Primary 1 Curriculum
Literacy and English
In Primary 1, pupils begin learning to read within a planned progression. We adopt a three-pronged approach to learning to read, emphasising the importance firstly of sound recognition, then moving on to pictorial clues and word recognition. We use the Jolly Phonic Scheme systematically from the beginning of Primary 1.
As reading skills develop, pupils are encouraged to read clearly, fluently and with expression. Comprehension of the text is discussed from the earliest stages and by the third term, most pupils are attempting simple written comprehension activities.
From the first days in Primary 1, pupils are encouraged to write freely. They are taught the correct formation of all letters and a programme of spelling of common words is introduced. As the year progresses, they look at simple sentence structure and they learn to separate words with ‘finger spaces’. All pupils are encouraged to extend their writing, allowing for a sequence of two or three linked details to emerge.
Much of our writing is child-centred and based on our topics, the pupils' personal experiences, favourite book characters and school trips.
Listening and Talking
Listening and Talking is a main focus across the curriculum. Pupils build on their early experiences by listening carefully to information and instructions and acting upon them. They are introduced to a wide range of stories and non-fictional texts and encouraged to respond to them in a variety of ways. They are given opportunities to talk about their own experiences and feelings, both in small groups and in the class setting. Specific time is set aside to concentrate on further developing these important skills.
With a Modern Languages specialist, girls are introduced to short sessions of different languages tied in with their topic work. The girls learn simple vocabulary and greetings and learn an awareness of different types of languages, building their confidence in and enthusiasm for language learning.
Numeracy and Mathematics
In Primary 1, our approach to Numeracy and Mathematics is through active learning with the aim of developing mental agility. A variety of games and resources are used to support the pupils’ learning and many of these skills and concepts are taught and reinforced through outdoor learning.
Number, Money and Measurement
Through active learning, pupils become familiar with numbers to 20 and beyond, learn to add and subtract within 10, and use coins to buy things in their class ‘shop’. They find the largest and smallest items in a group and learn vocabulary related to all aspects of measuring and ordering. They learn to tell the time to the nearest hour and half hour and learn the days of the week and the seasons. The pupils learn to measure using non-standard units of measure.
Pupils collect information, display their findings on simple bar charts and discuss what they have found out.
Shape, Position and Movement
Pupils learn the names of simple 2D shapes and 3D objects and sort and classify them by simple properties. They learn how to continue a pattern with shapes and learn simple vocabulary to describe the position of objects.
Our Outdoor Learning Programme across each year group ensures continuing opportunities for children to experience the outdoors across a range of curricular areas.
Where possible, active learning in Primary 1 takes place outdoors, providing opportunities to:
- increase knowledge and skills without the confines of the classroom.
- offer numerous and ever-changing natural resources and features which, unlike man-made equipment, are non-prescriptive, their uses limited only by the child’s imagination.
- create a forum for problem-solving skills.
- create opportunity for child-led learning in unstructured play.
- nurture creativity and imagination.
- use the physical freedom of the outdoors to give real freedom to the mind and stimulate creative play.
- develop physical health.
- enhance the learning experience and enjoyment of the activity.
- support confidence and emotional resilience.
- improve behavioural and social skills – the children will be engaged, motivated, work in a team and co-operate better with each other.
- offer risk-taking, discovery, adventure and challenge.
- emphasise healthy routines, protection skills and responsible decision-making.
- make appropriate use of active learning, whole class teaching, related individual work, small group discussion and collaboration.
- make appropriate use of role-play and simulation activities.
In Primary 1 the Social Studies programme aims to develop knowledge, understanding and enquiry skills through the following topics:
- People who help us
In Primary 1, scientific ideas are developed through play, investigations, first-hand experiences and discussion. Highlights of the P1 session include a trip to The Royal Botanic Garden and a visit to Butterfly World.
Topics covered are:
- The senses
- Life cycles
Health and Well-being
In Primary 1, pupils explore the three aspects of Health Education: Physical Health, Social Health and Emotional Health through discrete topics or as links to another curricular area
The topics include:
- Healthy Eating
- People Who Help Us
- Keeping Myself Safe
Basic movement competence is developed through travelling, object-control and balance movements. Technical, adaptable and creative tasks are undertaken to give children opportunities to practise, consolidate, extend and apply basic movement.
