At Our Lady & St Patrick's, our key intention is to ensure that our curriculum supports the language development of our pupils, from their earliest days in school
Early Communication & Language Development
Many of our children enter school with language skills behind those which would typically be expected for children of that age.
In response to this, a key priority in our Early Years Unit is to provide language rich environments, with all activities underpinned by speaking and listening, as well as music and singing activities.
Children hear, enjoy and join in with high quality texts, as well as familiar stories and rhymes, from their earliest days in our two-year old provision, and throughout the Early Years setting - and beyond. Speech and language development underpins all we do in our Early Years.
Targeted Interventions for Speech & Language
Progress in children's communication skills is carefully measured from their earliest days in school, and timely interventions are put in place for those children experiencing difficulties.
We work closely with health visitors, educational psychologists, specialist teachers and speech & language therapists, to address any problems or delays in language development.
Having children in school from 2 years old means that we can identify any issues early and put the additional support in place for those children who need it.
We run a range of language interventions (NELI, Talk Boost, 'The Well') throughout the early Years and into Key Stages One and Two where necessary, working closely with Speech and language Therapists, who also visit school regularly and work with targeted children to assess their development and progress.
Currently, our Speech and Language Interventions are:
Speaking & Listening Embedded in our Curriculum
Speaking and listening plays a fundamental role in our curriculum, with the intention of improving children's language and communication skills as they progress through school.
Across school, we provide children with opportunities to develop their communication skills, in order to become more confident and articulate when speaking to others.
In English, for example, younger children access 'Talk for Writing' approaches to reading and writing, which builds on and scaffolds their speech and oracy skills, as the basis for re-telling and writing stories.
For older children, Jane' Considine's 'The Write Stuff' approach to writing relies heavily on speaking and listening, for example through 'kind calling out' and 'chotting'.
In Maths, children are continually encouraged to express their mathematical reasoning using set terms and phrases to help them to articulate their thinking, such as 'I can see that...', 'I have noticed that...'
In all lessons, teachers use careful questioning, drawing out children's responses as appropriate and encouraging them to express themselves and their ideas articulately. Children are also encouraged at all times to listen carefully to, and respond appropriately to, the ideas and opinions of others.
In addition, 'Flash-Back 4' helps children to remember - and communicate - their previous learning, by extending their responses and putting them in context with their new learning.
We strive to develop and extend children's vocabulary from their earliest days in school with us. Adults in the early years, and right across school, model 'proper' speech and ambitious vocabulary through their interactions and discussions and through stories, songs and play.
Vocabulary extension is given a high priority not just in English lessons, but across the curriculum also. For instance, in history, geography and science, subject-specific vocabulary is at the heart of all our planning and throughout our teaching in these subjects.
Reading & Access to Quality Texts
Reading is at the very heart of our school curriculum, with high quality texts at the core of all our topics and long term planning.
This is a key priority for us as many of our children and families do not have access to quality reading materials at home and, in many households, reading is not given a high priority.
In response to this, we have designed our curriculum with quality texts embedded throughout all topics and themes, so that children have access to - and enjoy - the work of many different authors, genres and styles of writing. In particular, we draw on high quality texts and core books from the 'Centre for Literacy in Primary Education's' Power of Reading texts and our long term topics are hinged upon these.
In addition, we have recently adopted Jane Considine's 'The Write Stuff' approach to writing in Key Stage Two. This approach means that all writing is based upon high quality core texts from writers including Maya Angelou, Anthony Browne and Oliver Jeffers.
Please take a look at our long-term year group plans, to see how these texts enhance our curriculum as well as promoting a love of reading throughout all we do, and across all our topics.
In addition, all classrooms have recently re-furnished and well-stocked reading areas, where children can relax and unwind, choosing & enjoying books from a range of significant authors and genres. We also invite authors into school as often as possible, to share their work and ideas with the children.
We encourage all children to become keen and fluent readers, employing a range of approaches and incentives to encourage children to read regularly and widely at home. Please follow the link below, for more information about Reading in our Curriculum.