At Dunannie we encourage our children to have a curiosity about life and help them to develop enquiring minds through a broad, creative and language-rich curriculum which generates purposeful discussion, interest, application, enjoyment and high achievement. A cross curricular approach which emphasises first hand, practical experiences; educational trips and visiting speakers provide the opportunity for young children to build the language and communication skills that they will need throughout life. Children are able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry, rhymes, action songs, puppets and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins.
Listening and Speaking
We aim: To enable children to speak clearly, confidently and audibly and to take account of their listeners. To encourage children to listen with concentration, in order to identify the main points of what they have heard. To show children how to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands. To teach children effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, through a variety of drama activities.
In the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) the focus on speaking and listening also prepares the ground for effective phonics teaching. Children become increasingly aware of the relationship between sounds, letters and words. They are introduced to a broad range of rhymes and songs with rhythmic patterns. Teachers provide opportunities for children to listen to rhymes and take part in alliterative games, to respond to music and use language creatively in role playing, drama and dance. Attention is drawn to the sounds in names and words in the environment.
We aim: To teach reading for fluency, accuracy and most importantly comprehension. To develop enthusiastic readers through challenging and substantial texts who will have a life long love of books.
We recognise that learning to read is a complex and demanding process and must always go hand in hand with pleasure and enjoyment. Learning to read involves making meaning from a complex combination of information, and it is important to remember that children learn at different rates and in different ways.
At Dunannie we teach a variety of reading strategies, but phonics is one of the essential components we use to teach reading. We use a multi-sensory approach to teach phonics with a range of resources.
We aim: To foster the enjoyment of writing in a variety of genres and a recognition of its value. To encourage accurate and meaningful writing, be it narrative or non-fiction To improve the planning, drafting and editing of their written work.
Children from the Foundation Stage onwards are encouraged to experiment with writing, they look carefully at words and how they are spelt. The school has an excellent selection of books including stories, poems, non-fiction, alphabet books and children‟s own hand made books, books with wordplay and tongue twisters which all encourage children to develop a fascination for words. Role play, writing corners and meaningful writing opportunities (for example, writing an invitation to their parents that is then posted) encourage children to see the purpose and enjoyment of writing for an audience.
Phonic spelling patterns are taught along with strategies that help children to pay attention to the visual appearance of words that are not phonetically regular but common in frequency of use.
Children are first introduced to grammar through simple punctuation for example, how words are written in sentences, and how capital letters and full stops are used in books. As children progress through the school they are taught to use more complex grammatical structures in their work, direct and indirect speech for example.
Daily handwriting sessions reinforce the correct formation of letters, posture and pencil grip. Cursive handwriting is taught from Year One onwards.
Teaching and Learning Style
At Dunannie we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our English activities. The key aim is to develop children‟s knowledge, skills and understanding. Whilst there is a high proportion of whole-class and group teaching, independent activities provide an opportunity to talk and collaborate, which embeds and enhances their learning.
Children have the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts and to support their work with a variety of resources, such as dictionaries and thesauruses. They use ICT in English sessions where it enhances their learning, as in drafting their work and using multimedia to study how words and images are combined to convey meaning. Wherever possible we encourage children to use and apply their learning in other areas of the curriculum.
In all classes staff aim to provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this through a range of strategies. In some sessions we do it through differentiated group work, while in others we ask children to work from the same starting point before moving on to develop their own ideas and differentiation is through the outcome. Teachers and Teaching Assistants work together to support children.
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