- In Dance pupils learn to respond to music as a stimulus for dance, learn the basic steps of skipping and slipping and use their imagination to create movement phrases. They develop the use of percussion as a stimulus for creating a short dance and work in small groups to create a dance.
- In Games pupils develop the skills of throwing, catching, rolling and kicking; they develop the ability to use a small bat with a bean bag or ball and they learn to co-operate and share space safely.
- In Gymnastics pupils learn to jump and land safely, they develop rolling skills and are introduced to formal gymnastics skills.
- Swimming in the summer term focuses on developing water confidence and coordination.
Art and Design
In Primary 1, a range of art activities allows the pupils the opportunity to experience different materials and to develop their fine motor skills and practise their painting, drawing and cutting skills. The art experiences support much of the cross-curricular work undertaken during the year.
At all Primary levels, pupils improvise and experiment with movement, voice, use of space, physical objects and sound, showing imagination and inventiveness appropriate to age and stage of development. As they progress through the Primary levels, pupils develop confidence in themselves, and an ability to work effectively with their peers.
Primary age children love to play and naturally use imaginative play and ‘pretending’ in their games. Drama is therefore a perfect learning resource for Early Primary. In Primary 1 Drama, students explore curriculum and PSE topics through play activities such as role-play and improvisation and begin to use voice and movement to explore scenarios and express change of mood and emotion. At the core of Primary 1 Drama is the importance of building confidence and beginning to learn to work with others.
At St George's, we aim to give every pupil the opportunity to take part in music-making, to invent music and to listen and respond to music.
The Music Curriculum in Primary 1 is based on the skills of performing, listening and composing. It aims to teach the principles of Kodaly musicianship in introducing rhythm names and sol fa notes and signs through songs, rhymes and games.
Our Primary 1 class has two lessons per week, one where they work in the dedicated Junior School Music Room and one where they work together in a larger space to allow activities such as singing games and movement to take place.
The pupils learn to perform by taking part in assemblies and at Christmas, Primary 1 take part in a Nativity play with Primary 2. Later in the year, the work covered in class and songs which link with their topic work are fed into a Music Workshop performance to parents.
Religious and Moral Education
Teaching in this area is delivered through stories, discussions and role-play. The programme in Primary 1 covers the following areas:
- Christianity: Harvest, Christmas, the story of Noah's Ark, Easter
- World Religions: major festivals related to religions of children in the class
- Development of beliefs and values: Caring and Sharing, Friends, Co-operation, Fairness
Craft and Design
Through discovery and play, the pupils learn to work together to make models from junk 3D objects.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Pupils are timetabled for weekly sessions in the Junior School Information Centre and also have access to a computer and a Smart board in their own classroom. iPads are available for individual or group work use.
In Primary 1 the pupils develop their ICT capability by
- Learning to log on and off using their own username
- Developing their mouse control
- Learning to use a painting program to create a variety of pictures and patterns
- Using basic word processing
- Beginning to practise saving files.
Support for Learning
Support for Learning has a broad role, which allows students with specific learning needs and general academic difficulties to be supported in relation to their individual requirements. At this stage, students are carefully monitored for progress by staff. The aim is to help students meet their long-term targets in the Primary curriculum. Ongoing liaison between class teachers, Support for Learning staff and parents is an essential part of this process.
In Primary 1, pupils may participate in our Early Intervention programme, which aims to ensure all the students have a good foundation for literacy. By intervening early, it is hoped that the foundation will be achieved through consolidating class work. The length of time students participate will vary depending on their individual needs.
Homework is very much a part of our school programme and it helps to foster a link with parents in their support of the girls' learning throughout the Junior School Years. As the pupils progress, they are acquiring individual study skills beyond the classroom which in turn contribute to the development of independent learning as they mature. We always appreciate interest and support in this essential aspect of the learning process. The time required for individual tasks may vary. However, please let your daughter's teacher know if she is regularly taking longer than the guide times. Homework is generally given on four evenings each week (Monday - Thursday).
In Primary 1, there is approximately 20 minutes per evening:
- Phonics/ reading reinforcement of work done in class.
- A written activity: English Language, Mathematics or Social Studies.
- Computer-linked phonics or mathematics activity.