We aim to make learning as exciting and stimulating as possible and deliver the national curriculum through topics or themes that we know children will enjoy. We believe this thematic approach helps children to make links between subjects and gives them the opportunity to practise their literacy, mathematical and computing skills in a child-focused context. Topics range from the ever-popular Pirates to Space to Dragon Tales and to geographical themes like Africa and the Rainforest. Every area of the curriculum is encompassed within the theme and children are given lots of opportunity to develop research and enquiry skills and encouraged to continue this at home through their Homework Journals.
Even in difficult times, we feel it is more vital than ever that we include 'wow' moments into our curriculum planning, either through visits to places of interest like Warwick Castle, Whipsnade Zoo and Holdenby House or by having workshops in school like our African drumming and Divali dance workshops. We believe that these memorable experiences will maximise and deepen learning and help to support the transfer of that learning into the long term memory. We also believe that these experiences are a valuable support for our pupils' well-being.
Reading and Phonics
We teach a specific phonic session each day using the Read Write Inc Phonic programme and children very quickly learn to recognise sounds and blends which helps them become fluent and confident readers. Used in over 5,000 UK Primary schools, Read Write Inc. Phonics is a DfE validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme with a whole school approach to teaching early reading and writing, designed to ensure progress for every child, in every primary school. Children work in groups at their phonic ability level and are assessed every half-term to monitor their progress through the scheme. Parents can find lots of useful information about Read Write Inc phonics by clicking the link on the right, including videos, e-Books, pronunciation guides and letter formation practise sheets. Children bring home a Read Write Inc 'book-bag book' to read at home that is matched to their phonic knowledge so that they experience reading success right from the start. As reading confidence grows, children also take home an Oxford Reading Tree book to share with parents as well as a library book to ensure that children experience and enjoy a wide range of good quality literature. Our list of 50 books to read at Heelands (see link below) also supports the children's reading development at each stage of their learning.
Music, dance and PE also figure prominently in our curriculum and children are taught by specialist teachers in these areas of the curriculum.
At Heelands our school ethos is underpinned by our six core values of Friendship, Respect, Self-belief, Cooperation, Challenge and Responsibility which we focus on each half-term. Our values were chosen by our whole school community as those we thought were the most important for our young children. Our values are threaded through every aspect of school life, they form the basis of all assemblies and are explicitly taught.
Children learn to understand what each value means and how we can demonstrate it in the way we behave, in our approach to learning and in the way we treat others. When children demonstrate the value they earn a coloured pebble which they bring to Friday's assembly, these are counted at the end of the half-term to find the winning class. Teachers also choose a Values Champion from their class who wears the class medal for the coming week. Parents are invited into school for the launch of each new value to do a creative activity with their child which helps to reinforce the value at home too. Values Visits are extremely well-supported by families which demonstrates how important this aspect of learning and development is.
Carol Foster is our trained Forest School leader and children get to experience true outdoor learning – whatever the weather! – on our Forest School site. They have the opportunity to climb trees, make dens, use tools and equipment and cook over the campfire which is always the highlight of the sessions. Forest School gives children the opportunity to collaborate and work together to solve problems and to follow their own ideas independently. In our surveys Forest School is always the thing that children love most about school!
Curriculum Progression Maps
Our curriculum maps give an overview of what is taught in each year group and the curriculum progression maps (see links below) give further information on each subject area and how we ensure that the subject skills are built on progressively through your child's time at school. If you have any questions at all about the curriculum parents can speak to their child's teacher or contact the office. Teachers can also be contacted via the class email addresses: