Building strong relationships and ensuring children feel secure and a part of our school community are paramount to successful learning at the beginning of the children’s school career. We achieve this by discovering our immediate community through weekly welly walks - exploring the village and our rural farming surroundings. We have developed links with local farmers to explore seasonal changes within nature and celebrate harvest, spring and lambing season, as well as learning about fabulous farming machinery!
We explore “Compassion” through beautiful, high-quality picture books, with six core texts on a half-termly rotation. We spend lots of time to understand what emotions are and why we feel them, what to do with them and how to manage them effectively (through our fabulous stories such as: Martin Waddell’s ‘Owl babies’; Michael Rosen’s ‘A Great Big Cuddle’ and Tom Percival’s ‘Ruby’s Worry’). One of our class favourite texts is the wonderful ‘Yucky Worms’ by Vivian French, which enables us to become “wormologists”! As the year progresses, we are introduced to the power of illustrations (through a natural context) with ‘Wild’ by Emily Hughes, before becoming authors and illustrators ourselves with inspiration from Tom McLaughlin’s ‘The Story Machine’.
Over the course of the year, we are introduced to Christianity through learning about key celebrations, the significance of Jesus to Christians and relating Christian stories to the natural world. We develop an early mastery of numbers using hands-on concrete materials, which helps build depth through practice and repetition, in addition to our fine motor control, pencil grip, mark making and letter formation. We explore our physical development through equipment - including balance bikes and climbing apparatus - during our weekly indoor and outdoor PE sessions. Our specially designed outdoor learning area is equipped with sand and mud pits, mark-making dens and playhouses, with access to our large orchard. These offer inspiring learning opportunities so children can thrive in a holistic way.
In our classroom, we feel one of the most valuable life lessons for learning is how to make mistakes. We promote making mistakes through daily problem-solving activities, challenges, continuous provision, exploratory play and a no rubber policy! Making mistakes proves we are learning and opens a world of investigation. It builds our “Endurance”, confidence and allows us to be creative and take risks in our learning.
One of our learning priorities in Reception is the development of communication and language skills as this is the key to unlock all other areas of learning. We practice mindfulness daily to learn to regulate ourselves though yoga, reflections, circle times and asking and answering big questions. Our classroom expectations, linked directly to our Christian values, are as followed:
- In Reception we...
- are a good friend. (friendship)
- listen to each other. (respect)
- are kind. (community)
- discover through play. (wisdom)
- dream. (hope)
- have fun. (Thankfulness)
- keep trying. (endurance)
- talk about feelings. (compassion)
In the Year One studio, “Endurance” is a focus from the very beginning of the year. We build up our resilience by developing an ethos of learning from mistakes and how to improve our work. We are constantly thinking about using our purple pens to improve our writing and we are starting to independently make creative use of tools around the classroom to aid them, such as vocabulary/working walls and concrete manipulatives in maths.
The children in our class embody and understand the value of “Friendship”, both in and out of the classroom. Their relationships with their one another is an integral part of learning, as they are encouraged to discuss their ideas, knowledge and understanding in talk-partners.
In Year One, reading is an integral aspect of the learning experience, particularly for expanding our vibrant vocabulary! We explore a whole host of traditional tales as well as well as immersing ourselves in stories from other cultures, such as one of our class favourites: Handa’s Surprise!
Over the course of the year, children build a rich understanding of local and global geography, including at our own local, school community, the four nations of the United Kingdom and the awe-inspiring continent of Africa. As they explore the physical and human geography of these vastly different locations, the children consider and compare the similarities and differences, relating this to our own village of Willoughby. The Castles, Knights and Fairy Tales topic is a fabulous opportunity to explore some British history (as well as getting messy and creative with a Design & Technology unit on Motte and Bailey castles!). We then look to the outdoors, exploring the Enchanted Garden by looking at plants and lifecycles; who knew we had so many habitats within the grounds of our school? And what does “Respect” look like in the environment?
In our classroom, we love to celebrate each other’s hard work, progress and achievements: our raffle ticket reward system helps us to think about our behaviour, make improvements to our work and be our best selves.
Our Year One classroom expectations, that the children have themselves written, are as followed:
- In 2020-21, Year 1 agree to:
- To use kind hands.
- Be respectful of school property.
- Respect and celebrate our similarities and differences.
- Listen when someone else is speaking.
- Always try our best.
- Participate and engage in learning.
- Move quietly and sensibly around school.
This is the year in which we reach a crucial point in our St Helena’s journey: the end of Key Stage One! How are we here already? In our Year Two classroom, “Community” is embedded throughout all elements of learning, particularly through working collaboratively together to create a calm, nurturing and happy learning environment. We have a close relationship with our learning partners in the Year One studio, often joining forces for lessons, investigations and celebrations. The motto in our classroom is “just keep swimming”; this inspires us to build resilience in our learning and socially with our friends.
A big part of Year Two is developing a real love of and passion for reading. Through high quality books, their imaginations are taken on journeys around the world, through different cultures and throughout history. Some of our favourite stories to explore in English and as our class reads are “Meerkat Mail” and the beautiful, Kenyan-inspired story, “Lila and the Secret of the Rain”. We also love to explore traditional tales with modern twists, such as “Jack and the Baked Beanstalk, which is fabulous for inspiring our writing! Mathematically, the children expand their knowledge and understanding from the foundations secured in Reception and Year One, becoming critical thinkers and approaching tricky work problems with a new maturity. They explore shape and geometry in greater detail, which wonderfully prepares them for new challenges in Lower Key Sage Two.
Through Art and Design and inspired by their topic of Africa, the children learn how to paint with unusual objects to create pieces in their sketchbooks. We will become musicians and compose our own pieces of music using body percussion and instruments. As scientists, we will explore the world around us and expand our understanding of science concepts through a range of fun experiments. One of our favourite opportunities this year is looking at Motte and Bailey castles, where we have lots of fun exploring their construction in D&T!
Our Year Two’s, inspired by our school’s Cristian values, have thought deeply and maturely about what they feel the expectations of our classroom should be:
- In Year Two, we agree to:
- Be kind.
- Don’t shout out.
- Listen to each other.
- Be a good friend.
- Try our best.
- Respect each other and our classroom.
- Show endurance by trying our best.
Studio Three and Four
In Year Three and Four, “Friendship” and “Respect” are key elements of our learning. For some of us, our classroom is the first taste of school life in a brand-new Key Stage, which comes with many new challenges and experiences. For our Year Fours, their challenge is to become mentors to the new Year Three’s, guiding and supporting them from the start of the year.
Our class “Community” is a space rife with teamwork and supporting each other: our “work as a team to achieve a dream” celebration system helps inspire us to do our best and get the best out of our friends. This term, we have decided that, once we have ticked off a hundred squares on our chart, we can achieve our dream (which is to spend an afternoon together at the part in the village!).
As learners, we become readers and authors this year, inspired by amazing texts such as Cliff-hanger, Until I Met Dudley and Letters from the Lighthouse. We especially thrive during our unit of work on The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, which generates some fabulous questions and writing opportunities. We get our first taste of a foreign language, as we begin to learn how to describe ourselves in Spanish (¡Nos encanta aprender español!).
In some of our thematic learning, we look at the Stone Age with a focus on the materials they had to work with. We design, make and fire our own clay pots, as well as having a go at weaving! As scientists and designers, we have some amazing hands-on experiences as we look electricity. We have a go at constructing circuits, investigating conductors and insulators and building our own 3D model lighthouse (with some working circuits included)! We even dismantle and dissect common household appliances, such as a toaster and a vacuum cleaner, to discover how they work and what some of the components and materials actually do! We incorporate technology into our learning experience by using AR technology too look at systems of the human body; we use Seesaw to record our investigations and access digital learning.
Year Three and Four devised their own list of class promises to help guide their journey through the year:
- We promise to:
- Keep everybody safe and happy.
- Be kind to one another.
