“You cannot make people learn. You can only provide the right conditions for learning to happen.”
At Mossgate, we recognise that the transition from Reception to Year 1 can be challenging for many children and our aim is to fully support children to take this important and significant step in their learning journey through our school.
Our observations over the years have taught us that moving into a “formal” learning environment at this stage in the children’s development does not support them in continuing to be the independent, resilient and motivated learners they once were in our Reception Class. In response to this we have developed our Year 1 provision to include a balance of child initiated & teacher directed learning opportunities, whilst still fulfilling the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum.
At Mossgate, our Year 1 curriculum builds on and extends the experiences children have had during the Foundation Stage where multi-sensory, kinaesthetic, concrete & practical approaches to teaching and learning are maintained and built upon to offer creative, hands on methods of teaching and learning.
The Year 1 classroom aims to reflect a similarity to the Reception classroom as it offers areas of learning available to the children (e.g. role-play, small world, Art and DT, music, reading and an outdoor area). Similar to Reception, Year One children have opportunities to come up with their own ideas & to play & explore using open-ended resources carefully selected by the teacher. The Year One teacher will however, direct learning within the areas of the classroom for some or all of the time. These are differentiated to ensure all learning needs within a cohort are met. Children learn very quickly to be responsible for completing teacher directed tasks to an agreed standard and often work on next steps challenges independently too.
During each day, the children also work with the teacher in small ability groups where teaching focuses on next steps across a range of subject areas that can then be practised & applied independently in the classroom learning areas. Whole Class teaching is used for Phonics and other short teaching sessions where it is deemed the most effective or efficient way to help children learn e.g. to share a story, introduce a theme, share achievements, recap key learning, to demonstrate a skill.
Although Year 1 is the first year within which the National Curriculum is followed, we continue to develop the independent learning skills & characteristics of learning established in the Reception Class. Children in Year 1 are encouraged to select resources and activities independently and use decision making skills in their learning.
The role of the adult within Year 1 is to support the children and ensure that they are exposing them to a deliberate practice of skills and knowledge within the environment. Through questioning and strong modelling they will extend and challenge the children’s learning further. There is a strong focus on teaching personal, social & emotional skills, supporting & guiding children in working collaboratively for a shared purpose or goal. It is also our intention that recently learned vocabulary and language structures are constantly modelled by adults and the use of these encouraged at every opportunity by the children.
We feel that our provision ensures the well-being of our children is prioritised as they take this significant step – our Year 1 children are happy in their learning.
Our provision also ensures that the children make excellent progress across a range of subject areas and are well equipped when they move to Year 2. As Year 1 progresses, the teacher will plan to prepare the children for a more formal approach to teaching & learning in response to the particular cohort’s needs.
Bryony Booth - KS1 Leader
Updated February 2023