AcademicTop tips for Pre-Prep parents for English and maths
Communication, whether through voice or the written word, is key to a child’s success. At Oakwood School, we place great emphasis on every child’s literacy experience, realising that these skills are essential to allow learning to flourish across our wide curriculum.
Our aim is to nurture a love for both reading and writing. Our strong literacy programme focuses on ensuring that our phonics programme provides children with the necessary skills required to decode language, allowing them to build words using the sounds they have learnt. Through small group work, a varied reading scheme and differentiated programmes of learning, each child learns at the pace appropriate to their ability. Although we actively encourage independent learning, our reading scheme continues throughout the whole school, until we are sure that the necessary skills are firmly in place for a child to continue their learning journey successfully.
At Oakwood School, success means that a child can speak with confidence in a variety of situations, enjoy reading independently, whilst discovering which genre of novel excites them, and fostering an environment which actively celebrates the freedom to write independently.
During the Reception year, the emphasis shifts towards more adult led activities. This is then continued in Years 1 and 2, where the National Curriculum (updated 2014) through the Hamilton Trust is followed. This covers a wide range of topics, which consolidates and extends the children’s knowledge and understanding. The work is differentiated to ensure that support or extension work is available as appropriate. The teachers monitor the children to ensure that they continue to understand and make progress. Year 2 children also undertake formal tests.
Humanities in the Pre-Prep
In Years one and two, humanities covers the subjects of history, geography and religious education. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, humanities forms a large part of the curriculum area known as Understanding the World.
From an early age, the pupils from Oakwood are encouraged to explore the world around them and ask questions about themselves and others. Learning is child centred and makes use of the outdoor environment on a daily basis. From nursery, pupils go on field trips to compare and contrast the school with other places and they learn about the past by comparing their world with their parents and grandparents.
During Years one and two, the 2014 National Curriculum for history and geography is used as a starting point for planning exciting topics which often link with the subjects of literacy, art and science. The class teachers work closely with the Head of Humanities to evaluate pupils learning and progress. Pupils learn mapping skills, study artefacts and extend their geographical and historical vocabulary. By following a detailed scheme of work in religious education pupils learn about Christianity and other major world faiths. Pupils in both the Early Years Foundation Stage and KS1 are introduced to the cultural diversity of the world with themed activity mornings that include religious celebrations such as Diwali or Christmas.
In Years one and two many of the learning experiences in humanities are celebrated by forming the theme of class assemblies. When pupils are five, six or seven years of age they are bursting to find out about the world’s mysteries and magical facts. With this in mind, we aim to engage with the child’s curiosity and sense of wonder from the very start of a topic. Imagine coming to school one day and finding a scroll from a knight, discovering huge, mysterious footprints in the classroom or being sent on a metal detector mission in the school grounds!
Modern Foreign Languages
At Oakwood all our pupils have the opportunity to learn a modern foreign language (MFL) from 2 1/2 to 11 as part of the normal school curriculum. The teaching uses a vast variety of different materials and media to enable pupils to enjoy expressing their ideas and thoughts in another language and also to understand and respond to other speakers of that language. We aim to provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries in the future.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (Nursery, Kindergarten and Reception), the children learn French every week. Emphasis in the EYFS is placed on songs, rhymes, role-play and simple stories. In Years 1 and 2 the pupils experience two years of Spanish, with an approach similar to that employed in the EYFS, and also incorporating some simple word-related flashcards, card games, board games and worksheets in preparation for more formal learning in the Prep School. In Year 2 the pupils experience an increasingly structured approach, each having their own Spanish folder.
Children from Year 1 to Year 6 have timetabled computing lessons which take place in the computing suite. A range of other subject areas make use of the computing suite to further support and develop children’s learning.
In addition to the computing suite, there are stand-alone computers throughout Pre-Prep for children to use throughout the day and develop their basic computer skills.
The computing curriculum at Oakwood is broad. Children in the Pre-Prep are encouraged to develop their mouse control and typing skills and are introduced to the fundamentals of programming.
Each classroom has a high specification interactive whiteboard to enhance teaching and learning and the Library is equipped with computers linked to the school network and state of the art Library management software. Each pupil also has access to a Learnpad tablet which can be used to support learning in all areas of the curriculum.
Supervised internet access is available to all the children.Oakwood effort grade descriptors