Kindergarten welcomes children to all day school at Broomfield. The children feel even more part of school as soon as they arrive on their first day, they have lunch with the children from Year 1, and stay through to the afternoons finishing a few minutes before the rest of the school.
Kindergarten children may also join the After School Club (usually after the Autumn Term half term) too. Most importantly, the Kindergarten year provides a happy, fun, caring and stimulating environment in which the children grow to think and act with ever more independence.
At Broomfield we follow and expand on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. We believe learning happens inside and outside the classroom. To this effect the children have lessons in the classroom and outside during outdoor learning sessions. The class teacher is closely supported by two teaching assistants. In Kindergarten we continue the characteristics of learning begun in Pre-Kindergarten class, namely how a child plays and explores developing engagement; how a child is actively learning through motivation and how a child creates and thinks critically through thinking skills.
Seven Areas of Learning of the Early Years Curriculum
There are three prime areas of learning namely:
- Communication & Language(C&L)
- Personal Social and Emotional Development, (PSED)
- Physical Development, (PD)
These form the base from which all our learning, thinking and developing grows. There are four specific areas of learning, namely: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World (UW) and Expressive Arts and Design (EAD). Through these areas we develop the children’s sense and understanding of the world around them and teach them to read, write and use numbers effectively. The children are aiming to be secure in a range of skills (listed under the areas of learning) The Interactive White Board (IWB) is used to aid the children in their learning and allow them to develop their reading, writing and problem solving skills. It is used in all areas of the curriculum.
The Three Prime Areas
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal, Social, Emotional Development is divided into three areas and these are the skills we are developing in all our children:
In making relationships, children learn to play co-operatively together, taking turns with others; take into account one another’s ideas about how they organise their activities; show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and to form positive relationships with adults and other children.
In self-confidence and self-awareness children learn to try new activities and say why they like some activities more than others; speak in a familiar group about their ideas, and choose appropriate resources and be able to say whether they need help, or not.
In managing feelings and behavior, children learn to talk about how they and others show their feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and to know that some behaviour is unacceptable; work as part of a group, or class, and to understand and follow the rules; adjust their behaviour to different situations and take changes of routine in their stride.
In personal, social and emotional development the emphasis is on encouraging positive and good social behaviour, self confidence and independence, consideration of others, a sense of fair play, and how to take care of their personal belongings; it continues on from the experiences children encountered in Pre-Kindergarten. Communication and Language Communication and Language is divided into three areas and skills:
In Listening and Attention activities children learn to listen attentively in a range of situations; listen to stories; anticipate key events accurately and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions and give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, whilst engaged in another activity.
With Understanding children learn to follow instructions involving several ideas, or actions, and answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions in response to stories, events and their own experiences.
In Speaking during class situations, children are able to express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs; use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future; develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events
All these skills are taking place within the classroom and our outdoor learning environment enabling everyone to acquire them and thus to become able members of the community. At Broomfield we encourage these skills through Show & Tell sessions; assemblies; story time; role play & drama as well as social interactions in the playground. The home corner is used as a role play activity and again is another method of structured play that develops their communication and language skills, the home corner will often be altered to represent the different stories covered in the term’s topic. Developing active listening and checking understanding through questioning and engagement techniques are embedded aspects of the Kindergarten experience and happen in all lessons. The opportunity to ask and answer questions is actively encouraged and children build confidence during show and tell exercises. and class circle time. Songs and rhymes are used extensively as engaging and fun ways to learn, used in a range of lessons to deliver content this method also develops language and communication skills. French is introduced to children during the Kindergarten year by a specialist teacher.
Physical Development Physical Development is divided into two areas and skills
In Moving and Handling (Gross and Fine Motor skills), children learn to show good control and co-ordination, in large and small movements; move confidently in a range of ways; negotiate spaces safely and handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
Health and Self-care allows to know the importance of good health through physical exercise, a healthy diet and to talk about ways to keep healthy and safe; manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and toileting independently. Our physical development work is taught by the class teacher. Through dance, games and gymnastic activities, children develop their gross motor skills, physical control, discipline, agility, and safety. Children learn basic gymnastics skills such as travelling, being still, finding space on the floor and apparatus, simple balances, how to take off and land, turn and roll. Karate is available as an optional extra. All Kindergarten children choose to attend an additional class in movement given by the Lester School of Dance.
Both in and outside the classroom we develop children’s fine motor skills through a range of activities including manipulating play doh, using tweezers to pick up pasta, threading activities, colouring and cutting out, learning to hold and use a pencil and scissors correctly.
The Four Specific Areas
Literacy is divided into two areas:
By learning to read, children are able to read and understand simple sentences; use phonetic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately; read some common irregular words and demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
In writing, using environmental print, texts, books and magazines children learn to use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken word; write irregular ‘tricky words’; write simple sentences and spell some words correctly and others that are phonetically plausible; So that children can read and write successfully we teach phonics. The children will explore all of the letters and be introduced to four phonic sounds each week, through the Jolly Phonic programme.
Learning the letter sounds In Jolly Phonics, the 42 main sounds of English are taught, not just the alphabet sounds. For each sound there is an action which helps the children remember the sound the letter makes. As the letters are taught, the sound cards are taken home to revise.
