Welcome to Willow – class teacher, Libby Kirby

Learners in Willow are pre-formal and semi-formal learners in  key stage 1 and key stage 2.

This page gives an insight into our class and what we get up to each day. If you are looking for specific information on our curriculum, you can find further detail on our curriculum page.

If you’d like to find out more about any aspect, please get in touch.

A typical day in Willow…

Our lessons and activities use a developmental early years and primary specialist curriculum model, and include adult and child led play activities as well as lessons that are more formal. The emphasis is on developing children’s independence, key social skills and core knowledge through engagement and play based activities using a practical, visual and sensory approach to learning (provision). Most children in the classroom need support with communication at varying levels,  so we use a range of methods of communication in our class including sign, symbols, verbal, gesture, objects of reference.

The environment in Willow is carefully planned to allow children to feel safe and to avoid visual or auditory clutter, which can be distracting – the classroom has zoned areas such as a quiet cosy corner and an area for more physical and sensory play. All of our children have access to a visual timetable to help structure their day. Classroom routines are structured and predictable and use visual supports such as timers to provide clarity and help with processing time for transitions.

Our typical day includes a settling in time when the children can access activities to meet specific individual needs when they arrive in the academy, including physical movement, sensory integration activities (sensory diet) and an option for breakfast.

In our indoor and outdoor provision, we access a range of topic and curriculum related activities that allow the children time to learn through play whilst being supported by the adults to develop their social skills alongside their peers. During this time, staff will engage children in small groups or 1:1, in order to work on their individual targets, with a different focus area each day.

After play, the children come into a more formal whole group session based around core skills of either communication, thinking and problem solving or personal, social and emotional development (PSED). Throughout the day we also try to ensure we have times to focus on independence, such as dressing and self-care skills like hand washing.

Lunchtime is a social and communication based time for children – they eat together in one of our two classrooms and then have time to access the outdoor areas for play.

At the start of the afternoon, the children have access to some calming activities to get ready to learn, including quiet story time, massage and mindfulness movement activities. The rest of the afternoon is when we work on our wider topic sessions including PE, art and forest schools. The final part of our day includes a story or song time and an option for fruit and a snack before we get ready to go home.