Junior Prep Curriculum

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The children in Reception class follow the statutory EYFS framework. Learning is broken down into Prime and Specific areas. The Prime areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. In order to have successful learning experiences within the Specific area, the Prime areas must be embedded.


These Prime areas of learning include:


Communication and Language

  • Listening, Attention and Understanding
  • Speaking

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Building Relationships
  • Managing Self
  • Self-Regulation

Physical Development

  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills

The Specific areas of learning are areas of learning are more topic related, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.


The Specific areas of learning include:



  • Comprehension
  • Word Reading
  • Writing


  • Number
  • Numerical Patterns

Understanding the World

  • People, Culture and Communities
  • The Natural World
  • Past and Present

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Creating with Materials
  • Being Imaginative and Expressive

Learning can be seen through adult-led teaching sessions and through play. The adult-led teaching consists of whole class, small group and 1:1 teaching specific planned learning objectives taken from the EYFS curriculum. Learning through play is also carefully planned for to ensure breadth and depth

of learning. The children take part in enhanced provision play which is play that has been enhanced by an adult, for example the children may be encouraged to develop their fine motor skills by scooping and pouring the oats with the diggers. Here all of the resources are available and set up in an exciting way which encourages the children to give the planned learning a go. We also encourage child-initiated plays which gives the children more independence, freedom and scope to be creative with their own ideas and interests. The children can access a range of resources in any way they would like and play with them in any way they would like. One day a plank of wood may be a ramp and the other a plank from a pirate ship.


In order for successful learning to take place, children are encouraged to learning actively, create and think critically and play and explore. These are called Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning and underpin all learning in Reception.


Each half term, we have a new topic which encompasses all of our learning. This ensures that learning is developed in both a broad and in-depth way as it allows children to use their skills in different contexts, it also makes learning relevant, fun and purposeful. Our topic is then dived into different text drivers which really focusses learning and enables children to use their literacy as well as communication and language skills within all areas of the curriculum. For example, when our topic is Harvest, our text drivers are called ‘The Little Red Hen’ and ‘Rosie’s Walk’. This helps us to teach Harvest in a purposeful way across all areas of the curriculum.


All Junior Prep children have daily English lessons, which focus on a key text, linked to their most current topic. They are encouraged to respond to the text in different ways, whether that be a letter addressed to Police Constable Charming (Year 1) or a set of instructions on How To Be a Roman Gladiator (Year 3)! Text-based learning allows staff to fully immerse the children in a language rich environment, whilst also supporting and improving their word-reading ability and comprehension skills.


All Junior Prep children read to an adult frequently and the Accelerated Reader reading scheme is used when children are demonstrating the skills needed.  This helps children to progress their reading ability at a quicker pace. They are very lucky to have access to a well-stocked library during their allocated library session each week. Reading for pleasure is continuously encouraged and promoted across the entire school.


A secure knowledge of phonics is fundamental to reading and writing. Junior Prep children are taught using the Read Write Inc. scheme from Reception age onwards.


Once strong fine motor skills have been developed, pre-cursive handwriting is introduced.


In Junior Prep, we nurture pupils' inherent curiosity in the world with our mathematics.  Mathematics is taught daily using the mastery approach to support and extend the pupils.


We are passionate that every child achieves their full potential while developing deep and sustainable understanding.  We want children to be able to make connections and reason about concepts using mathematical vocabulary.  Multiple models and representations are used within the classroom and our outdoor environment to support and extend learners thinking.


In Junior Prep, we use the White Rose maths scheme to support the planning of small and manageable steps within concepts.  We pride ourselves in the children’s ability to talk and explain their thinking.  We show the children that making mistakes is a part of learning and address misconceptions within concepts.  With problem solving and reasoning in all lessons, children are well practised at applying their mathematical thinking in a variety of ways and in a range of contexts.


In Junior Prep, we aim to engage the wonder …. we recognise the vital role that science plays in our everyday lives and helping to develop the world in which we live. We aim to teach science through the delivery of practical, engaging scientific investigations to inspire the children's natural curiosity and develop their love of enquiry. Children develop and foster their enthusiasm to question the world in which they live to enable them to purpose their own hypotheses and develop their own tests.

