In Killard House Junior School a skilled and committed team of professionals work each day to provide an enriching and meaningful learning environment for each of our children. Our Junior School comprises of Nursery through to Primary 4 classes. This year we have two Nursery sessions each day, P1 – P4 MLD classes and P2-P4 SCU classes.
We follow the Statutory NI Curriculum for Foundation stage and Key Stage 1.
The aims at Foundation Stage (P1 and P2) and Key Stage 1(P3 – P4) are that all activities should
- promote children’s personal development;
- promote positive attitudes and dispositions to learning;
- promote children’s Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities;
- encourage creativity and imagination;
- enable children to develop physical confidence and competence;
- develop children’s curiosity and interest in the world around them;
- enable children to communicate in a variety of ways;
- motivate children to develop literacy and numeracy skills in meaningful contexts.
The PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING the curriculum in these early years are that;
- Young children learn best when learning is interactive, practical and enjoyable for both children and teachers.
- Children learn best when they:
- have opportunities to be actively involved in practical, open-ended and challenging learning experiences that encourage creativity;
- have opportunities to initiate experiences that capitalise on their individual interests and curiosities;
- are actively involved in planning, reviewing and reflecting what they have done;
- are enabled to express themselves by creating images, sounds, movements, structures and invented stories;
- are involved in play that is challenging, takes account of their developmental stage and needs and builds on their own interests and experiences;
- work in stimulating environments and have access to a range of resources;
- develop secure relationships with peers and adults;
- have choice and exercise autonomy and independence in their learning, and are encouraged to take risks.
In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 the Curriculum is set out under the following Areas of Learning:
- Language and Literacy including Talking and Listening, Reading and Writing;
- Mathematics and Numeracyincluding Number, Measures, Shape and Space, Sorting and Pattern and Relationships;
- The Artsincluding Art and Design, Music and Drama;
- The World Around Us (WAU)including Geography, History and Science and Technology;
- Personal Development and Mutual Understanding(PDMU)including Personal Understanding and Health and Mutual Understanding in the Local and Wider Community;
- Religious Education– in accordance with the core syllabus drafted by the four main Christian Churches in Northern Ireland and specified by the Department of Education;
- Physical Development and Movementincluding Athletics, Dance, Games and Gymnastics.
As with Junior School departments in all Primary School
- the learning activities follow the interests of the children;
- the children are supported in making links to their previous learning; and
- staff can help the children appreciate that the skills they have learned in one area can be applied in new areas and contexts.
However our smaller classes and higher pupil : staff ratioenables our Teachers and classroom assistants to really get to know each child and to build close relationships with each of them.
The staff are working activelyto build self-esteem and to support or where possible overcome barriers to learning.
To support challenges in Communication Skills
Our school based Speech and Language therapists support classroom Staff in aiding children who have delayed speech or word retrieval difficulties by using strategies and approaches such as Makaton and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System).
We also work closely with our in-house Speech and Language Therapists in order that the Nursery, P1 and P2 classes have regular Attention and Listening Groups. These group activities support the development of Social Communication and Social Interaction skills.
To support the development of Social Interaction and friendship skills Emotional Literacy and Social Skills awarenessare essential.
Our staff provide Circle Time activities that develop an understanding of ‘My Feelings’ and the ‘Feelings of Others’.
We model and teach the skills and vocabulary that will enable the children, as they grow and progress through the school, to deepen their friendships and to talk about their feelings and relationships in a healthy and responsible way.
We join with the children in the full range of their play experiences to model play skills and we use Social Stories and role play activities to support successful friendship experiences.
Are you ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Learning Ready??
Young children need to know when they are ‘Learning Ready’. Through a range of Sensory Integrationactivities staff are helping even the youngest children begin to recognise that if they are too excited ..Tigger... they can’t learn as effectively! Too sleepy … Ee-Ore… they can’t learn as effectively either.
In order to support readiness for learning and Emotional Regulationour Junior School classes and particularly Nursery – P2 and our SCU classes engage in regular movement and exercise breaks in the classrooms, outdoorsor in our school Soft Play Area / Work out Zone.