Children’s learning in different subjects is linked through a topic which will often last for 5-6 weeks. The topics enable staff to teach in a more creative and cross curricular way whilst retaining the integrity of a science lesson, history lesson etc. Each topic focuses on one or two subjects as the main drivers and usually includes a visit out or a visitor into school, or both.
Reception topics: Gruffolo and Friends, Light and Dark, Dinosaurs, Superheroes, Food , Journeys
Year 1 topics: Why do we play with different toys as we get older? (science and history), The Aliens are Coming (geography and science), Van Gogh's Starry Night (music, art, dance and drama), What can we learn about our world from stories? (design and technology and science), Why is water so precious? (science) ,Where can you go for a grand day out? (geography and history)
Year 2 topics: Food glorious food- Which foods are healthy? (science and design and technology), Fire, Fire! (geography and history), What is the best way for Mrs Armitage to travel? (design and technology and science), The Owl and the Pussycat - Where do Bong trees grow? (music, art, dance and drama),What makes us like other animals?(science) How did families have fun in the past?- The Seaside (geography and history),
The cross curricular topic based approach is continued at Park Hill.
Children have a daily phonics lesson, literacy lesson and numeracy lesson. These lessons are linked to the overall topic theme as and when appropriate.
Staff send home detailed weekly information about the learning in school with suggestions for practical activities or tasks to do at home which will support children’s learning in school.
These skills are fundamental to learning and performance in education, work and life. They are universal. This element of the Thorns curriculum supports children in developing these key skills through a series of units which each last for half a term. The whole school focuses on the same unit at any one time and thus areas are revisited each year. Learning skills that are covered are:
- Developing a sense of self worth
- Developing independence and responsibility
- Improving our learning
- Learning with others
- Speaking and listening
- Thinking skills
Learning skills continue to be developed at Park Hill.
Reading and Phonics
All children at Thorns follow a phonics curriculum based on Letters and Sounds. This curriculum is supplemented with some material from Jolly Phonics, particularly in Reception, where children learn Jolly Phonics songs and actions to help them remember individual letter sounds.
The school has a wide range of reading books drawn from a number of different published reading schemes and also some story books. The books are sorted into a colour banding system according to text difficulty. Children are able to select their own book from within the colour band and are encouraged to choose a range of different types of books: story, poetry, non-fiction or plays.
Children begin taking home a reading book as soon as they have sufficient phonics skills to begin reading independently. Prior to this, they will bring home books to share with parents. Children are able to change their books up to 3 times each week if they wish. The school encourages parents to record any reading in the home school diary which is sent home with reading books.
Swimming and PE
Thorns has its own swimming pool and all children have a weekly swimming lesson throughout the year.
Children have a weekly PE lesson in addition to the swimming lesson. PE is taught by the class teachers in our reception classes and in Year 1 and 2 by specialist sports coaches.
We are also able to offer violin lessons to children in Years 1 and 2. These lessons are charged for but financial support is available to families through the pupil premium.