In Year 1, we begin the year with continuous provision, which enables us to build relationships with the children through play and explore their interests. As well as our class environments, we are very lucky to have a large outside learning space with an allotment and different areas for the children to access throughout their day. During the first term, we focus on building the childrens’ confidence and working on developing their independence through activities based around our curriculum but also the interests of the children. This includes cooking activities and story sessions at the library. Through our carpet sessions we learn about a variety of stories, from Brown Bear Brown Bear with its rhyme and repeated refrains to The Snowman and its wordless story. With these carpet sessions we also have very practical maths activities, using a wide range of skills and strategies to help build their maths fluency.
As the second term progresses, we move into a more structured timetable in preparation for Year 2, and this is determined by the children and how they respond to their learning as individuals, but also as a collective. At this time in the year our phonics learning increases again, to prepare the children for the national Phonics Screening Check in the summer term and we continue developing their reasoning skills through the maths mastery curriculum continuing with an ever growing resource pack.
By the summer term, the children are independent in their learning and exploring how to challenge themselves further, with the aim that they will leave year 1 confident in the different areas of phonics including decoding, reading and spelling a range of words as well as polysyllabic words. The children will also be confident in sentence writing and developing their story writing skills, which is taught through stories, with firm favourites being The Snail and the Whale, Sam’s Sandwich and The Tiny Seed.
Along with a rich year 1 curriculum, we also have visitors to help with our learning. In the spring term, Zoolab and their animals join us to embed our learning about animals and how to group them and the Freshwater Theatre company join us to help learn about the Great Fire of London. To round off our learning about plants and how to eat healthily, we visit RHS Wisley in the summer term, which the children love exploring and ask hundreds of questions about what they see.
Year 1 can be a very transitional year moving from Reception’s child-led learning and then into the Year 2 style of learning. So it is key that we ensure the children have time to explore and play and then guide them into formal learning, which then allows us to cover the curriculum in depth, so that by the end of the year, they have become confident independent learners ready for their next challenge.