During their years at Swavesey Primary School the children will be encouraged to develop their language abilities in the four key areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing. The main aims are to increase the children's fluency in spoken and written language for a wide range of purposes, and to develop their understanding and critical appreciation of the language of literature and of daily life. Much of the teaching of English is contained within a daily teaching period called the ‘Literacy Hour’, as part of the National Literacy Strategy.
Speaking and Listening
It may seem to many parents that children already speak effectively before they come to school - and indeed this is generally true. Oral language comes naturally to most children, but there is a continued need for development and improvement. Most of the talking young children take part in within the home is casual, and if they forget what they wanted to say, or fail to make themselves clear, then there is usually someone who can help them to be understood. As they get older we encourage children to put longer and more complex units of speech together, and to select a vocabulary and style that is appropriate to the occasion.
A vital part of growth and personal development is learning to be a good listener. The children will experience listening to one another and to many adults from inside and outside of school. They will be helped to understand the increasingly complex speech used by adults and regularly encouraged to take part in small group and class discussions. They will also learn to plan and present information, taking into account the ideas and opinions of others.
The ability to read is crucial to a child's progress and we take pride in our high standards at Swavesey Primary School. We seek to foster in every child the ability to read both for enjoyment and for information. This includes the ability to skim and scan textbooks and works of reference for information and to understand fully what has been read. The vital foundation of this process is laid in the early years at school by using a variety of approaches such as teaching phonics and word recognition.
As the children progress, the emphasis changes from learning to read, to reading to learn. Reading for pleasure continues at each child's level, whilst extension activities encourage them to read for a variety of purposes. The essential skills of research and information gathering are developed in this way.
Parents can give tremendous support to their children by demonstrating the enjoyment they themselves derive from reading and by taking every opportunity to stress just how important reading is. It is from this positive attitude to reading both at home and in school that successful reading habits will grow. (See section on Homework)
The main reading scheme used in Key Stage 1 is the 'Oxford Reading Tree’, which is supported, where necessary, by a variety of additional material.
Learning to write is a much more deliberate and painstaking process than learning to speak. There are many things to consider all at the same time. In the early stages of development children will be learning how to hold a variety of writing implements; they will learn which symbol represents which sound and the rules for combining these sounds together to build words correctly; they will learn about the construction of sentences and the correct use of punctuation; they will be learning the importance of writing legibly; they will be thinking about what they want to write and the most appropriate way of writing it.
As the children progress they learn to produce 'first copies' in draft form. They are taught to appraise and refine their writing, and also to evaluate and comment on the writing of others. Producing high quality writing is a complex process, and thus it may require a lot of time.
As they develop their writing style, we want children to be able to learn to use English freely, accurately, creatively and with quality of expression.
Our main aim is to give the children the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to use mathematics confidently in everyday life, or as a basis for further study. This means much more than just 'doing sums' or being able to manipulate numbers and symbols, although these are important.
The children will be introduced to mathematics through a variety of practical activities. Handling different resources and the structured use of the immediate school environment will help the children gain essential concepts. Practising and developing skills progressively more complex skills will lead to a sound understanding of mathematical thinking and computation. Throughout, the children are encouraged to use acquired skills and knowledge in a variety of problem solving and investigative activities.
The National Numeracy Strategy, with its strong emphasis on the skills of mental calculation, is central to our teaching of mathematics. Where relevant it is supported by using the Heinemann Mathematics scheme and other useful published materials.
All children experience a broad, balanced, continuous science curriculum. This covers work on living things and their environment; materials and their uses; the Earth in space; forces; electricity and light; and sound. Science work is linked closely with other areas of the curriculum, particularly English, mathematics, ICT and design technology. Certain areas of health education are covered through our science studies, notably the effects of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.
Through first hand experience, the children will develop the skills of scientific investigation. These include observation, planning, predicting, measuring, fair testing and hypothesising. The positive attitudes necessary to achieve success in science are also taught through investigative work e.g. curiosity, perseverance and self-evaluation.
In addition to our plentiful supply of praticatical science resources, the school has a conservation area where living things can be studied in a natural environment. Day visits are also organised to support topic work in science e.g. to Norwich Science Museum