Lower School consists of Reception and Years 1 and 2.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Our Reception classes offer a wonderful start to life at Glendower, developing in the girls a love of learning, a desire to explore and a sense of belonging. The School has qualified for exemption from the learning and development requirements of the 2012 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for children aged 3 and over.
Our class numbers are deliberately kept to about 18 and each of the two classes has a qualified teacher and a qualified nursery nurse/teaching assistant who work together to deliver a carefully structured Early Years Curriculum: Communication and Language, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. Subject specialists teach French, PE, ICT, music and drama. All Reception girls have a paired reader in Year 6 and they share books together once a week.
The Reception year creates a sense of enthusiasm and wonder through new experiences every day. The girls’ days are filled with a huge range of opportunities to learn, from reading and writing to making models and exploring their local environment. They come into school each day with smiles on their faces and leave at the end of the day tired, but with a real sense of achievement.
It is in our Reception classes that the girls start to learn the social skills they will need throughout their time at Glendower and beyond. A great deal of emphasis is placed on encouraging girls to form friendships, interact with their peers and with adults. They are also encouraged to organise themselves and work as part of a team.
Year 1 and Year 2
Maths and English are the core curriculum areas at this stage and girls will experience some aspect of these subjects every day.
Maths, English and Science
The focus for maths is having fun with numbers, exploring maths through objects and pictures. As the girls progress the emphasis moves towards building maths knowledge and understanding how to apply it. Wherever possible, maths is related to everyday situations and is taught through the use of rhymes and activities.
Reading is prioritised from the outset and girls are taught to read using a number of different strategies including phonics. Girls are heard to read three times a week. To hone their writing skills, girls write with purpose, with an emphasis on content and presentation. A wide range of opportunities for discussion, debate and collaboration encourages them to speak with confidence and fluency.
Science is practical and hands-on. Pupils are encouraged to explore and question their environment and are introduced to the important concepts of fair testing, planning and evaluating their experiments. We take full advantage of our central location, visiting local parks and the Science Museum.
Art, Design Technology, History, Geography, ICT, French and PSHEE
In Art, pupils experience a range of materials, experimenting with colour and different ways to express themselves. By Year 2, the girls are beginning to look at the techniques of various artists and develop their own styles. In Design Technology, the process is as important as the outcome. Girls are encouraged to design their ideas and then modify them, learning different skills and techniques before completing their projects and evaluating them.
In Years 1 and 2, the separate subjects of History and Geography are introduced. We are keen to impress upon the girls that History is not simply concerned with dates and famous people but about looking at change, the importance of the past and how it affects how we live today. Geography gives the girls an understanding of their environment, both local and global, and how the land affects our lives. They look at the impact of change on their local area and how they have a role in influencing the future.
ICT is integrated into all areas of the curriculum and girls learn ICT skills that support and enrich their learning. From Reception, girls have one dedicated lesson each week in the ICT suite. Skills include coding, using the internet safely to obtain information, manipulation of text and images and looking at the way tablets such as iPads can enhance learning across the curriculum.
French is taught, by a native speaker, twice a week in each year group. The youngest children learn to develop speaking and listening skills first, through songs, rhymes, role-plays, puppets, games and storytelling. Girls gradually develop their French reading from Year 1 through a kinaesthetic and fun approach.
PSHEE (Personal, Social and Health and Emotional Education) helps girls to develop positive relationships with their peers. We refer to the School’s Golden Rules, the ongoing use of Circle Time and employ buddy systems and star charts. The school’s PSHEE scheme is purposefully flexible so it can be adapted to deal with issues and situations throughout the year.
Every class has a weekly session in the Library when girls can select books to take home. The selection includes well-loved classics as well as being constantly updated with new titles. The library (with the support of the Parents’ Association) hosts author visits each year, an annual book fair and we celebrate World Book Day. Librarians are chosen from Year 6 and these girls help and advise as well as devising activities to promote library resources and reading.
Pupils’ progress is carefully tracked and monitored throughout the school. Our Learning Support Coordinator will assess pupils if it is felt that a girl may benefit from additional support. We work in close partnership with parents to tailor the necessary support to meet each child’s individual needs.
In the Lower School, girls receive additional support either by the sub-division of the group or by one-to-one support in the lesson from a teacher or teaching assistant as appropriate for different lessons and activities.