Learning inside & outside the classroom
Here at Kingscourt, our curriculum is based on combining hard work with fun - just as childhood should be.
Teacher Caroline Hubbard, our Outdoor Education Leader, spearheads our outside adventures. She runs an exciting outdoor programme that incorporates the philosophy of Forest School. Sessions take place every week in Early Years and Key Stage 1: Reception pupils enjoy a 2 hour session, with Nursery, Year 1 and 2 learning outdoors for an hour a week.
The curriculum for our youngest children in Nursery, through to Year 6, is designed to excite, motivate and help them develop an innate curiosity for the world around them.
This will allow them to find their own learning style and develop positively in all areas of their learning, giving them the excellent preparation needed for the next stage in their education journey after Kingscourt.
The Kingscourt adventure begins in nursery, where we welcome three and four-year-olds into Caterpillars and Butterflies respectively.
A play based curriculum is enhanced by daily opportunities to practice and learn new skills. Specialist sessions include ‘green gardeners’, rhyme and rhythm, outdoor explorers and mighty movers.
We are utterly spoilt by the acres of private grounds in which our children play, explore and discover. Come rain or shine we head outdoors for discovery walks, wildlife spotting, den-building and playtime.
We are extremely excited to be opening a new Nursery building this autumn.
Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Results
Our GLD (Good Level Development) results for 2019 were well above the national and county averages:
Kingscourt = 87%
Hampshire = 77%
National = 72%
In our Nursery, children are introduced to sounds and numbers in a manner that motivates and excites their learning, all whilst making new friends. Specialist lessons include gardening, music and Spanish, designed to broaden, inspire and develop the ‘thrill, will and skill of early learning’.
Our nursery is very much a part of the wider school community - nursery children eat lunch in the hall, attend school assemblies and team up with Reception children for the Christmas nativity - which helps develop their confidence within a safe and supportive environment.
We ensure our pupils succeed academically through excellent online teaching and support.
Now that we have returned to full-time online learning, our provisions mean that we can continue to provide a high-quality education experience. We also recognise that learning from home will not always be straightforward, with multiple family members needing to work and study simultaneously in the same space.
The programme we have devised is based on our current curriculum with vital feedback from existing parents. Supported by both live (synchronous) and pre-prepared (asynchronous) lessons and resources, our online learning offers a blend of different teaching methods and gives families the flexibility they need during changing times, as well as ensuring we are able to maintain our pupils’ academic progress.
Technology has become a fundamental part of our education, not only allowing us to deliver great teaching and learning but as a platform for collaboration and productivity. We have witnessed first-hand the positive impact it can have, putting students at the heart of their learning by increasing engagement, developing intrinsic interpersonal skills, and preparing them for the future of adult life.
We use a variety of platforms and resources to support the learning and educational experience of our children. These platforms include:
- Microsoft Teams
Pre-Prep (Reception, Year 1, Year 2)
We provide a safe and secure foundation in learning and development for our Pre-Prep children respecting that all children are unique and learn in different ways.
We ensure that the children are able to make lots of use of our spectacular 25 acres of outside space for their outdoor learning. This age group is often referred to as Key Stage 1.
Using the Early Years Foundation curriculum as its basis, children continue to enjoy play based learning coupled with a more formal timetable; our children participate in English, Maths and reading each day alongside a range of subjects including outdoor learning, PE and Spanish. This ignites curiosity in their learning and allows children to explore and develop teamwork and cooperation skills.
Pre-Prep Years 1 & 2 (Key Stage 1)
Continuing the firm foundations achieved in Early years, the curriculum becomes more focused with a clear timetable that builds on key English and Maths skills with the addition of Science, Geography and History and PSHE. A full breadth of creative subjects is available together with opportunities for extra curricular involvement. The introduction of formal homework is also introduced to encourage children to develop self help skills that are targeted and achievable for independent learning.
Prep (Years 3, 4, 5, 6)
The curriculum is broad and balanced, preparing our children to leave us as confident, robust, well-rounded individuals taking with them fond memories of their time spent at Kingscourt.
The next stage of a Kingscourt education is to offer increased opportunities for specialist teaching whilst maintaining the essential core English and Maths skills. Our Prep timetable includes Science, Drama, Music and Spanish alongside Computing, Art and PSHE as part of their weekly timetables. You may be familiar with this age group being referred to as Key Stage 2.
Extra-Curricular opportunities increase, the children can be involved in representing the school for sports matches and inter-school competitions, whilst the development of independent learning skills in homework each evening gradually increases from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, which includes daily reading time.
Using the great outdoors in our curriculum
We make great use of the beautiful outdoor space we have here at Kingscourt, for learning as well as sport and play.
Outdoor Learning at Kingscourt is about exploring and experiencing the natural world through practical activities. Children go out in all weathers, all year round. Dedicated sessions take place weekly for all children from Nursery to Year 4, but opportunities to be outdoors occur daily. These sessions include den building, knot tying, exploring textures and materials, planting, growing and monitoring seasonal change.
We believe children thrive when their learning is fuelled by a spirit of adventure and this motivates them to become more independent learners back in the classroom. Our woodland environment is central in supporting this very dynamic approach to learning. The children experience the vibrant nature of an outdoor environment. They see and feel the change of seasons and the impact of this on the environment around them.
Our approach to learning in the outdoors is rooted firmly in the key progressive education theorists of the past one hundred and fifty years – from Froebel to Steiner, Vygotsky to Montessori, Dewey to Gardner – all of them put the child at the centre of their own learning. They all valued the importance of children being allowed to explore the world independently, with appropriate support.
The key benefits of Forest School
- Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- Improved social skills
- The development of language and communication skills
- Improved physical motor skills
- Improved motivation and concentration
- Increased knowledge and understanding of the environment
We work very closely with parents to maintain our high levels of pastoral care and pride ourselves on knowing each child and their family very well.
We know that a good education is not just about success in the classroom. We pay equal attention to our children’s happiness, sociability and feeling of belonging. Everyone at Kingscourt learns the value of respect and consideration for others, using good manners and helping one another from a very early age.
Kingscourt is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and expects parents, staff and volunteers to share this commitment.
Music & drama
Every child here has the chance to express themselves creatively and to explore and use their imagination.
We want every child to experience the magic of music, whether accomplished musician or complete beginner. Our outdoor music space, complete with rustic instruments, is the perfect place to spark creativity and start a musical journey.
Our musicians frequently delight us with music recitals, we stage art presentations showcasing the work of our budding artists and each year group from Nursery upwards performs regularly in plays to parents, grandparents and friends.
The Physical Education and Games programme at Kingscourt aims to put into place the building blocks which help our children to enjoy a broad range of sports with competence and confidence.
All of our staff contribute to the PE and sports lessons and extra curricular activities, not just the PE staff; this sends a strong message that sport is for all.
Our spacious Multi Use Games Area means that rain doesn’t stop play. Our children practice hockey, football, netball and tennis on this all weather surface, ready to compete in fixtures, tournaments and festivals. We have facilities for netball and hockey training as well as cricket nets, and pitches for rounders, football, rugby and running. We also offer a range of individual sports: tennis, fencing, running, cross-country and judo.
We recognise that responsibility for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEN & D) is a whole school matter.
All of the staff, supported by our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and the Senior Leadership Team, take into account any requirements and make provision, where necessary, to support individuals or groups of children enabling them to participate effectively in the curriculum and activities.