The curriculum in EYFS is planned around the changing needs of each cohort that join Nursery or Reception. The EYFS staff team design the curriculum based on the key beliefs that it should be fun, interesting and relevant to the children’s interests and should enable the pupils to develop key skills and understanding at the right level for each individual.
On entry to Nursery, many children are working below the age related expectations in the Prime areas of learning: Communication and Language; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. Much of the curriculum in Nursery is planned around helping the children progress in these areas and the activities designed by the experienced Nursery staff team support children in their development of social skills, independence, speaking, listening and fine motor skills.
Many hands on experiences are provided for the children along with trips outside the Nursery. Musical activities, growing flowers and vegetables and spending lots of time in the outdoor area are particular strengths of the Nursery curriculum. The continuous provision in the Nursery environment enables children to access resources independently and choose from a very wide range of activities.
When children enter Reception, emphasis is placed on the rapid development of key skills for children who need support with fine motor skills and speaking and listening skills in order to enable them to access the wider curriculum, particularly Reading and Writing.
The Reception curriculum is delivered through short thematic topics designed to inspire, fire the imagination and enthuse the children. Wherever possible, these topics are derived from the children’s current interests such as an interest in building ships in the garden leading to a topic on Pirates. A week’s learning is designed around the current topic, incorporating Adult Directed sessions and enhancements to the continuous provision. The staff team work closely together to ensure planned activities closely meet the children’s needs. A key strength in the planning process is the way the children and staff work together collaboratively to come up with creative ideas for how the continuous provision and role play area can be designed for each topic.
Reading and Writing skills are taught through a daily systematic programme of Phonics lessons, carefully planned to meet children’s needs and identify any gaps in understanding as they develop.
Children’s progress is monitored closely throughout the EYFS which enables the staff to respond quickly to any gaps in skills or understanding through Adult Directed lessons that focus on particular areas of weakness. Individual and group support is provided to help children make rapid progress with key skills.
Reading and Phonics
READ WRITE INC.
In Early Years and Key Stage 1 we use the Read Write Inc scheme to assist in the teaching of phonics. Have a look on https://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/ for more information. Also, click here to read correspondence explaining how the Read Write Inc scheme would work, and click here to see frequently asked questions and answers that might help your understanding.
Below you will also see links to videos that will help you better understand Read Write Inc., and well as a link to the presentation that will give you an overview.
At Alder Grove CofE Primary School, we use Power Maths as a basis of our maths lesson from Reception to Year 6. It is a whole class mastery approach, that is based upon the concrete, pictorial and abstract approach.
Every lesson is divided into sections that involve and encourage discovery, sharing, collaboration, practice and reflection. Children are encouraged to solve problems each day through the use of concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract thinking.
At the heart of this programme is the principle that all children can achieve and be successful mathematicians with the right growth mindset. It promotes five child friendly characters, each with their own positive skillset, to inspire and motivate children. These characters are:
To develop mastery in maths, children need to be enabled to acquire a deep understanding of maths concepts, structures and procedures, step by step. Complex mathematical concepts are built on simpler conceptual components and when children understand every step in the learning sequence, maths becomes transparent and makes logical sense. Interactive lessons establish deep understanding in small steps, as well as fluency in key facts such as tables and number bonds. The whole class works on the same content and no child is left behind.
- Builds every concept in small, progressive steps.
- Is built with interactive, whole-class teaching in mind.
- Provides the tools you need to develop growth mindsets.
- Helps you check understanding and ensure that every child is keeping up.
- Establishes core elements such as practice and reflection.
Power Maths Teaching Model
Power Maths is a structured teaching and learning process that helps make certain that every child masters each maths concept securely and deeply. For each year group, the curriculum is broken down into core concepts, taught in units. A unit divides into smaller learning steps – lessons. Step by step, foundations of cumulative knowledge and understanding are built. This helps build consistency across the school, following the same modal across all year groups.
Each unit begins with a unit starter, which introduces the learning context along with key mathematical vocabulary, structures and representations.
- The Textbooks include a check on readiness and a warm-up task for children to complete.
- Your Teacher Guide gives support right from the start on important structures and representations, mathematical language, common misconceptions and intervention strategies.
Once a unit has been introduced, series of lessons based upon small steps around that Unit are taught.
- Each lesson is scaffolded with Textbook and Practice Book activities and always begins with a Power Up activity
- Power Maths identifies lesson by lesson what concepts are to be taught.
