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Welcome to Year 1 - Starlings Class!

Year 1

Teacher: Mrs Wordsworth

Teaching Assistants: Miss Simmons, Miss Morris. 

Learning in Year 1

At St Finian’s, we firmly believe that our youngest children learn best in an environment that is active, hands on and designed for the way that children naturally want to learn- through play. Through our years of experience, we know this is how our children are happiest in their learning, make progress and thrive. On the basis of this, we have created a wonderful, child centred setting at St. Finian’s which makes maximum use of the outdoor space. Here, children continue their childhood journey, following many of the routines they have come to know during their 1st year at school.  

Importance of Play

In Year 1, we continue the principles of child led learning firmly established in EYFS and offer a rich and creative learning environment. This follows a carefully planned, child led programme based on the important principles of play. Increasingly, research tells us that play is fundamental for children’s learning, health and wellbeing, but it is also a very misunderstood concept.  It is through play that children make sense of themselves and the world they live in- play is education.   

Our Year 1 Curriculum

Our high quality setting, includes an environment rich in resources, linked not only to children’s interests, but also carefully aligned to the demands of the National Curriculum. Our provision provides increasingly challenging learning opportunities, enabling children to revisit, embed and build on their skills and knowledge, whilst continuing to strengthen the effective learning behaviours they acquired in EYFS. Teachers play a crucial role in interacting with children as they play, asking key questions and facilitating rich learning experiences. 

Our Year 1 curriculum includes: 

  • Play – both structured and unstructured opportunities 

  • Play Projects – providing a framework for children’s play, linking knowledge and skills  across curriculum subjects 

  • Helicopter Stories – a structured approach to storytelling and writing 

  • Challenges – opportunities for children to engage in independent learning through challenges which are carefully linked to current learning 

  • Learning journals- recording and evidencing individual learning journeys 

  • Daily time spent outside (in all weathers) 

A Typical Day in Year 1

  • Soft start to the day – Self-registration, activities and a chance to welcome each other. 

  • Carpet session 1 – Worship or prayer followed by phonics session which usually has an active element. 

  • Discovery Time – Children access and engage with the provision in the learning environment – indoors and outdoors.  Children are encouraged and supported to plan their learning and play in order to consolidate skills and prior learning and over the course of the Autumn term are expected to start recording their learning in Learning Journals. 

  • Book Look/Maths Session

  • Lunch 

  • Handwriting session 

  • Carpet session 2 – Play Project or Foundation subject session

  • Discovery Time – Similar to the morning but children are encouraged to explore their Maths learning following the input. 

  • Helicopter Stories and story time 

This structure does change over the course of the year and an extra morning session is incorporated into the timetable later in the year to reflect the childrens’ age and stage of learning.  

Throughout the day, children also have opportunities to dictate a story to an adult, which is recorded in their Helicopter Stories booklets. At the very end of the day, these stories are read aloud to the class, who become the audience and actors around a class stage to help bring the stories to life. 

Play Projects

As in EYFS, Play Projects continue to form an important part of our learning in Year 1.  We dedicate one afternoon a week to a Play Project. The children are shown an idea for a project which draws on a range of curriculum objectives, such as a particular phonics sound, specific maths vocabulary, or link to foundation subject knowledge or skill. The children then consider a plan for their own project or use the given idea before accessing a range of areas of the environment to complete the four required elements of their project; making, building, messaging and drawing. At the end of this session, the class will all come back together to reflect and share how they got on.  

Growth Mindset

In everything we do, we aim to build on our Growth Mindset skills and positive attitude towards our learning. We do this through the skills of the 8 learning puppets which were introduced to the children in EYFS. Each puppet demonstrated a characteristic of effective learning – Christopher the Caterpillar who is good at concentrating, Tabitha and Theodore the Tortoises who are good at co-operation, Hugh the Hedgehog who has a go at new things, Isaac the Spider who uses his imagination,  Ivan the Insect who keeps on improving, Dominic Duck who doesn’t give up, Christian Camel who is curious, and Edward the Elephant who enjoys his learning. 


We document the children's learning using the Tapestry Online Learning Journal website (and app) https://tapestryjournal.com/ .

The guidance documents to help you with any queries you may have about using the app can be found in the Useful Information section below.

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