The first years of education are a voyage of discovery – exploring, questioning, having a go and getting a thrill from every achievement.
Our early years classes – Kindergarten and Reception – are some children’s first experience of being away from home and family, so we put a lot of effort into making the transition comfortable and secure. We work closely with parents, sharing each child’s experiences to build a complete picture of his or her skills and to see how, together, we can help them to progress.
The children simply think they’re having fun with their friends – they don’t realise that story time is giving them a love of reading, that threading beads helps to develop the dexterity they’ll need to write, or that making shapes and patterns with toys is a step towards learning to count and calculate.
As the children in Years 1 and 2 develop a sense of the world around them and their place within it, we’re here to encourage and inspire them. That means throwing open the classroom doors and breaking down rigid boundaries between subjects, because learning isn’t all about set lessons.
Say we’re learning the story of the owl who was afraid of the dark in English. We might link that to the habitats of nocturnal animals in geography and look for them in our Forest School, make owl animations in IT, find out about owl pellets in science and make owl cushions and collages in art. To top it off, we organise a visit from the Raptor Foundation, who run workshops, allow each pupil to handle an owl and give a flight show – and that brings on a flood of creative writing.
All our cross-curricular topics start with a discussion of what the children already know and what they want to find out, so they are genuinely involved and excited about what they’ll discover next.
It’s about learning to learn, learning to think and learning to articulate their experiences – and laying the foundations for a life of active, exciting learning.