Prospect Hill Infant and Nursery Curriculum
Curriculum Intent Statement
At Prospect Hill Nursery and Infant School our curriculum has been carefully designed with our pupils in mind and recognises that every child is unique. It has been tailored to meet the needs of all of our pupils especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged (see Barriers to Learning document). Our curriculum ensures that the ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. The curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, provide first hand learning experiences, allow children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative/critical thinkers. We aim to create learners who are:
We constantly provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning by saturating our curriculum with rich vocabulary, high quality stimuli and experiences. We believe that childhood should be a happy, investigative and enquiring time in our lives where there are no limits to curiosity and there is a thirst for new experiences and knowledge. Our curriculum aims to celebrate children’s talents and achievements at every opportunity so that everyone feels valued and supported. Our curriculum provides opportunities to succeed as well as experiences that challenge and develop higher order thinking skills. Creative and critical thinking is embedded through all areas of learning and the curriculum is designed to develop autonomous lifelong learners. We use the school’s core values to promote positive attitudes to learning, which reflect the values and skills needed to become good citizens of the world and promote responsibility for learning and future success.
We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community and community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum. We nurture and support families and endeavour to engage them in their child’s learning. Community links form a vital part of our curriculum so children can develop a sense of belonging and play an active role in their local community.
Amanda Spielman (2018) explains that “the accumulated wealth of human knowledge and what we choose to pass on to the next generation through teaching in our schools (the curriculum) must be at the heart of education”.
Prospect Hill Nursery and Infant School engages all learning styles through a cross-curricular, topic based curriculum. A variety of resources including EYFS Framework, National Curriculum Statutory Guidance, Notts RE Syllabus, Forest School Ethos, Cornerstones are used to plan and shape the curriculum. We also ensure that key knowledge and skills (‘Sticky Learning’) are threaded through our topics and revisited daily so that they are embedded in pupils’ long term memory. Our school’s curriculum is planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before, and towards the defined end points.
“A well taught knowledge rich education is potentially the driver for true equality for pupils from different backgrounds. Knowing thing, not just recalling the bold facts but deeply understanding them gives children confidence. It helps them to discuss the wide range of live topics with their peers irrespective of their backgrounds” Dame Rachel de Souza
Topics are chosen carefully and tailored to meet the needs of our pupils so that pupils can flourish, reach and exceed their potential academically, physically, artistically, socially and emotionally. We value our children’s ideas and interests and pupils are given an opportunity to determine possible lines of enquiry. Each topic begins with an overarching question and memorable experience that is designed to hook children’s interests. High quality texts relating to the topics are used to stimulate interest and develop knowledge and vocabulary.
Opportunities for creative and critical thinking are threaded through each topic. Open ended tasks and skilled questioning techniques ensure that pupils have regular opportunities to develop resilience, resourcefulness, the ability to reflect and make connections. Through encouraging children to take risks we develop an appetite for challenge, an eclectic curiosity and the courage to explore new, unfamiliar territory. Children and adults at Prospect Hill are encouraged to think for themselves and find solutions to their problems.
Our curriculum reflects the characteristics of the community we serve. Enhancement and enrichment activities are a regular feature of school life. This ensures that all our pupils have the opportunity to take part in culturally rich experiences from an early age. Members of the local community are regularly invited into school to support and celebrate learning. Links with the local church, care homes, emergency services etc help to provide a wide range of enrichment opportunities.
Embedded in our curriculum are our core values. These are introduced in assemblies, discussed in class and promoted through activities and actions. These values prepare out pupils for life in the modern world, in a diverse and ever changing community.
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity.
A growth mind set approach is used throughout school to empower our pupils to persevere in the face of challenge and stay calm in stressful situations. Pupils are encouraged to take risks and understand the value of making mistakes.
Our creative curriculum ensures that pupils are motivated to learn and can challenge themselves to reach their aspirations. Topics are carefully selected with children’s interests in mind and giving them a voice to steer each topic means that children remain focused and motivated. We encourage pupils to achieve their very best and take pride in themselves and their school.
