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The Old Hall School

LOWER SCHOOL

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) provides a statutory framework for children from birth to the end of the school year in which   the child’s fifth birthday falls. The Reception classes and the pre-school class of Daisy Chain at The Old Hall work closely together to experience a rich and stimulating curriculum. The Pre-school children enjoy activities led by The Old Hall's Early Years Co-ordinator. All children are actively encouraged to build upon their enthusiasm for knowledge and learning.

The Learning Environment

The learning environment is carefully organised so that the children are offered a wide variety of opportunities to explore, experiment, plan and make excellent progress: thus they develop as real individuals, according to their particular talents and needs, whilst also learning to take their rightful places in the community. The two Reception classrooms are situated adjacent to the Daisy Chain pre-school classrooms and all rooms open out onto a dedicated outdoor classroom. The Reception children have their own cloakroom and toilet facilities between the two classrooms.

Learning and Growing

In Reception class, the seven areas of inter-connected learning and development are further focused into three areas crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

  • Communication and Language;
  • Physical Development; and
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

As required, the Reception year is devoted to the following areas of learning.

  • Communication and Language Development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
  • Literacy, involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive Arts and Design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

The Importance of Play

The importance of play cannot be overestimated. Well-planned and structured play activities, in a secure environment with effective and enthusiastic adult support, enable children to explore, develop and represent real life experiences which help them to build an understanding of the world.

They learn to communicate with others, to control impulses and to explore real or imagined anxieties in a safe environment. Through role-play they can develop genuine appreciation of the feelings of others.

Staffing and Pupil Care

In Reception, children are placed in two parallel classes, each cared for by a specialist early-years teacher who is responsible for delivering the curriculum and nurturing each child’s emotional well-being. Each class is also ably supported by a teaching assistant.

Practical Matters

We have had excellent ISI inspections, reports of which are readily available. We are registered under the 1989 Children Act with the local Social Services Department and the safety and security of our site are always uppermost in our thoughts.

We also offer after school clubs and extra-curricular activities, enabling pupils to develop in areas beyond the curriculum and assisting parents whose commitments mean that they need to collect their children after the normal finish of the school day.

A Firm Foundation

During the Lower School years (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2), the initial major focus is upon English and Mathematics, which then broadens to include Science and Technology. Cross-curricular topics provide opportunities for these basic skills to be developed and also for learning to take place through observation, communication and recording. Themes are carefully planned to provide a broad, stimulating and progressive education for each child. Swimming lessons and French lessons commence in the Reception year.

Even at this early stage, children are encouraged to reflect upon their own work, to become active participants in their learning and become critical readers, writers, experimenters and thinkers. With the increasing importance of modern technology, each class has an interactive whiteboard, a computer and a range of educational software, as well as benefiting from IT lessons using a suite of school computers. Ipad technology is also used to support the children’s learning.

The School's Learning Support Department plays a vital part in identifying each child's individual needs. Starting with baseline assessment on entry, it continues by screening every four year-old through a comprehensive, computerised profiling system that highlights strengths and weaknesses which are monitored as pupils develop.

Music, Drama, Art and Craft activities also play a prominent role in the curriculum, offering vital opportunities to extend and enrich each child's basic classroom experience. From the formality of a concert or play to the informality of spontaneous painting, children are encouraged to develop skills of self-expression, both individually and in groups.

With extensive grounds, a splendid sports hall and a modern indoor swimming pool, the School offers first-class facilities for all aspects of physical education. Children are taught ball-skills, movement, gymnastics, athletics and team games. In the pool, our qualified swimming teachers encourage the children to enjoy and improve their swimming skills and to develop a love for the water.

We believe that excellent communication between staff and parents is vital to a child's success and happiness at school. Teachers welcome informal consultation with parents and on specific evenings there are formal parent-teacher consultations. Regular, written reports provide a permanent record of progress. To assist the teachers, full-time teaching assistants work with individuals and groups to support and extend pupils' developing skills.