The relationship children form with learning during the early years is fundamental to their future academic success and lifelong perspectives. For children at The Elms, their transition from the EYFS curriculum into Key Stage 1 remains engaging and exciting by embedding continuous provision into the curriculum, with an appropriate level of challenge.
Enhancing learning, developing independence, and creating inspiring classroom environments are just some of the aims of the new Year 1 continuous provision learning at The Elms. Championing the change in teaching practice is Miss Brock, who has been appointed Key Stage 1 Teaching and Learning Innovator alongside her Year 1 teaching role.
“With Miss Brock’s experience of Early Years teaching and passion for providing the highest level of pastoral care and academic support for her pupils, she is ideally placed to advance the learning of our children through creative and joined up strategies” explains Mrs Savage, Assistant Head (Infants).
Cross curricular learning
Instead of subjects standing in isolation, pupils are experiencing fully integrated themes of learning across the breadth of the curriculum. This is enabling new skills and knowledge to be reinforced in a variety of ways. For example, a science lesson focussed on the weather coincided with pupils writing their own weather forecast scripts in English before presenting them onto a green screen. These performances then culminated in a “movie premiere” for the children to watch in the hall, which they designed tickets for, so that staff members could be invited to share in the success of their peers.
Providing purpose to play
Miss Brock is a firm believer that play provides an extension and greater depth to learning, when presented to children in the correct format. “At The Elms, we integrate opportunities to play which have a clear learning outcome. As the children are having so much fun participating in the activities, they do not realise they are actually accomplishing new learning and consolidating their skills,” she explains.
To keep the children motivated and focussed on meeting their learning targets, they work towards completing the weekly Rainbow Challenge. The challenge areas can include maths, art, small world and construction and are located throughout the classrooms which enables the children to initiate their own learning and to take ownership. The final step to achieve a ‘pot of gold’ is for pupils to write in their journal.
The hygge approach
Miss Brock and Mrs Savage recently attended a specialist course which focussed on integrating the Danish concept of hygge into the classroom. The term roughly translates to “cosiness,” and its association with relaxation and gratitude can be applied to the classroom setting to maximise the learning environment for the pupils.
The new learnings will build upon the already highly effective approach The Elms has on reviewing and refining learning spaces. Further developments will be put in practice to build upon the physical spaces boosting well-being and involvement across Year 1. There are also plans in place to adapt the Year 2 classrooms so that children experience a consistent learning environment and atmosphere during their journey in the infant year groups.
The Elms Nursery has also embraced a ‘home from home’ feel across the setting, to inspire the youngest minds of the school community, find out more about the EYFS environment in our previous blog.
The new approach is already reaping benefits for Year 1. Parents are delighted to see their children’s motivation flourish at home as they actively make more connections and seek out opportunities to bring their learning into their homelife.
For Miss Brock there is no such thing as a ‘mistake’ in the classroom, instead she views them as further opportunities to shape the learning of her pupils. Her pupils cross out errors in their work using one single line, so that Miss Brock can see their original thoughts, this then influences her planning for the next lesson to address the learning need.
Further pastoral support
The continuous learning provision proves additional opportunity for teachers to put into practice our renowned pastoral care by working with and understanding each child at an individual level. Mrs Savage explains, “Miss Brock demonstrates an amazing commitment to her pupils and truly brings learning alive. Real-life events and children’s interests help to guide the direction of the curriculum, whilst ensuring key skills are embedded throughout. With our small class sizes, planning can be tailored to each child and appropriate next steps are put in place.”
Would you like to find out more?
The Elms welcomes admissions throughout the year, and we are delighted to host families for a personal tour. To find out more about our thriving, forward-thinking schools, please contact our Admissions team.