LEARNING AND TEACHING
Our school curriculum is based on the National Curriculum, our experience and knowledge of children’s learning, and local and global issues that are important for our children.
All children study:
- Communication Language and Literacy – Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening
- Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural & RE
- Time and Place – History and Geography
- Science and Technologies
- Physical Education
- Creative Development- Art, Music, Drama, Dance
We ensure that each year builds upon the work of the previous year, and so, therefore, the Early Years Foundation Stage undertaken in the Reception Year is a vital part of this process.
We plan so that the aspects of learning are linked – usually through a theme, project or topic e.g. Tudor Nantwich will include English, History, Design Technology, Art, Music, Dance, Geography, RE and Science. Children learn better when they can link ideas together.
THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE [EYFS]
This is the children’s first year in school
The foundation stage provides a well planned and resourced curriculum offering children a wide range of different experiences to take their learning forward. It provides opportunities for all children to succeed in an atmosphere of care and for them to feel valued. Monitoring each child’s progress throughout the foundation stage ensures that their achievements can be celebrated.
The curriculum for the foundation stage underpins all future learning by supporting, fostering, promoting and developing children’s individual ability.
The Early Years curriculum is organised into seven areas of learning:
Prime Areas Specific Areas
Personal, Social, Emotional Development Literacy
Physical Development Mathematics
Communication and Language Understanding the world
Expressive Arts and Design
The Reception classroom is organised in smaller areas or workshops which promote specific areas of learning. For example role play areas, writing corners and creative areas.
In addition to this, the class area has direct access to outdoor and indoor play areas.
The key to achievement in all curriculum areas is the ability to understand and use English effectively.
We develop the speaking skills of the children during question and answer sessions in the classroom, group activities, assemblies and dramatic productions. Drama is also a learning method in other areas e.g. history and R.E.
The children are encouraged to ‘understand from listening’ to class lessons, stories, presentations by outside speakers, audio tapes, assemblies, computer software, and musical events to name but a few.
READING – We encourage a lifelong love of literature, so reading is a key skill. We are an ECAR school and believe that every child both should be given every opportunity to be competent in this vital life skill by the time they leave Pear Tree.
As enjoyment is a key factor to motivate children to read we provide a huge (and ever growing) range of printed material to cater for all tastes. Parents are given guidelines on how to support their child’s reading in the reading diaries.
We encourage children to express their thoughts and feelings on paper from a very early age. It is a very complex skill and we recognise that learning to write is like learning to speak – children have to practise and receive encouragement for their efforts.
As children become confident in putting pen to paper, we introduce the conventions of spelling, handwriting, punctuation and grammar in a manner appropriate to their age and ability.
Daily ‘Sounds and Letters’ takes place in Key Stage 1 and weekly spellings teaching takes place in Key Stage 2.
Each day begins with independent activities which involves each class participating in a variety of reading activities including independent reading and guided reading plus maths and other curriculum areas.
Literacy is incorporated into other areas of the curriculum so that children use it as a cross curricular tool. Research, writing, speaking and listening skills are used in RE, Geography, History, Science etc. Each child has a reading diary which they keep alongside their reading book. Parents are requested to share the reading experience and communicate through their children’s diaries regularly.
Maths at Pear Tree is an exciting subject. We use a range of ICT and practical resources to enthuse children with a love of number, shape, problem solving and questioning. Maths is learned through real contexts. We aim for children to have a ‘mastery’ of maths.
In Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 pupils develop their knowledge and understanding of mathematics through practical activity, exploration and discussion. They learn to count, read, write and order numbers to 100 and beyond. They develop a range of mental calculation skills and use these in different settings. They learn about shape and space through practical activity which builds on their understanding of their immediate environment. They begin to grasp mathematical language, using it to talk about their methods and explain their reasoning when solving problems.
During Key Stage 2 pupils use the number system more confidently. They move from counting reliably to calculating fluently with all four number operations. They are encouraged to tackle a problem with mental methods before using any other approach. Pupils explore features of shape and space and develop their measuring skills in a range of contexts. They discuss and present their methods and reasoning using a wider range of mathematical language, diagrams and charts.
Geography is an important aspect of our curriculum at Pear Tree. It develops knowledge of places and also environments through geographical enquiry. Through Geography children learn and encounter different societies and it can inspire them to think about their own place in the world. They enjoy learning about communities and relationships between people and landscapes.
Our children go on residential visits in Y2, Y4 and Y6 and take part in geography enquiry in another environment in Y2 and Y6 as part of the visit.
In the History curriculum the pupils’ curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world is encouraged. Wherever possible we make links to local history.
Pupils are taught to consider how the past influences the present, what past civilisations were like and how beliefs and cultures had an effect on the people’s actions. As they do this, pupils develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people.
In History pupils find evidence, analyse it and reach their own conclusions. To do this they need to be able to research and sift through evidence.
The use of artefacts is encouraged to learn how the past is different from the present.
They learn about change and continuity in their own area, in Britain and in other parts of the world. Pupils use different sources of information to help them investigate the past.
