Cultural Capital in the Early Years
The children at Warndon benefit greatly from a culturally enriched environment. In addition to cultural activities such as arts and crafts and specialist music and PE, we also offer a unique curriculum for the children. To ensure we give each child the best start in life and to support them to reach their full potential, our curriculum creates awe and wonder of the world around them which in turn broadens their horizons by extending and challenging them and creating experiences of which they wouldn’t otherwise encounter.
A place where children develop a relationship between themselves and the natural world. Here they foster resilience, confidence, independence, creativity and problem solving through planned activities which offer the children the opportunity to take managed risks appropriate to the environment and themselves. Throughout the year, parents and carers are invited to join a session, which reinforces the positive experience for the children.
At the woodwork bench, children access the tools and resources independently, working safely and creatively. Adults are available for support, modelling of skills and techniques and to enhance with language. Exceptional levels of engagement and concentration are regularly observed; accompanied with persistence and perseverance. Through being empowered to use real tools, being given responsibility, gaining new skills and taking pride in their creations, their self-esteem and confidence soars.
Story Time with Parents
Throughout the year parents are invited into school to observe practitioners modelling reading to the children. They then put their skills into practice by reading to their child with the practitioners nearby for support. Story bags are also available for families to borrow which include an age appropriate book, sachets of hot chocolate and a cuddly toy. Children are also invited back into school throughout the year for PJ reading evenings, where members of staff and parents read the children bedtime stories whilst they cuddle up with hot chocolate and blankets.
Stay and Play
Throughout the year we hold several stay and play sessions, which all parents are encouraged to attend. These vary in objectives, some upskill our parents such as reading, phonics and Mathematics Mastery, whilst more creative sessions such as making costumes and props for a topic and activity ideas for summer seek to improve communication and the working relationship between school and home.
Family dining helps with child development as everyone is sitting together at a table; self-service fosters independence and empowers children to feel in control of their choices. Children learn co-operation and social skills as they practice patience by sharing, turn taking and manners. As well as developing language skills as they engage in teacher or peer to peer conversations. Dining together deepens relationships and friendships in a relaxed atmosphere where children can focus on one another without outside distractions.
Thrive is a systematic approach to the early identification of emotional developmental needs in children. Through whole class screening, the emotional development of all children is monitored through an action plan of targeted activities. Thus enabling the healthy development of children’s emotional well-being.
The REAL project
Every year, disadvantaged families are targeted to be part of the REAL project. Through the project, practitioners work with parents to promote the literacy development of pre-school children as well as meeting some of the literacy and educational needs of the parents involved. Home visits based around the ORIM framework, shown parents/ carers ways to help develop and support their child’s early literacy skills. After each section of the ORIM framework, every year group holds a REAL workshop for all families to share and build on the skills covered in the home visits.
Every year we read a book related to a topic we are covering and invite the author in to do a special reading and book signing. The visits often create a lasting impression on the children as it connects their learning in the classroom with the wider world. This in turn generates an enthusiasm for reading, motivating those who are more reluctant as well as improving the children’s writing confidence.
To coincide with the Book Trust’s Time to Read book release we invite the librarians from our local library to come in and do a story and rhyme session. During these sessions children are given the opportunity to join the library and find out what is on offer so that they are motivated to return out of school hours with their family.
Throughout the year we look to embed the emergency services into a topic in a way that teaches the children how each service keeps us safe, respect for the officers and who to call in an emergency as well as supporting the children to know how to keep themselves safe in different scenarios.
Easter Bonnet parade
Every year the children make exquisite Easter bonnets at home with their parents, which they then proudly wear on a parade around the local area. This draws together the community as shop owners, families and local residents gather to watch the procession and follow us to the nearby church for an Easter service.
Through the FANTASTIC lenses, which are used throughout our curriculum, our children acquire language, develop a varied vocabulary and begin to construct sentences, which in turns has a positive impact on their comprehension and writing.
The children have weekly experiences with the alpacas and chickens. Through these encounters they learn the responsibility of caring for and looking after animals. In learning to treat the animas kindly, and respectfully, our children get invaluable training in learning to treat people the same way. The positive feelings and trust that develops between the animals and children helps to raise their self-esteem and self-confidence. In addition the trusting relationship between them develops the children’s non-verbal communication, compassion and empathy.
Trips and Experiences
Throughout the year, several trips and experiences are planned into the curriculum to help the children broaden their knowledge by exposing them to things they wouldn’t encounter. These experiences enhance the children’s cultural awareness and develop their understanding of values and beliefs as well as challenging preconceived perceptions. Moreover, by seeing for themselves, the real life examples of what they have been learning, the children gain a deeper understanding of the topic, which increases their motivation to learn and retain the information.
Two year old provision
The Academy is situated in an area of high deprivation. IMD data showed that more than 50% of our catchment resides in the bottom 1% of deprivation (ranked 189th out of 32,482 areas nationally). 36.9% of children in Warndon live in recognised poverty: the second highest ward in Worcester. Therefore we recognised there was a need in our community for high quality, engaging, accessible education for our youngest members. Therefore our two year old provision was set up under the moniker, Happy Hearts, as we felt this was key to the development of the whole child. Since it was founded in 2014, our intake as increased from 24 children to 32 with 4 members of staff and a waiting list and our data tracking shows that those who attend our 2 year old provision, outperform their peers in nursery and reception in the end of year assessments.
Throughout the year different cultural festivals and special events are planned in and the children spend a day exploring the culture and the festival. For example during Diwali, the children learn who celebrates the festival, why it is celebrated and how the community celebrate it. They then compare this to how the celebrate their own special days whilst partaking in a variety of themed activities from using clay to create diva lamps to learning a Bollywood dance. Children often partake in voting opportunities from choosing books to read for our family shared reading sessions to voting for their Attendopoly treat. All children are clear of the class expectations and actively promote these to their peers as well as understanding the difference between and a right and wrong choice.