Creating tomorrow’s citizens today’ begins with our youngest children, joining us in Reception. We believe that explicitly teaching our Simon Balle values allows children to very quickly belong to our community and to understand our ethos. We have high expectations for our youngest children to show the character virtues of respect and kindness, to learn to make wise choices and to begin to make their own unique contribution to the Hedgehogs or Squirrels classes.
Our Early Years curriculum is ambitious and broad. As well as ensuring a firm foundation in all of the Early Years areas of learning (communication and language; personal, social and emotional development; physical development; reading and writing; mathematics; understanding the world and expressive arts and design), we believe that Reception is the starting point for each of the Key Stage 1 and 2 subjects. So, for example, our Spanish curriculum begins in Reception, contributing to a child’s understanding of the world (in language and cultural terms) but also acting as a springboard for modern foreign languages as they grow. Enrichment in each of the areas of learning includes music, literature, computing, Spanish and more. Our all-through school ensures subject expertise in all areas.
Our Early Years curriculum is designed to ensure that children reach the highest possible standards in literacy and numeracy – we know that these are central to all learning that follows. The curriculum inspires children to read and to write and to calculate. For example, our literary canon defines the books that we want every Reception child to be exposed to, to retell, to enjoy, and to contribute to. We emphasise oracy and how this translates into early writing – for example, using the structure of known texts to adapt, to tell, to draw and to write. Phonics is taught daily from children’s first days- this ensures that our progression through phonics phases prepares children for their reading in Reception and forward to Year 1. Outdoor learning is as important as indoor learning and the outdoor environment supports children to integrate mathematics, reading and writing in their play.
We know that each child is unique and we value the unique contribution that they can make to Simon Balle. Our curriculum is flexible enough to respond to what is truly important to our young people – their family traditions, religion or culture, interests and questions they wish to explore. Equally, we are responsive to each unique cohort. We will evaluate at each point of each year, for example, the balance of adult-directed learning to child-initiated learning and ensure that this is both supportive and challenging.
Finally, we recognise that parents are children’s first and most important educators. We work at all times to build a positive partnership between home and school, beginning in transition to children’s start with us and continuing with our use of our online learning journey (Tapestry) to share learning between home and school. Just as parents naturally and rightly have high expectations for us as educators, we too have high expectations for home learning, always with support, including great value given to daily reading at home.
- Jess Emery
- Kate Getley
- Louise Hudson
- Jenny Glover
- Becky Sansford
Year Group Overviews
Guidance on your child’s learning and development in the early years foundation stage