Science stimulates and excites pupils’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. It can satisfy their curiosity with knowledge and it engages learners at all levels.
Our Science curriculum is broad and balanced covering the three main areas of Science.
- Life Processes and Living Things
- Materials and their Properties
- Electricity, Sound, Light, Forces and the Earth and Beyond
We deliver the curriculum with emphasis on the two main aspects of children’s learning in Science:
- Learning how to investigate the world around them
- Learning to make sense of the world around them using scientific ideas and knowledge
All pupils’ learning is progressive and developmental and most of all stimulating to their general interest. We develop skills of creativity, perseverance and co-operation so that work in science enhances the child’s ability to learn confidently in all other areas of the curriculum.
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
Design and Technology aims to prepare pupils to participate in tomorrow’s rapidly changing technologies.
Our Design and Technology curriculum aims for pupils to become autonomous and creative problem solvers, as individuals and members of a team. They will learn to look for needs, wants and opportunities and respond to them by developing a range of ideas and making products and systems using the thinking skills approach.
Pupils are taught skills in using tools and techniques in combining materials. They then use the skills in the production of their designs. Built into this process of designing and making is evaluation of their own work and the work of others improving speaking and listening skills.
INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY [ICT]
Information and Communication Technology is an integral and important part of school life. Children at Pear Tree have some dedicated ICT lessons using our interactive whiteboards and laptops. They also use ICT in a range of other lessons to support and enhance their learning. It is vital that children develop research skills, investigational skills and many other cross-curricular skills during their studies.
ICT is a dynamic subject where children learn to use a range of programs, software and resources to create, research and record. ICT is developing in our society at a phenomenal rate and the children are familiar and comfortable with sophisticated and complex technology. We try to use their skills and experiences to enhance and develop their thinking and learning skills.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION – ACTIVE MARK
Physical education develops pupils’ physical competencies, and their ability to use these to perform in a range of activities. Physical education provides opportunities for pupils to be creative, competitive and to face up to different challenges as individuals and in groups and teams. It promotes positive attitudes towards active and healthy lifestyles.
Our outdoor curriculum provides the challenges and skill building necessary for our children to develop critical decision making skills and personal resilience. Pupils learn how to think in different ways to suit a wide variety of creative, competitive and challenging activities. Pupils participate in dance, games, gymnastics, swimming, athletics and other outdoor activities and through these they learn how to plan, perform and evaluate actions, ideas and performances to improve their quality and effectiveness. Through this process pupils discover their aptitudes, abilities and preferences, and make choices about how to get involved in lifelong physical activity.
ART AND DESIGN
The Arts are an important part of our enriched curriculum at Pear Tree. Through art, we give the children an opportunity to explore and develop their practical and thinking skills using a variety of media and techniques. They also have an insight into the working methods of known artists and the influences of different cultures throughout the world, past and present. Children have opportunities to develop ideas across the arts making exciting links between visual arts, language, music, dance and drama.
Children visit galleries and artists work alongside the children in school to enrich this area of the curriculum. Each year group has the opportunity to take part in Art Club for a half term.
In music lessons the children are involved in making and responding to music. We develop each of the interrelated skills of performing, composing and appraising in all activities and extend these skills by applying listening skills and knowledge and understanding of music. It is important to develop the idea that music is fun and is for life.
At Pear Tree singing is very important – the voice is our musical instrument!
The children have opportunities to experience a wide range of live music, both in school and at other venues, such as the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. They also perform their own music for an audience, thus developing their self-confidence and sensitivity towards others.
As part of our extensive programme of extra-curricular activities, we encourage children of all ages to join one of our two choirs.
Religious education is linked to the themes which draw together the other areas of the curriculum. We follow the Cheshire East Religious Education agreed syllabus. Children learn about three major world religions Christianity, Judaism and Islam and they are encouraged to develop an understanding of the spiritual dimension of human activity. We encourage them to respect the views of others and aim to equip them to make a positive contribution to our diverse and multi-faith society. This approach complies with the 1995 Agreed Syllabus of Religious Instruction, the 1988 Education Act and in accordance with Schedule 19 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Much of the children’s learning in R.E. takes the form of story telling, drama, discussion and visiting places of worship.
You have the right by law to withdraw your child from collective worship or religious education. If you wish to do so you should speak to the Head Teacher.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
Initial responsibility for identifying and supporting children with learning difficulties lies with class teachers. They formulate programmes of work to support such children and will keep parents informed
If difficulties persist they consult the school’s special needs coordinator, who advises on further programmes of work.
Whenever we believe a pupil requires further support we call upon services available from the local education authority. These include advisory teachers, support teachers and educational psychologists.
INFORMAL AND FORMAL ASSESSMENT
Our pupils are assessed by their teachers in a variety of formal and informal ways on a continuous basis, which helps to decide how your child’s learning can be taken forward.
In line with National Assessment arrangements children at the end of each Key Stage (Years 2 and 6) will have a more formal assessment.
Your child’s achievements and progress are included in the annual report and you are welcome to discuss this with your child’s teacher.