The Junior Department Curriculum
We provide a stimulating and caring environment which enables your child to be happy, relaxed and confident as they learn, meet challenges and persevere to overcome these, as well as acquiring lifelong learning skills. The development of confidence and independence in every child lies at the heart of all that we do as we encourage in your child a genuine love of individual and collaborative learning.
On most days your child’s morning will consist of Assembly, phonics, an hour of Literacy and an hour of Numeracy. Afternoons normally consist of the other curriculum areas – Science, Art, Music, Physical Education, Geography, History, CS, Design and Technology, PSHE, French, Theology, Philosophy and Religion, Drama and Library.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Pupils in Woodlands and Reception follow the EYFS curriculum (September 2021).
The Foundation Stage Curriculum is organised into three Prime and four Specific Areas of Learning.
We enhance and extend these seven areas to provide rich, engaging and inspiring learning opportunities for every child.
Children within the Early Years learn through a range of play based opportunities as well as adult led and independent activities. At Beechwood, we plan a wide range of exciting activities that promote your child’s independence, communication, self-confidence and determination as well as the ability to think critically and share their thoughts and ideas. The children have independent access to a stimulating curriculum both indoors and outdoors on a daily basis.
In Woodlands, the primary focus is on your child’s personal, social and emotional development. Language and physical development are also central to the Woodlands curriculum. The staff in Woodlands use the “In the Moment Planning” concept to work with your child’s interest and to foster their engagement. Discrete phonic and numeracy sessions are carefully woven into the themes, carefully complementing your child’s developmental stage.
In Reception, children work within the framework of EYFS (September 2021), gradually increasing their formal learning in readiness for Year 1.
Key Stage 1
Years 1 and 2 broadly follow the Key Stage 1 National Curriculum. However, we enrich this substantially, developing the children’s academic interests broader and further, whilst always being aware of each child’s pastoral needs.
Teaching in KS1 is primarily Cross Curricular. This approach helps to engage and inspire the children. Topics provide links between Literacy, Science, Geography and History and often extend to links with Numeracy, Music, Drama and Art. The teaching staff select these topics so far as possible to reflect the needs and interests of the cohort and key events which may be happening.
We celebrate the Early Years and understand how important it is that a child’s development occurs through a fun, nurturing and positive approach to all that they do. We achieve this throughout the day as the children experience form, group and individual learning, confidently and quickly getting to know the staff well and working with them.
Our beautiful rural setting with acres of outside space enables us to regularly take our teaching and learning outside the form room, using the natural local environment to encourage and develop children’s experiences. The children also love playing outside and exploring the beautiful outdoors more fully through their interaction with nature in Forest School sessions.
We expect high standards, and the children rise to their individual challenges.
During Year 2, we fully prepare the children for a seamless transition to Year 3, equipped with the skills and confidence to springboard into Middle Department life.
Literacy lessons are planned, taking guidance from the National Curriculum. During these sessions, part of the learning takes place with the children sitting together on the carpet, as whole Form teaching, and part takes place at tables, where children work either as part of a group or independently. We differentiate work to reflect the different ability levels within the Form. At the end of each lesson, we review the learning that has taken place with the children to address any misconceptions and discuss the next steps.
Each term we have a topic that we try to link with the children’s Literacy wherever possible. For example, we used a ‘Rainforest’ topic to inspire a painting description, a postcard, some poetry and some story-writing.
We teach phonics in ability groups drawn from across each Year Group. We use a variety of materials to support the children’s phonic acquisition:
- In Woodlands phonics is introduced through storybooks with rhyme and Jolly Phonics.
- In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, the children develop their phonics through access to Monster Phonics.
We aim to hear your child read four times a week. Your child’s Form Teacher or Teaching Assistant will write in their Home Learning Diary, which gives their Form Teacher the opportunity to monitor, support and develop your child’s progress in reading. The Form Teacher will also respond to any comments or queries you have written in the Home Learning Diary.
We use a plethora of reading schemes to ensure that we match the interests of every child and that we are able to challenge them across all genres.