Through a wide range of experiences and investigations of scientific phenomena, in a range of contexts, to ensure a continually evolving knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Our children are encouraged to:

  • Ask questions
  • Take risks
  • Make and learn from mistakes in a safe environment
  • Acquire and apply core skills which equip them for an ever-changing world


Art lessons in Junior Prep ensures children are encouraged to challenge, deepen and be adventurous with their developing skills.  They explore a range of materials and tools in order to design and create their own masterpieces!  Where possible our art curriculum is topic related as we promote thematic learning to ensure learning is relevant and purposeful.  Advantage is also taken of the school’s fine architecture and surrounding countryside for painting and drawing.  Children are taught to record their thoughts, experimentation and designs.  This encourages them to become critical thinkers allowing them to evaluate their skills. You can even find our magnificent work on exhibition in the gallery space in Buckfield.

Design and Technology

Design and technology is taught in a spacious and well-equipped workshop.  The children are able to discover the different stages of the design process and the various tools, materials and techniques to turn their dreams and ideas into reality.  There is hardly anything more fulfilling for a child than to produce a quality item with their own imagination and their own hands: a rewarding tangible three-dimensional proof of their ability.  Tools are introduced carefully, where confidence in tool handling is built up progressively.

Forest School

The children are taught Forest School by a qualified Forest School trained teacher, whom tailors learning to each year group. The children are lucky to benefit from an array of dedicated Forest School sites that include a pond, the forest and wild gardens. There is much evidence that outdoor learning can have huge advantages for children, and the Forest School areas provide a rich learning environment that children throughout the school can experience. Always suitably dressed for the occasion in waterproofs and wellies, children can explore and discover the natural world around them, learning new skills and taking in new learning experiences.


In Junior Prep, geography is a hands on subject brought to life through each half term's topic. Children are provided with opportunities to develop a broad understanding of the world, its people, places and the environment. They are given the opportunity to make real life links and understand their place within the world at large. Children are encouraged to explore their natural born curiosity and are enthused to understand the world around them.


Through careful fieldwork, enquiry and research, children are able to compare and contrast places and recognise how they have changed over time.


Learning about the past helps children to make sense of their world today. They will experience the subject in many different ways, learning not just about important events, periods and people but also how these shaped and changed the world in which they live.  We believe that history inspires children’s enquiry skills and instils an important appreciation of the past and how it has shaped the way we live today.


We teach History in a stimulating, immersive and an informative way, using a wide range of multi-sensory resources and a hands-on cross-curricular approach. The use of artefacts, trips, special topic days and visits from specialist groups help reinforce the learning. Where possible our topic in history will feed into other areas of learning, including drama, music, art etc… in order to adopt a thematic way of learning.  

Modern Foreign Languages

Our Modern Languages department promotes an appreciation and passion for language learning. Recognising the importance of understanding the history and traditions of other countries, children also learn about festivals, food & drink and customs as part of our curriculum.


We recognise the effectiveness of traditional methods of teaching, but are constantly experimenting with new strategies and resources to ensure that our children are engaged and excited by their lessons.  Through learning another language, children’s literacy and communication skills are improved, and we encourage them to be independent and resilient when faced with new challenges.


Children in Junior Prep learn to sing and play a variety of classroom instruments.  They are introduced to singing, listening, composing and performing.   Singing:  Children are taught to warm up their voices safely to ensure they are ready to exercise their voices.  They learn to sing as part of a larger group and perform to large audiences.  Listening:  They are given opportunities to listen to a wide range of musical styles.  They listen for patterns, instruments and this helps support their musical composition.  Composing:  Children are given lots of opportunities to play with musical structures in order to create their own melody.  Performing:  Throughout Junior Prep children are given opportunities to perform to a variety of audiences.


All children in Year 1 to Year 4 have opportunities throughout every year to work collaboratively to perform a Christmas play and a summer play. 

Physical Education

Our Physical Education programme is split up into Games and PE sessions. Both of which are an integral part of the education we offer. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to experience playing sports and learn lifelong skills. Our PE sessions are designed to support learning specific skills, where the emphasis is on individual progress and our games sessions are designed to encourage children working in a team and learn new skills within sports. Our sporting curriculum as a whole is designed to foster physical awareness, mental wellbeing, team spirit, an understanding of getting out of life what you put in, as well as learning to lose and win with good grace.


Personal, Social and Health Education (P.S.H.E.) and the school’s ethos of good citizenship helps children to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. With everyone caring, sharing and giving fun and friendship to his or her peers, citizenship exists in everywhere you look at Sherfield School.

Religious Education

The Religious Education curriculum at Sherfield School aims to give the children a broad understanding and acceptance of world religions, traditions and cultures. In order to do this, we encourage practical and hands on learning experiences which allow the children to become immersed in different cultural experiences through eating traditional foods to taking part in different traditions and making links between different religions.


We aim to build community links through the programme of study, and where possible give opportunities for visitors to come into school to talk about their beliefs, traditions and cultures to foster a spirit of understanding.


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