Children begin their learning journey at Our Lady Immaculate in the September following their fourth birthday. As a school, we value the important role parents play in their child’s education and endeavour to build strong links with them from the start. We hold a new parents meeting which provides parents with an opportunity to meet the reception team; find out about a day in the life of a reception child; and learn how to prepare their child for starting school.
In order to ensure that each child’s transition into school is as smooth as possible, we arrange home-school visits. These visits provide each child and their family with the opportunity to meet with the class team in their home environment. School begins with a settling in period which allows the children to explore their classroom and get to know their new teachers and school routines. Our Year 5 buddy scheme helps to promote the Catholic ethos of honesty, respect and caring for others. The buddies support the reception children in their first few weeks at school and this relationship continues to grow and flourish throughout the year as they share many activities, such as PE and reading sessions, lunches and a Teddy Bear’s Picnic. We hold a special service in the church to welcome the children and their families into our school community which the Year 5 buddies also attend.
Children are encouraged to become confident, independent, creative thinkers following the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. This covers the seven areas of learning as designated by the DfE: the three prime areas – Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language and Physical Development and the four specific areas – Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Learning is child centred with a focus on developing the three characteristics of effective learning: playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. We believe that young children learn best when they are confident, happy and actively engaged in their learning.
Our curriculum is delivered through half-termly topics, e.g. ‘All about me’ and ‘Growing’. There is a balance of teacher and child-initiated activities. Children are taught through active and practical approaches which are directly linked to their interests. Play is essential for children’s learning and development. It builds their confidence as they learn to explore, enables them to think about problems and develops their ability to relate to others.
The Early Years curriculum takes place both in the classroom and the outside area, which can be accessed directly from the classrooms. Children enjoy a range of activities, including: literacy, mathematics, role-play, investigating and exploring, construction, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. They also take part in a variety of special events, including: our class assemblies and services, Mums’ afternoon, Dads’ afternoon and our Grandparents’ tea party. The children particularly like going on school outings, including: visits in the local area e.g. the park; the library; and our trip to the farm.