The letters are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first group, s a t i p n has been chosen because they make more simple three letter words than any other six letters. Sounds with more than one way of being written are first taught in one form only. For instance the sound ‘ai’ (in rain) is taught first. The alternatives ‘a-e’ (in cake) and ‘ay’ (in day) will be taught later.
Blending Blending is a process of saying the sounds in a word then running them together to make the word e.g. c-a-t is cat. It is a technique children will need to learn, and it improves with practice. Some children take longer to do this than others. To start with children should sound out the word and see if they can hear it. The sounds must be said quickly to hear the word. It is easier if the first sound is said slightly louder e.g. b-u-s. Adults can help by making up words for a child to blend with the sound cards and also by suggesting words which could build with the cards.
Tricky Words Some words cannot be sounded out or spelt correctly by listening for the sounds in them. They are known in Jolly Phonics as ‘Tricky Words’ and have to be learnt by sight. As children becomes more fluent at reading and writing they will be taught how to recognise the ‘Tricky Words’ In reading, we also develop listening and responding skills. We introduce the children to appropriate reading schemes. We use various reading schemes to meet the needs of each child. During reading sessions the teachers will explore the most appropriate books to aid development. The core phonic schemes provide consistency of learning and once this has been firmly established we will then introduce schemes which cover sight words.
Children take reading books home twice a week (Wednesdays and Fridays) and are usually heard to read in class twice a week. Reading is measured against our own Broomfield Reading Scale. At the end of each week children take home the phonic sounds that have been covered in class to revise at home. After the autumn half term they take home tricky words to learn to read and write. In the summer term, children take home simple comprehensions to complete at home so that they are aware reading is for understanding as well as word recognition.
Letter Formation It is very important that children hold the pencil correctly. If the pencil hold starts incorrectly it is very difficult to alter it later on. Every day children will practise the correct formation for each letter as they learn it in their Jolly Phonic lesson. Most letters start at the top and many have a joining tail at the end to make it easier to transfer to joined up writing. Within Kindergarten we provide a range of opportunities for the children to practise their writing skills for different purposes both in and out of the classroom, building confidence and allowing each child to progress their abilities. In learning the 42 sounds in English through Jolly Phonics, the children are able to sound out, blend and write words for themselves. Throughout Kindergarten we encourage children to practise emergent writing skills; the concept is built around ‘having a go’ and enables them to use their phonic knowledge to try word building. This nurturing approach is centred confidence building and during the year will expand into writing for different purposes and writing in sentences using basic punctuation.
It would be most helpful for parents to help children to recognise and write their name and other words they know correctly before entering Kindergarten.
Mathematics is divided into two areas: Learning about Number children can count reliably with numbers from one to twenty; place order and say which number is more or less than a given number; add and subtract two single-digit numbers; count on or back to find the answer and begin to solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
Shape Space and Measures Through practical activities children learn to use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money; compare quantities, objects and to solve problems; recognise, create and describe patterns as well as explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe. In Mathematics the children develop many skills. Mathematical concepts are best learnt through practical games, hands on activities and problems. We aim to help them count to 100, count in 10s and 2s, learn odd and even numbers, how to write numbers, to do addition and subtraction sums, simple division and multiplication as well as to understand how numbers are used on our lives. Shape, patterns and measures are introduced and children learn new concepts through role play and activities. The IWB is used to aid the children learning and allows them to work independently. All this enables the children to make advanced progress to support their future academic potential.
Understanding the World
Understanding the word is divided into three areas: Through topics and discussions centring around People and Communities, children are able to talk about past and present events in their own lives, and family members; know that others do not always enjoy the same things, and be sensitive to this and know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, families, communities and traditions.
Studying The World children are able to talk about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things; talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another; make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes. <
Through various aspects of Technology in the classroom, children are able to recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools and select and use technology for particular purposes. Learning in Understanding the World focuses on understanding the natural environment, discussions about family, friends and relatives, discovering all about the world through various topics with a hands on approach. Children have ICT lessons with a specialist teacher in the ICT suite but also use CD players, the interactive white board and robots in class.
Expressive Art and Design
Expressive Art and Design is divided into two areas: By Exploring and using media, children have opportunities to sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them; and to explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
Being Imaginative takes place daily in the role area where children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes; and represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories. In expressive art and design Kindergarten children develop their imagination and creativity through art, music and movement, and drama. Artwork using drawing, printing, cutting, painting, model making, clay and dough regularly adorns the classroom and comes home for parents to see. Drama and music are taught by our specialist teachers in these subjects and culminate in the Christmas show, which is presented to the whole school and parents in the school gymnasium. In the summer term, the children also present music and drama workshops to their families. They also take part in the school’s Harvest Festival and Poetry Day.
The Kindergarten classroom is located off the school atrium, near the school gymnasium and Pre- Kindergarten class room. There is an annexe area outside the Kindergarten classroom which is used as a cloakroom and construction area. Kindergarten children have their own playground which has a stock of play equipment and an awning allows children to play outside during wet weather. New classroom and outdoor learning resources were purchased to enhance the curriculum in 2014.