Same-day interventions are vital in order to keep the class progressing together.
- Intervention is focused on keeping up now, not catching up later, so interventions should happen as soon as they are needed. The school will aim to build into it’s timetable a PM same-day maths catch up slot. This will allow teachers to tackle misconceptions from the AM maths lessons and address on the same day. It will also allow pupils that need stretch and challenge to engage in an activity that builds from the AM lesson.
- Practice questions are designed to bring misconceptions to the surface, allowing class teachers to identify these easily as you circulate during independent practice time.
End of unit check and journal
At the end of a unit, summative assessment tasks reveal essential information on each child’s understanding. An End of Unit Check in the Pupil Textbook lets class teachers see which children have mastered the key concepts, which children have not and where their misconceptions lie. The Practice Book includes an End of unit journal in which children can reflect on what they have learned.
Keeping the class together
Traditionally, children who learn quickly have been accelerated through the curriculum. As a consequence, their learning may be superficial and will lack the many benefits of enabling children to learn with and from each other. By contrast, Power Maths’ mastery approach offers deeper learning above speed. It sees all children learning the same concept in small, cumulative steps, each finding and mastering challenge at their own level. Those who grasp a concept easily have time to explore and understand that concept at a deeper level. The whole class therefore moves through the curriculum at broadly the same pace via individual learning journeys. Using research, it is important this whole class strategy applies to setting and ability. We believe at Alder Grove that children should not be given a glass ceiling and children quickly pick up ‘ability’ groups within classrooms and this can have an adverse effect on self-esteem. It is important the children work with a variety of different children. Every child should be working on the same concept, and mixing up the groupings widens children’s opportunities for exploring, discussing and sharing their understanding with others.
Structures and representations
Unlike most other subjects, maths comprises a wide array of abstract concepts – and that is why children and adults so often find it difficult. By taking a Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (C-P-A) approach, Power Maths allows children to tackle concepts in a tangible and more comfortable way. The use of manipulatives is imperative and should be accessible for all children, at all ages at Alder Grove. They are an essential resource not only to support but to help with stretch and challenge.
Replacing the traditional approach of a teacher working through a problem in front of the class, the concrete stage introduces real objects that children can use to ‘do’ the maths − any familiar object that a child can manipulate and move to help bring the maths to life. It is important to appreciate,
however, that children must always understand the link between models and the objects they represent. Although they can be used at any time, good concrete models are an essential first step in understanding.
This stage uses pictorial representations of objects to let children ‘see’ what particular maths problems look like. It helps them make connections between the concrete and pictorial representations and the abstract maths concept. Children can also create or view a pictorial representation together, enabling discussion and comparisons. The Power Maths teaching tools are fantastic for this learning stage, and bar modelling is invaluable for problem solving throughout
the primary curriculum.
Our ultimate goal is for children to understand abstract mathematical concepts, signs and notation and, of course, some children will reach this stage far more quickly than others. To work with abstract concepts, a child needs to be comfortable with the meaning of, and relationships between, concrete, pictorial and abstract models and representations. The C-P-A approach is not linear, and children may need different types of models at different times. However, when a child demonstrates with concrete models and pictorial representations that they have grasped a concept, we can be confident that they are ready to explore or model it with abstract signs such as numbers and notation.
Formative assessment in Power Maths sits alongside the school’s Maths Summative Assessment timetable. Formative assessment is an essential tool for teachers to make their judgements on the progress and understanding of individual pupils, to inform same day intervention or wider support or challenge that may need to be implemented, as well as inform future planning.
End of unit check – Textbook
Each unit concludes with a summative check to help you assess quickly and clearly each child’s understanding, fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills. In KS2 this check also contains a SATs-style question to help children become familiar with answering this type of question.
End of unit check – Practice Book
The Practice Book contains further opportunities for assessment, and can be completed by children independently whilst the class teachers are carrying out diagnostic assessment with small groups. The Teacher Guide advices on what to do if children struggle to articulate an explanation. It will also offer insights into children’s answers and their implications for the next learning steps.
My journal is designed to allow children to show their depth of understanding of the unit. It can also serve as a way of checking that children have grasped key mathematical vocabulary. Children should have some time to think about how they want to answer the question, and you could ask them to talk to a partner about their ideas. Then children should write their answer in their Practice Book.