Confidence & Successfulness
Through our curriculum we enable each child to become a happy, healthy, confident, caring and successful learner. We teach each child to take responsibility for their own actions and to have the confidence to make informed choices. Our rich, engaging curriculum ignites curiosity and helps children to widen their horizons.
Our curriculum has been designed to ensure coverage of knowledge and skills for both foundation and core subjects (see progression and skills ladders). The addition of open ended ‘Chilli Challenges’ (for all subjects) ensures that children are given the opportunity to extend and apply their skills and knowledge.
Subject leaders oversee, develop, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their subject within school and across all year groups/phases. The progress and attainment of vulnerable groups are monitored closely to optimise learning for all. Staff are committed to delivering high quality learning experiences throughout the curriculum.
Vocabulary Rich Teaching
A high proportion of our pupils start school with very poor speech and language skills and having a very limited vocabulary. We address this by ensuring that our curriculum centres around high quality texts (Core stories, browser boxes). Each class has a Word of the Week thus extending children’s vocabulary.
At Prospect Hill we recognise the value of outdoor learning and our pupils have regular opportunities to explore their local natural environment. We have a designated woodland area which we use to deliver ‘Forest School’.
Forest School at Prospect Hill Infant and Nursery
Forest School provides children with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural environment. In an increasingly technological world and risk-averse society we recognise that it is more important than ever for children to experience the benefits of being outdoors, taking risks and being physical active. Through taking part in Forest School sessions our pupils develop a wide range of knowledge and skills as well as an appreciation/respect for nature and a love for being outdoors. Research shows that connecting with nature has a positive effect on mental health and well-being.
Forest school sessions are an excellent vehicle for creative and critical thinking and there is also a strong focus on perseverance and resilience. Through taking risks in a controlled environment our pupils learn about cause and effect and how to stay safe. Children also learn to work as a team and there is a strong emphasis on everyone’s ideas being valued. Forest School particularly benefits vulnerable groups allowing them to access something they may not access in their everyday lives. It also engages reluctant learners by promoting self-belief and a sense of achievement.
Forest school sessions are carefully planned ensuring that there is a clear progression of knowledge and skills from Reception to Year Two . Although our F1 pupils don’t take part in a typical ‘Forest School Lesson’ they do have regular access to our woodland area for ‘Welly Wednesdays’ and story sessions.
Our outdoor provision in the Foundation Stage reflects all areas of the Foundation Stage curriculum and children have daily access to this. Continuous provision and enhanced provision linked to specific topics allows pupils to explore and develop their skills and ideas on a large scale.
Visits and Visitors
In the curriculum we recognise that children’s learning is enhanced by different experiences. We offer the children a wide range of educational visits which are used to motivate and engage learning which improves retention. Many of our trips are linked to our topics e.g. Year One visited The Yorkshire Wildlife Park which supports learning in Science. Year Two visited Conisbrorough Castle to support their learning in History. We also have visits that strengthen community links e.g. the School Council visited a local care home to meet with residents and take part in Art based activities.
We have regular visitors in school who give the children another perspective on values, attitudes, learning and understanding. These include charities, people from different professions and member of the local community. We also have regular visits from artists, musicians and other outside providers to enhance our curriculum (Rock Steady Music, Jolly Good Workshops, Wonder Dome etc).
When measuring the impact of our curriculum we think about the ‘holistic child’ rather than just focusing on academic achievement and success. The impact of the curriculum is evident in the outcomes for all pupils (attainment and progress) but also in their behaviour, attitudes and wellbeing.
The impact will be:
- Our pupils’ attainment and progress in core and foundation subjects is in line with or exceeding their potential when we consider the varied starting points of children. We measure this carefully using a range of materials, but always considering age related expectations. Subject Leaders have a clear understanding of what constitutes age related for different year groups within their subject. We intend that our pupils will be academically and physically prepared for life in the Junior school, modern Britain and the World.
- Our pupils will have fully rounded characters with a clear understanding of our core values. Only by learning what these values really mean will our pupils be able to develop a character that prepares them for living in their community. We measure this not just by the work our pupils produce but in the behaviours they display on a daily basis.
- Our pupils develop necessary personal skills to embrace challenge, to persevere and are highly motivated to succeed and achieve.
Our curriculum is continually evolving to meet the needs of all our pupils.