Our teaching of English includes reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, listening and speaking.
We aim to encourage children to love books, and to take a delight in reading for pleasure and information. Children are encouraged to take books home to share with their parents. We have an extensive library, catering for Pre-School to Year Two children. In Reception, the children follow the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. Across Key Stage One, the Book Band system is used.
Daily structured focused phonic teaching is a vital part of teaching children to read and write. Each day children move to their phonic groups for a dedicated twenty minute session of phonics teaching. Children are taught the individual sounds and how to blend them together to make words. This synthetic method of teaching phonics is effective and enables children to make rapid progress. Jolly Phonics is used across the Early Years to introduce the children to the sounds using visual, auditory and kinesthetic approaches. Letters and Sounds is used as a whole school programme.
Our children write confidently with high quality content due to the work we do on extending children’s vocabulary and teaching them to make excellent word and grammatical choices. They write both factually and imaginatively, communicating clearly what they feel and know to others. Accurate spelling is a priority as it enables children to write fluently and freely. Initially children are taught to apply their phonetic knowledge as they begin in Reception Class to represent words on paper. Alongside this children are taught to spell common irregular words (or tricky words). When writing, children are encouraged to “have a go” at spelling words for themselves. In their Reception year children learn correct pencil grip and formation of lower case letters. From Year One, children are taught to write in a clear, joined cursive style.
Our aim is to make mathematics relevant to everyday life, and to teach the children in a way which helps them to understand the world in which they live. Children are taught mathematical skills, including mental strategies, problem solving and logical reasoning, in order to develop a positive attitude towards maths and learn to use it with confidence.
We develop fast mental calculation strategies during our Early Morning Work sessions. Children begin by practising counting skills and progress to adding two digit numbers in their head e.g. 23+36. They are taught a variety of calculation strategies. Our children learn the structure of our base 10 number system and begin developing an understanding of how numbers are constructed. They learn to calculate using the four operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Measures and Shape
Children begin by learning to compare objects for length, weight or size. They progress to using simple units e.g. hand spans, before moving on to using standard measures such as centimetres, metres, litres, and kilograms. Children enjoy the challenge of learning the names of 2D and 3D shapes and investigating their properties.
Teaching our children efficient ICT skills is an important part of our curriculum. Laptops and i-pads are used in the classroom allowing the children to learn ICT as a subject in its own right as well as using these skills to support their learning in other subjects. This includes word processing skills, data handling and the use of search engines. The children are very motivated by using computers and it enables them to present work to a very high standard as well as making the practice of basic skills exciting and attractive. Internet safety is taken very seriously and all our computers are linked to our server which has rigorous screening, filtering systems and a robust firewall. In the classroom Clever Touch Boards linked to the internet are used extensively in our teaching to access inspiring resources and make learning interactive.
The school aims to introduce children to scientific methods of investigation, develop their understanding of key scientific concepts, and foster some appreciation of the contribution that science makes to society, through practical activities and investigations. Science is taught through practical investigations. These carefully constructed experiments help explain the world in which we live. Children are encouraged to observe, hypothesise, investigate, predict, draw conclusions, and look for patterns. This happens in a wide range of contexts including the natural world, materials, as well as physical phenomena such as light. Children are taught to treat equipment with respect and to be aware of the safety of themselves and others.
The children learn about people’s lives and lifestyles in the past. They find out about significant men, women, children and events, from both the UK and the wider world, from the recent and more distant past. They listen and respond to stories, and use historical sources of information to help them ask and answer questions. They learn how the past is different from the present, and begin to place events in chronological order.
The children learn to use geographical skills and resources, including maps and plans, to find out about places: where features are located, e.g. shops, bus stops; how and why features change; as well as how to care for the environment. They do this through studying both their local area and a contrasting area outside the European Union.
Our children use a variety of high quality pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments for composing and investigating musical elements. They explore sounds, and create their own short compositions. They learn to listen carefully, finding out about and describing how sounds change. They experience a wide range of music from different eras and cultures. In addition singing is taught once a week.
Children develop an appreciation of form, texture, colour and shading through drawing, painting, printing and modelling. They are taught various techniques using a wide variety of media for both 2D and 3D work. By studying the work of artists, children develop an understanding of art appreciation and of how art can be used as a means of communication.
Design And Technology
Children are taught various techniques necessary to design, make and evaluate models of their own. They learn to use materials and handle tools correctly and safely. They have fun examining objects and taking them apart to see how they are made and function. They are taught specific skills such as joining techniques or how to make levers.
The physical education curriculum includes lessons in movement, dance, gymnastics, athletics and games (sporting activities). The school has a large playground, a spacious playing field and school hall to use for PE lessons. We possess a wide variety of equipment and apparatus to use in lessons and at break times. Techniques and skills are taught in accordance with the school’s PE scheme of work. In addition, extra curricular activities are offered of a physical nature and the children participate in regular Forest School activities.
Holmer Green First School is a non-denominational school. Religious education has two aspects, assembly and class teaching, which is based on the Buckinghamshire Agreed Syllabus. We aim to enable all children in the school to acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and two other principal religions in Great Britain; to develop a positive attitude towards other people, respecting their right to hold beliefs different from their own; and to enhance their own spiritual, moral, cultural and social development. Parents have the right to withdraw their children from assemblies or religious education if they feel their own religious beliefs are in conflict with those of the school. Any parent wishing to do so should consult the Headteacher.
Personal, Social And Health Education (PSHE) And Citizenship
The children are taught personal skills such as how to be more independent and confident. They learn to appreciate what their strengths are and to think about what’s fair and unfair, right and wrong. They set themselves goals and try to achieve them and learn how to keep themselves safe and healthy. Children also learn social skills as they think about what kind of groups they belong to, and how they contribute to them. They learn that it is important to respect others, and get on with them.
Sex education is not taught as a specific subject, but forms part of our topic plans. Some aspects, such as life cycles, may be included as part of our science lessons. However, questions are answered when they arise, as sensibly and truthfully as possible bearing in mind the child’s age and stage of development.
If you would like to find out more about our curriculum, please contact us.