At Denbigh we firmly believe in meeting the learning and developmental needs of all pupils. This means we challenge ourselves to think creatively and implement activities and learning opportunities into our curriculum that is beyond the normal expectation. Below are just some of the ways in which we enhance our provision.
THE WOODLAND PROJECT
For the children across our EYFS an integral part of our learning and development occurs during our visits to the woods. In Nursery our children explore a termly visit to an enclosed woodland space where the children are encouraged to explore nature, learn about nature, develop an understanding of taking managed risks and exploring what being outside of the school environment allows, in a safe and guided environment,. In Reception this is built and expanded upon to allow a higher level of self regulation and challenge. Children visit a larger open site where activities are self chosen and solely follow children’s interests, are supported to understand boundaries, assess risks to higher levels, climb, run across different surfaces, use natural inquisition to follow lines of enquiry, support peers, avoid danger and the reasoning behind it all. The impact of these visits is that our children develop key life skills, such as the ability to assess risks within the moment, to extend and challenge their own ideas, have the confidence to try new things and use their voice in a different environment. Our children are able to learn naturally within a large open space where they can develop their physical skills beyond a level they are used to in other environments. They learn to become instinctive explorers who aren’t afraid to make mistakes and want to share the things they have learnt with their peers. More importantly they develop key self help skills.
FOUNDATIONS FOR LEARNING
Our focus is to tackle disadvantage through long term development of Inhibitory control, Working memory and Cognitive flexibility. At Denbigh we have been working closely alongside the LA to implement ways of developing this in young children. The foundations for learning are built into our curriculum and underpin what we do. We regularly assess the children through observations which we use to monitor their development. Children who require more direct support also undertake small group interventions which focus directly on the key listening and attention skills which underpin our curriculum.
Our pupils are provided with weekly sessions from the Newcastle United Foundation Coaches. These highly active sessions develop the children’s gross motor skills, coordination, social skills, inhibitory control, turn taking and listening skills and attention skills.
In EYFS the prime area of Communication and language development is pivotal to the development of our curriculum. Teaching our children effective strategies for communicating is one of the main themes that underpins all we do. Alongside the skills taught through our EYFS curriculum, we follow a programme called Helicopter Stories, where children are able to tell their own stories to an adult who scribes it for them. Later in the session all the children gather to act out the children’s stories. The impact of this is that children are learning storytelling skills from their peers, developing their imaginations, using and developing the elements of storytelling, developing and using story language, and also the skills required to tell a story through actions, rather than words. The confidence levels of the children are paramount in this. It helps promote equality and diversity, as when storytelling, children are able to take on any role without fear. Many children who choose not to speak, or don’t have the language to tell full stories can still have a story celebrated through the actions of their peers.
OVER AND OVER PROJECT.
In FS1 children take part in the Over and Over Project where children have the opportunity to listen to a range of high quality picture books in small groups in order to develop a greater understanding of the structure of books. This project provides opportunities for the nursery children to become more aware of patterned language and other syntactical structures, help them use illustrations more perceptively to engage with the text, extend their understanding of rhyme as part of their phonological development, increase their knowledge of textual presentation and text conventions and build their vocabulary.
The purpose of the programme is to support those children who struggle to concentrate or engage in stories during whole class sessions or who have delayed language or show little interest in visiting the book corner. It also supports children who have restricted access to books in the home. In addition to using this programme with a targeted group of 6 children each half term we have adapted this programme so that all the children may benefit from this programme by developing our own book lending library. Each child has the opportunity to choose a high quality picture book which is sent home each week for the child to share with a grown up in order to foster a love of reading from an early age. Furthermore a weekly text is selected, linked to a current topic or interest, in order to allow all the children to develop new vocabulary and a greater depth of understanding of the plot or main characters of a story. Children are encouraged to join in with repeated phrases and finish the end of a sentence using their awareness of rhythm and rhyme in a book. This book is shared every day for 1 week.
SQUIGGLE WHILE YOU WIGGLE & SQUIGGLE ME INTO A WRITER.
This is a developmental approach to early writing. We use the programmes for children working across early years to enhance mark making and physical development. Squiggle uses neurological and physiological movements to create marks.
Squiggle While You Wiggle is the first stage and is designed for the first stages of mark making and physical development used in writing.
Squiggle me into a Writer is the final stage in our Squiggle Programme taking the child through mark making and letter formation.
Dough Disco is a fine muscle exercise that develops writing skills. With a daily Dough Disco the child’s brain learns to control the fingers a lot quicker.It has no age limit because fine muscle needs exercise just like gross muscles.