At Newdigate Infant School we provide an engaging and creative approach to all our learning so that children are developing through rich, varied and meaningful contexts. Much of our learning is through our creative three year cycle of topics (see below). Our curriculum is broad and balanced and focuses on the development of children as life-long learners, including the statutory elements of the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1. We take an holistic approach, preparing children for the next steps in their education at Junior school and giving them a growing awareness of their roles as global citizens who can also appreciate and celebrate British values. As an infant school we provide a unique opportunity for our children to develop leadership skills and responsibilities at an early stage. Our setting provides extensive opportunities to explore outdoor learning and children are given the opportunity to experience this approach on a regular basis.
Early Years and Reception
For our very youngest children, we provide a high quality Early Years education, laying secure foundations for the future across all the curriculum areas described below. We have high expectations with the emphasis on key skills and independence.
Every child is unique and reaches out to relate to people and things through the Characteristics of Effective Learning, which move through all areas of learning (playing and exploring, active learning, creating and thinking critically.)
Children will also learn about the Prime areas of learning. These are fundamental, work together, and move through to support development in all other areas. (Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical Development.)
Children will also learn about the Specific areas of learning, which include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society. (Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design.)
Reading and Phonics
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1, the children are taught synthetic phonics to support their reading and writing development. In Early Years’ Jolly Phonics’ is used to engage children through songs and actions. In Years 1 and 2 we use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ guidance to continue their understanding and development of phonics. ’No Nonsense Spelling’ is used to support the teaching of spelling across the school.
From the moment they enter our school the children’s love of books will be encouraged and nurtured. They will have the opportunity to choose and bring home reading books daily, from a range of reading schemes that is matched to their ability, to share with you. Younger children will be supported by an adult and older children will be encouraged to do this independently at the start of the day. We ask that you read with your child for 10-15 minutes every night whenever possible and record this in their reading record. . All children will share a book with an adult on a regular basis either individually or in a group guided reading session.
Of course there is nothing quite as special as cuddling up on a sofa to share a favourite story, so it is important that alongside the development of their decoding skills they are listening to, reading and talking about their favourite ‘real’ books to develop a lifelong love of reading.
Children’s spiritual development is a high priority and we have close links with St Peter’s Church where we worship each week and also hold Christmas, Harvest and Easter services to which parents are invited. The Rectors are regular visitors to the school. Religious education is taught to all children following the Diocesan guidance and has been highly praised in our SIAMS report (November 2016) ‘Religious Education is outstanding and is integral to the whole curriculum.’ The daily acts of collective worship that the children also take part in was also graded as outstanding and instrumental to the daily life of the school and the implementation of our school values.
Physical Education is strongly promoted at Newdigate Infant school and the school is fortunate this academic year to be working with specialist coaches from Premier Sport, to deliver high quality lessons which are designed specifically to cater for every child’s individual needs. The children have access to a broad and varied range of sporting activities for at least 2 hours a week, as well as after school clubs, e.g Gym and Dance Club, Chelsea football club which enable children to develop their particular passions and skills.
Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education; programme is tailored to best meet the needs or our infant children in the complex and changing world that they live in. Our children are encouraged to explore our school values and ‘Bee Rules’ and British values throughout their time with us and use them as a basis for making good choices. they will learn about staying safe, happy and healthy, including on-line safety, and explore risk and how to manage this. They will be encouraged to ask questions to help them understand everything we talk about. Our aim is to provide our children with the knowledge and skills necessary to make safe and informed decisions now and in the future.
MOLE sessions (Making Outdoor Learning Exciting!)
This is an exciting time for Newdigate. We are working extensively, with a dedicated group of volounteers, to develop our school grounds to enable the provision for a ‘Forest School’ approach to outdoor learning. Outdoor provision has become an integral part of our curriculum and we aim for the children to engage with regular sessions each term. The children are given opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on experiences in the outdoors. They have the chance to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves; learning transferable life skills and getting to know and love their environment. Play and choice are an essential part of the learning process within MOLE sessions with most sessions following a child led approach.
Science encourages a curiosity in the world around us and we support this curiosity with knowledge. Engaging lessons are linked with topic themes and build upon children’s initial ideas and interests. Children are encouraged to pose their own scientific questions and we provide opportunities to explore different ways of investigating answers and learning about fair tests. We regularly take our learning outside and make the most of our school environment, including the pond which encourages children to explore a local habitat. Learning is divided into the three areas of biology, materials and physical processes. A Science week in March provides children with an additional opportunity to work collaboratively on a variety of investigations within their houses.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology prepares children to take part in the development of tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. The subject requires children to combine their designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding in order to design, make and evaluate their work. At Newdigate we seek to offer exciting, purposeful projects linked to our topics to encourage our children to become autonomous and creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. Through the study of Design and Technology they combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues and health.
Art and Design
At Newdigate we provide a curriculum which inspires, challenges and equips children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. Planning is mainly topic based and taught through discrete lessons. Children are given opportunities to develop creativity and imagination, working with a vast range of media and materials. They will evaluate and analyse their creative works and the works of their peers, great artists, craft makers and designers. Art work is celebrated in displays throughout the school and externally where appropriate.
Children are taught a range of different theatre skills through regular performing arts lessons with Mrs Rennles, an experienced performing arts teacher. The children will be encouraged to believe that they can work together to develop undiscovered talents and mutual respect and understanding. They will gain confidence and learn self-expression through their experiences.
Through our topic led curriculum children will be engaged in interesting and exciting History and Geography lessons. In History, children will develop an awareness of the past and we look at specific events that have happened. Pupils also lean about the lives of significant individuals from the past and compare aspects of their lives to ours. In Geography, we encourage pupils to be curious about the world. We look at areas in the UK and our local area as well as the wider world, encouraging children to use geographical skills, including first hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness. We look at similarities and differences between places and use maps, atlases and globes to identify places around the world.
At Newdigate, we endeavour to provide a learning environment which delivers a range of computing opportunities in order to meet the ever developing computing curriculum. We offer discrete computing lessons, as well as opportunities to use technology within other areas of the curriculum. During their time at school, children will be taught a range of computing skills, such as technology to create, store and maniupulate information; as well as creating and debugging simple digital programs and algorithms. Children are also taught how to use technology safely, as well as developing their confidence, skills, decision making and understanding of new technology. Please refer to our On-Line Safety Policy for more information on this area.
Our approach to teaching, learning and assessment is summarised in our ‘Newdigate Teaching and Learning Charter‘; all staff will aim to provide the best for all children by working to surpass in all of these areas.