and the Clock Tower). We also look for opportunities to work with the community; including parents and volunteers. We plan these opportunities so that they are an integral part of the learning experience not just an added extra. This means that visits and visitors have a high profile in our school.
Read Write Inc. Phonics
Phonics is the teaching of sounds in words and the letters or groups of letters that represent these sounds. Being able to use phonics is fundamental to learning to read and write.
We use the Read Write Inc scheme to support the teaching of phonics/spelling throughout Garden Fields. The scheme is introduced in Reception and used throughout KS1. Our aim is that all children will have a good knowledge and understanding of phonics by the age of 7 and thus the scheme supports the pupils in the Phonic Screening Check at the end of Year 1. Some children need continued support with their learning of phonics in KS2 and for these children additional teaching in small groups continues using the Read Write Inc. scheme until their knowledge of phonics is secure. In Year 2 the children continue to develop their reading and writing skills through the Language and Literacy scheme. We use the Read Write Inc. spelling scheme in Year 4 and Year 5 alongside Fresh Start for children who still have difficulties with comprehension and writing.
Every year we organise meetings for parents so that they can become familiar with our approach to teaching of phonics and can support their children at home in the same way they are learning to read and write at school.
A flexible approach
We take an innovative approach to learning and are very responsive to needs and opportunities that arise, so every term we will adapt and update our medium term plans. In this way we can keep learning exciting and relevant.
Curriculum Meeting Presentations
Please click the links below to view the presentation and associated documentation used at the Spring Term 2015 curriculum meetings:
‘Reading at Home’ presentation – March 15
‘Reading at School’ presentation – January 17
‘Reading and SPaG’ presentation – June 15
‘Assessment without Levels’ presentation – November 2015
If you require clarification of anything covered at the meetings, please speak to the class teacher or Mr Farrugia.
Home learning grids and year group newsletters can be found on Year Group Blogs.
Useful links and documents
National Curriculum Document (PDF). This document sets out the National Curriculum framework for teaching until 31/08/15.
National Curriculum Levels (PDF). This document explains the Levels System within the National Curriculum – only applies to children in Yrs 2 & 6
NCL Explained – this website explain the different National Curriculum Levels.
Golden Time (PDF). This document explains how we use Golden Time.
Read Write Inc Programme Presentation (PDF). The system we use for teaching phonics.
A guide to reading at home – a guide to supporting early reading and phonics.
Promoting British Values at Garden Fields School (PDF). This document details how we promote British Values including democracy, and mutual respect.