We send a Home Learning Diary home every day in your child’s book bag along with information on the reading and phonics home learning. We recommend that you and your child enjoy reading together for pleasure on a daily basis. Please sign the Home Learning Diary each day to confirm that your child has completed their reading.
We introduce Woodlands and Reception children to letter formation, supported by using a letter story and a correct pencil grip. The children work on the letter formation of the sound or diagraph simultaneously being taught within Phonics. In Woodlands we encourage the children to ‘mark make’ and record their name frequently. In Reception the children record on lined paper, working on where the letter starts and how it sits on the line. We introduce the Letterjoin handwriting scheme from Woodlands which enables all children to master a cursive script with relative ease.
Maths (EYFS: Mathematics)
As with Literacy, we use the National Curriculum to help plan our Maths lessons. In Reception, Year 1 and 2 we use White Rose Maths Mastery scheme to deliver core mathematical understanding. Lessons usually begin with a ten-minute session of ‘mental’ maths, where children practise quick recall of number facts, such as number bonds, mental arithmetic and times tables. We then move on to the main teaching session and focus on a specific strategy or skill, after which the children have opportunities to put these skills into practice at their tables, either independently or collaboratively. Much of our Maths teaching focuses on ‘open questions’, investigating and exploring and creating explanations, which enables children to draw on prior knowledge and make links between concepts.
Topics (EYFS: Knowledge and Understanding)
At Beechwood, we firmly believe that children learn best when they are able to make connections in their learning. Each term we look at a topic which will encompass many curriculum areas. We review the topics each year and topics may even change during the year since the curriculum is an organic process that is often affected by previous topics/learning and the children’s interests. We have chosen topics for this year that we hope will captivate the children’s interest and their enthusiasm for learning.
Some subjects, such as Physical Education, TPR (RE), CS and Music may not always link in with the theme being taught and may be taught as separate units of work, to ensure that children receive their entitlement in those subjects.
We use IT throughout the curriculum where appropriate and the children also have a Computing lesson each week with a specialist teacher. In these lessons, children develop their skills in painting, word processing, information handling and control technology, through initial teaching input sessions followed by short independent tasks. Regular additional computing teaching and learning takes place in the Form Room using iPads. We allocate one lesson per term to discuss e-safety with the children, as well as reinforcing this on a weekly basis.
Science (EYFS: Understanding the World)
Where possible, we link Science to our termly topic but also often teach it explicitly on its own. KS1 Science focuses primarily on exploring materials and living things as well as developing the skills for scientific enquiry, which are also taught in other curriculum areas, for example Geography and Forest School.
PHSE (EYFS: PSED)
SMC to add new words.
Music (EYFS: Expressive Arts and Design)
The children have two half hour music lessons in KS1 with our specialist music teacher each week and a weekly half hour lesson in Reception.
Children in Year 2 have the opportunity to learn one of a range of instruments. Lessons take place in groups during the lunch break.
Art (EYFS: Expressive Arts)
The children experience a wide range of art activities and are able to handle a range of media over the year working in both 2D and 3D form.
Design and Technology (EYFS: Expressive Arts and Design)
The children participate in planning, designing and making a product to match a design brief; they then evaluate the process and the finished product.
Topic – Geography/History (EYFS: Understanding the World)
We plan Geography and History within the chosen topics for each year. Some topics will include both Geography and History, whilst others may only include one or the other. Our planning across the year ensures there is an equal balance of learning in the two subjects.
Theology, Philosophy and Religion (EYFS: Understanding the World)
We have adopted a policy of promoting the Christian ethos of the School, whilst reflecting the traditions and customs of a multi-cultural society. We hold Junior Department Assemblies three mornings per week covering a variety of topics and including guest speakers. Form Assemblies are also a part of our Collective Worship Calendar.
The Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus 2018 forms the basis of the Junior Department’s TPR teaching and learning.
Physical Education (EYFS: Physical Development)
In the Junior Department pupils begin to develop an understanding of the importance of exercise and keeping fit as well as an enjoyment and appreciation for a range of sporting activities. Our main objective for this age group is to develop the pupils’ physical literacy through PE lessons.
