In Reception classes, we follow the Early Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. There are seven areas of learning and development that shape learning. The three prime areas are communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. The curriculum is delivered through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity, including synthetic phonics, early reading and writing. Children have short lessons using the same style of learning as children in Year 1 and 2, so they are ready for Year 1 by the end of their time in Reception.
From Year 1 we use an approach in English and maths that uses a stage, not age approach. This means that children may be in English and maths classes with children from other year groups. The range of ability is narrower in these 'Power Groups,' so that the teaching can be pitched at a level that challenges all children in the group. Teaching is planned from documents that set out the progression in concepts.
Each lesson is structured to promote children's engagement, leading to independence and better recall.
- Children will watch and listen to the teacher model and 'think aloud' the concept the children are learning.
- Children then will be guided through the learning by the teacher, with support from their class partner using carefully planned success steps to help them.
- Children then practise with their partner, teaching each other the concept and checking each other's work.
- Children then apply the new concept independently, without any support from a teacher or success steps.
Cooperative learning in the guided and partner practice ensures greater engagement with concepts being taught and these are embedded through;
- Talking with others helps pupils understand and remember concepts.
- Cognitive processing helps transfer information from short to long term memory.
- Interaction among children around appropriate tasks increases their mastery and retention of critical concepts.
- Children learn from one another because in their discussions of content cognitive conflicts will arise. Inadequate reasoning will also be exposed, and higher quality understanding will emerge
This approach is based on research by William Glasser, that found that we recall 95% of what we teach to someone else.
The pace of lessons is quick and children produce more work than in a standard class. We see children make rapid progress in Power Groups.