Nursery Class (3 - 4 years)
The Nursery has a welcoming and creative atmosphere and there is a constant buzz of purposeful activity. We aim to broaden the children's experience, excite their curiosity, encourage their individuality and provide opportunities for them to develop happily in all areas.
A structured and stimulating environment is provided with a wide range of materials and activities, chosen to cover all areas of children's learning and development, personal, social and emotional development, language and literacy, mathematics, knowledge and understanding of the world, physical and creative development. The children are encouraged to contribute their own ideas for inclusion in the adult-led programme ensuring that, whilst necessary objectives are achieved the learning is firmly child-based. In this way we aim to meet and exceed the expectations of the early learning goals within the Foundation Stage published by the Government.
Kindergarten and Key Stage One (from 5 - 7 years)
In Kindergarten (4 - 5 years) the Foundation Stage of education is continued and leads into the slightly more formal teaching of Key Stage One. Our broadly based curriculum places much emphasis on literacy and numeracy with lively oral work engaging the interest of the children and encouraging the development of skills. The children are taught to read in an enjoyable, stimulating but ordered way using primarily a phonics scheme but combining this with whole-word recognition. Children read and have experience in many different aspects of literacy every day, exploring and experimenting with sounds, words and texts and responding to and writing their own stories, songs, rhymes and poems as soon as they are able.
Mathematically, as during the preceding Foundation Stage, there is much practical work with emphasis on the further development of mathematical language, mental strategies and problem solving. The children are taken at a challenging pace, yet with differentiated tasks enabling all to progress at a level suited to their needs. Our purpose is to develop confident, skillful mathematicians who enjoy their subject.
Experience of their own environment is extended to the wider world through Science, Geography and History topics. Good educational television and video programmes are used, as well as visits out of school, to enrich the curriculum. There are computers in every classroom from Nursery upwards and these are used across all subject areas. Creative work includes sculpture with a specialist art teacher, as well as a variety of art media, fabric work and design and technology. Singing and music making activities are an integral part of the curriculum as are gymnastics and games with swimming from six years upwards. French too is taught by a specialist teacher throughout Junior House beginning in the Nursery.
The pastoral aspects of the curriculum are seen as being as important as the academic ones. The children have weekly Religious Education lessons, based on the school's Christian ethos, but with insights into other religions and cultures. Circle Time, in which issues such as friendships and feelings are considered, is planned into the timetable on a regular basis.
The youngest children are encouraged to become increasingly independent, showing initiative and making choices. They take a full part in school life and are valued for their contribution.
Key Stage Two (from 7 - 11 years)
Mathematics and all aspects of language and literacy work continue to dominate and are vital to the study of other subjects. In Mathematics work is based on the National Numeracy Strategy and careful planning ensures progression and continuity in various mathematical topics and skills. The emphasis on mental mathematics encourages speed and accuracy and a positive and inquisitive attitude to the subject provides the essential base for secondary school work. Regular assessment takes place, careful records are kept and the mathematically able child is challenged with support and encouragement given as necessary.
In English we aim to stimulate a love of literature through the study of a wide range and variety of texts while also developing a sound understanding and appreciation of the structure of our language. Use is made of the National Literacy Framework and children gain a mastery of higher level reading skills and the essential writing skills as well as having opportunities to discuss and debate. Drama lessons are used across the curriculum and lead to small class production of plays and improvised stories as well as larger drama / music productions.
Science, History and Geography are increasingly taught as separate subjects as the children progress through Junior House though these are linked across the curriculum when appropriate. In Science and Technology we encourage curiosity and inventiveness through a problem solving approach as well as the acquisition and development of scientific skills, attitudes and knowledge. There is a strong environmental emphasis and educational visits and field trips extend the children's understanding of the world around them.
Information and Communication Technology is an integral part of the curriculum. The children are experienced in the use of ICT as a tool. In research CD ROM programs specific to areas of the curriculum are used together with Internet access. All classrooms have networked PCs but classes also have timetabled access to the ICT suites in Senior House. French is taught throughout Junior House by a specialist teacher and children make rapid progress, learning initially through oral songs and games in the same way as we learn our mother-tongue. Spanish is added in Lower 3 (Year 6).
In Art a wide range of materials and techniques are used. Our specialist teaching, visiting artists and regular visits ensure a high level of achievement which has been recognised both locally and nationally. The techniques taught include observational and imaginative drawing and painting, screen printing, tie-dying, silk painting, paper making, large scale sculpture, plaster casting, clay work and sculpture. Both Art Masterclass and Fashion Design clubs are very popular, the latter always resulting in a spectacular Fashion Show.
A high standard is consistently achieved in PE which includes gymnastics, athletics, dance, swimming and major games. Children compete at individual and group level in the House system as well as representing the school in outside events. Many girls take part enthusiastically in a variety of Clubs at lunchtime and after school; these include netball, basketball, athletics, tennis, gymnastics and running.
Each class at Westfield Junior House has its own form teacher but additional expertise is provided in the specialist areas of Art and Pottery, Music, PE, Games, Swimming, French and Spanish. We aim for excellence and high achievement in academic work and also in a variety of other spheres so that children are encouraged to develop all their talents together with a constructive, eager outlook. We consider that the development of self confidence is vital and we aim to challenge and encourage the children so that each girl's potential is fully realised.