- Listen to each other, including the grown-ups, when we are sharing stories or ideas.
- Be respectful when other people are sharing opinions or ideas.
- Respect how other people might be feeling.
- Keep our classroom nice and tidy.
- Help our friends when they are stick.
- Help people feel happy when they are sad.
- Fetch help if our friends are hurt.
- Put our litter in the bin.
- To walk sensibly when moving around school.
Studio Four and Five
Our classroom is aesthetically pleasing with a balance of working walls and children’s work to create a welcoming and creative environment in which to learn and that the children are proud of.
In Studio Four and Five, one core focus is to develop independence through “Endurance” and resilience. A creative approach is used in our classroom. Children are encouraged to make mistakes, acknowledge them and learn from them, without being judged. We learn that the difficulties and challenges we face, both in and out of the classroom, can be overcome through strength, experience, mutual respect and friendship. As we grow and mature, we look outside of our own school and village communities to consider the impact we have on our surroundings and environment. We begin to develop a critical understanding of our responsibilities in the wider world as we contemplate the how we can change our ways to make a difference.
In our learning throughout the year, we continue to progress through the Key Stage Two key learning, preparing for our final mile as Year Six. This includes developing a critical understanding of fractions (wait for the “wow!” moment when all becomes clear!) and the four operations, allowing us to sink our teeth into some challenging and thought-provoking reasoning questions. As writers, we thrive and blossom as independent writers, as we begin to naturally apply grammatical devices (such as semi-colons, relative clauses and parenthesis) to give our published pieces depth, flavour and a mature flare.
We work closely with Studio Six during our thematic learning, this year developing our scientific understanding of the universe, the human body and the lifecycles of other living things in nature. In historical understanding of post-Roman Britain is established as we look at the vicious Vikings and angry Anglo-Saxons. We develop our understanding of tone, texture and line in Art and Design through observational drawing, giving us mature skills and an appreciation for the work of artists.
As readers, we continue to consider a range of stories with issues, which promote our personal development and a deep empathy for other people and their circumstances. We delve into the beautifully illustrated story “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”, we look deeply at the characterisation and development in Roald Dahl’s classic “Matilda” and look at considering our own behaviour and attitudes towards people who look and sound different to us in the ever-inspiring “Wonder”.
Our Year Six ethos is centred around growing up, moving on and looking back with a smile. In our classroom, we continue to build our respect for the world around us, looking at our current and future school communities, our locality and our place in the wider world. We develop a maturity towards change as we look ahead to transitioning to Year 7, thinking about and building resilience to the physical, emotional and social changes ahead of us. We explore a range of stories with issues this year, including: “The Star Outside My Window”; “Wonder” and “Holes”. These texts support our development as writers, readers and deep thinkers.
In Year Six, the children consolidate and extend all their core mathematical and English learning from Reception to Year 5 for their final year at St Helena’s. The children begin this year reaching for the stars with an exploration of Earth and Space. Throughout the year, we look to the past with a study into what post-Roman Britain looked like – those Anglo-Saxons and Vikings really were a violent bunch! Returning to Science, we’ll explore: the systems of the human body; reproduction & development of animals and healthy lifestyles. In the summer term, we become designers and entrepreneurs with a vision for solving problems and developing products for the future!
In our classroom, technology is the spearhead of much of our learning; the future is very much now! We make use of Seesaw and other apps to support and supplement our learning, as well as giving us opportunities to display and celebrate our work digitally. We learn about our responsibilities when using technology, particularly when online and using our personal technology (such as mobile phones) at home.
Our Year Six classroom expectations, that the children have themselves written, are as followed:
- In 2020-21, Year Six agree to:
- Pass forward a smile.
- Always think before we speak, with friends and adults.
- Look after our equipment as if it were our own.
- Always be a role model for other children.
- When someone is talking (adults or children) listen to and respect them.
- Always listen and take on board what others have to say.
- Follow the given instructions by adults.
- Behave in a way that represents school.
- Listen to learn at our best.
- Keep healthy friendships by compromising, communicating and keeping trust.