How do we translate our intent into practice?
At Stella Maris, we use The Power of Reading approach to keep books at the core of our learning. An experienced teaching staff plan and deliver exciting, immersive and practical lessons that enable children to become part of the story. Drama, art, and discussion are all prominent features of our lessons that take place in engaging, vocabulary rich environments. The school has a bank of high quality texts used for the teaching of reading and writing whilst also providing a gateway to each class project. Each class has an inviting book corner to inspire a love for reading and Grammar is taught alongside The Power of Reading so that the children also have the tools required to translate their imagination into writing. From Reception, a cursive script is taught to promote high standards of handwriting and to support the children in their spelling strategies.
Phonics is planned and tracked carefully using Letters and Sounds and supported by Phonics Play and a range of resources. We use The Oxford Reading Tree scheme of books that children take home to share with their families. Reading record books accompany reading books from home to school to help parents and school share and record reading experiences. Daily Phonics lessons are fun, fast paced and interactive.
Children are guided in their reading across the school. In Reception to Year 3 Guided Reading is a carousel approach with a range of activities whilst in Year 4, 5 and 6 we teach whole class guided reading sessions focusing on the core reading skills of Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summary.
Curriculum hours are flexible to take advantage of presenting opportunities. The school has excellent links with local organisations such as Creative Folkestone that enables us to provide real life learning opportunities and participate in local events. God’s Top Ten is a list of ten experiences we want the children to have in each class and ensure that we facilitate visits and visitors that inspire the children and deepen their learning. Examples include visiting Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, sending real letters to loved ones and cooking locally caught fish on our own fire pit. We are currently working towards achieving an Arts Mark in recognition of the creative curriculum we provide for our children.