Physical Development is planned in blocks and consists of four main elements:
We provide a balance of experience in gymnastics, athletics, dance, games and swimming, giving the children the opportunity to explore their own physical capabilities, both as individuals and as part of a group.
Junior Department pupils have timetabled PE and/or swimming lessons each week taught by our specialist PE and games teachers. This gives a real focus to each lesson, concentrating on different skills and sports throughout the year and ensuring that we coach and encourage every child in a knowledgeable way.
Year 2 pupils also begin to learn about our Main Sports through their weekly Games lesson, which takes place in a range of environments including the Astro, pitches, netball court or Sports Hall.
The highlight of our sporting year is Junior Sports Day which is held in June.
The children keep their PE and swimming kits on pegs outside their Form Room and will bring them home for washing on a regular basis.
As part of our cross curricular approach, Dance and Drama sessions complement the topic being taught in class. Children develop confidence and strong, clear speaking and singing voices in readiness for a variety of performances to parents during the year.
We deliver a fun, interactive introduction to French. Children explore themes such as colours, counting and animals through song, games, role play and storytelling.
Forest School and Outdoor Education (EYFS: Physical Development and Understanding the World)
Mrs Le Bas, an Accredited Level 3 Forest School Leader and qualified primary teacher, leads these sessions. This is an educational approach to outdoor play and learning that motivates children to learn through achievable challenges within a woodland/outdoor environment. The children are given the opportunity to take appropriate risks which build confidence and self-esteem through making decisions and taking responsibility.
All children from Woodlands through to Y4 take part in FS activities on a regular basis. FS is not weather dependent; children will spend up to 90 minutes in the woods in sun, rain and snow. High winds are the only exception to this. If the winds are high, then we will not take the children out for safety reasons. Mrs Le Bas will supply additional information about FS, the dates for each term and also the clothing required. Be prepared for some lively and exciting tales, and for muddy clothes!
The children are able to borrow one or two books and take them home. Please ensure that your child returns their books each week as they are unable to borrow another book until they return the previous ones. It can be upsetting for your child if the other children are changing their books and your child is unable to. If your child loses a library book, then please email the librarians via your child’s Form Teacher.
Beechwood follows the guidelines from the Government’s SEND Code of Practice 2014 & the Equality Act 2010.
At Beechwood, the provision of Learning Support is a staged model. In the EYFS the staff raise a ‘Early Years Concern’ if at any time they are worried about a specific child in connection with their learning or emotional well-being.
At the end of Reception, the child’s key person reviews the document. If you and the member of staff agree that your child should continue to require extra support, he or she will remain on this document. At half term, the document is reviewed by Year 1 staff, who make the decision as to whether the child no longer is a concern or needs to be placed on a ‘Stage 1’. This process begins with the Form Teacher identifying a need and completing a ‘Stage 1’ form which is then passed onto the Assistant Head (Junior) and Learning Support Unit (LSU) and this instigates a period of observation and discussion with you.
If we advise further action, this is followed by ‘Stage 2’ where we give a child a Learning Support Pupil Plan. This will detail differentiation for work in the Form Room and individual support lessons may also be recommended. There is no additional cost to you for this.
A member of our Learning Support Team gives the individual lessons which take place during academic time and they will withdraw the child from lessons or assembly to give this support.
The parents, Form Teacher, Assistant Head (Junior), Head of Year and the LSU are jointly involved in any discussions about children with special needs. We may also recommend Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and/or an Educational Psychologist report for some children.
Gifted, Talented and Able Pupils
If we identify a child as gifted or talented their Form Teacher completes an associated record and attaches the evidence. They give this to the Assistant Head (Academic) and Assistant Head (Junior) and this is repeated termly. We pass these records to the Middle Department when that child moves on.
Form Teachers identify and monitor able children and we cater for them through differentiated work within the Form Room.
All our staff plan lessons taking into consideration the needs of all pupils in each Form and providing effective differentiation so that every child makes effective progress.