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Here at Godinton we believe that every child is unique and has an instinctive desire to know more about the world around them. We strive to provide opportunities for children to explore their curiosity. Every area of their physical, cognitive, linguistic, spiritual, social and emotional development is equally important and our classrooms, curriculum and school reflect this! We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework where the children are continuously assessed against the Early Learning Goals throughout the year. We assess via observation, discussion, parent and child voice and children’s work. This is very much a school, child, home partnership and you will be actively encouraged to be a part of your child’s learning experiences. We aim to provide a curriculum firmly based on active learning, often through play based activities. We believe this will help foster a love of learning in children and encourage them to develop enquiring minds.
You can find out more about the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which includes the early learning goals at www.foundationyears.org.uk The foundation years website also includes a range of resources and contacts.
The School Day
A typical day in our Early Years Foundation Stage classes at Godinton consists of a wide range of different activities which address each of the key areas of learning and development. This changes as the children move through the school year. An example of the daily routine in the first two terms is as follows:
9.00 - 9.10 - Morning welcome and register
9.10 - 9.40 - Teacher directed activities
9.40 - 10.00 - Phonics
10.00 - 10.10 - Snack and Storytime
10.10 -10.25 - Playtime
10.25 - 11.30 - Investigation and Discovery
11.30 - 12.40 - Lunch
12.40 - 1.00 - Calendar and Review
1.00 – 2.00 - Investigation and Discovery
2.00 – 2.15 – Snack and storytime
2.15 – 2.35 – Assembly
2.35 – 3.00 – Numbers and patterns
3.15 – Hometime
Children are assigned initial registration groups when they start school and remain in this group for the year. However for much of their learning they will mix as a cohort, sometimes working with the children in their registration groups and sometimes working in differentiated ability groups depending on the activity. Two teachers lead the children’s learning within the year group and they are supported by at least two full time teaching assistants. In term 6 the children are then assigned new class groups ready for Year 1 in September. These classes are made up of children from across the reception registration groups.
Throughout the school day your child will be engaged in lots of different ways of learning:
Investigation and Discovery Time (Child Initiated Activities)
Investigation and Discovery Time is sometimes known as ‘Plan, do and review time’. Our children are given the opportunity to plan what they would like to do and in which area of the classroom (inside or out) that they would like to do it. We encourage our children to talk to a friend about what they might do. After planning the children then do their chosen activity. At this time adults can support the children’s learning which allows for in depth observations of their understanding. At the end of the session, the children are given the opportunity to review their learning, which follows a similar structure as planning time. It is an important part of our curriculum to encourage our children to become independent learners. This includes encouraging them to collect their own resources and tidy away after themselves!
During Investigation and Discovery Time, adults also initiate lots of different activities for our children to take part in if they wish. This is a good opportunity to introduce them to new skills and concepts.
Teacher Directed Activities
This is when an adult plans and leads the children’s learning in small groups or whole class sessions. An adult-led activity can be either objective led with clear aims linked to the curriculum, such as mathematics and literacy (reading and writing), or open ended, where adults observe and support learning during the activity and consider next steps based on children’s responses.
Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It is an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. Children in Reception also use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds. Our daily phonics sessions in Reception are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.
Getting Ready to Start School
Our curriculum is very much about the holistic view of the children and will cover both social and academic milestones. It is not important that your child comes to school being able to read or write. What we would ask you to do is to talk to your child about starting school and some of the activities he/she will be doing. Many of these will be similar to those carried out in nursery, especially in the first half-term, such as construction, role-play, sand, water, writing, computers and messy area. Children need to become more independent – you can help by getting them to dress and undress themselves, go to the toilet without assistance, use cutlery sensibly, be polite, say please and thank you, and by helping them to understand that they will need to learn to stand in a queue and not mind if they are first or last! You can help your child by playing games at home – dice games, dominoes, snakes and ladders and similar board games give children a wonderful start to their education and learning. They learn about numbers, patterns, colours, shapes, how to share and learn to wait for someone else to have a go, as well as “just having fun”!
How Can I Help My Child When They Start School?
Starting school is an exciting step for your child. There is lots of practising you can do with your child to make sure they are ready when the big day comes. If you can do this over the summer, in a gentle and fun way, it will make the transition to big school all that easier for them.
Talk with your child about starting school and engage with the activities on offer to help them to familiarise themselves with their new school. Read stories about starting school and talk about the things that you did when you were at school. Talk about the routines that you will have once school starts so that they will know what to expect. Have a look at the pictures on our school website to help your child become familiar with the adults who will be working with them and the classroom and outdoor environment.
Once your child has started at school, the teachers will provide you with further information about what you can do to help. Your child will also bring home 3 reports during the academic year which will give you guidance on what they are able to do and what their next learning steps are.
Click on the links below to get you started on some useful ways you can help your child at home. The school website contains lots of practical information about helping your child. Visit our Curriculum pages to find out more about phonics, maths, handwriting and creative learning.