In Mountain Class (Year 2) we maintain the creative activities and open-ended exploration that younger children thrive on and enjoy. Being a stand alone year group class, we also able to build on their developing study skills and understanding that will form the cornerstone for more advanced academic learning in KS2.
The children are encouraged to reflect and self-evaluate their efforts, achievements, learning and behaviour, guided by the Growth Mindset and Building Learning Power principles. A central class display of a tree with branches denoting various aptitudes such as ‘Adventurousness’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Determination’ and ‘Curiosity’ accumulate leaves denoting individual or group successes and achievements.
We start each day with a circle in which the children take turns to lead a brief meditation and give a blessing on “our class, our school and everyone, and …” – adding their own special individual wish each day. After lunch we have another class puja during which we might practise other meditation skills, breathing exercises or yoga, or discuss any issues arising within the group. These are opportunities for the class to feel connected, listen to each other and share their ideas and feelings thus building emotional literacy and a strong sense of self and community.
At the start of every year the children help to agree upon a set of expectations of themselves and each other’s behaviour. These rules are guided by the five Buddhist precepts set out in the Ethos and Curriculum policy of the school. Disputes and disagreements are settled as quickly as possible, often by a whole group discussion in which the children are often able to talk though and resolve their issues in a positive and supportive way. Transforming conflict in this way equips each child with the understanding that they will be heard, but that they also need to listen to the thoughts and feelings of others. The class agreement is displayed for everyone to refer to as needed. The class pair up each week into randomly selected ‘Learning Partners’, to help foster collaboration and negotiation skills across the group.
Our creative curriculum is topic-based and wherever possible cross-curricular. We run a two year cycle of exciting topics such as Early Peoples, Rainforests, Shakespeare’s London, India, Birds, Maps & Explorers, The Solar System, Life of Bees, and Terrific Tales.
We often sing numeracy, paint or eat science, and act out literacy, and work hard to deliver a balanced, inspiring and thought-provoking range of activities and learning for each child. We aim to enrich each half term topic with class trips or guest speakers. Weather permitting, we also try to explore, experience and learn from nature by visiting local wildlife areas such as Shoreham Beach or Stanmer Park, as well as engaging in regular Forest School activity sessions in a local woodland.