Focus session are discrete teaching sessions, where activities are planned to ensure that all children are given the skills they need to access and achieve across the curriculum in line with the Early Years Statutory Framework (Sept 2021).
The sessions and activities we design also aim to inspire awe and wonder in all our children. All practitioners ensure that planning is flexible and takes accounts of the children’s interests, talents, needs and abilities.
Our continuous provision is a workshop environment where children are encouraged to be independent learners, developing their skills across all seven areas of learning and across the three characteristics of effective learners.
Whilst many of our resources are accessible to the children at all times, giving them the opportunity to independently select resources to support their chosen activity. Practitioners also make some enhancements where necessary to the provision based on what they learn from their interactions with the children, designing them to ensure progress and interest is maximized.
During the day whilst the children access the provision all staff from the unit can approach the children, have quality interactions with them, play with them and support their independent learning and development. Staff will also carry out observations and identify their next step in learning.
Talk Through Stories
Talk through stories is a programme by Ruth Miskin, designed to extend and deepen children’s vocabulary so that they can understand the books they will be able to read for themselves. It is especially for those who were not read stories daily from a young age.
Talk through stories looks at the same text for 2 weeks.
Week 1 – Story Focus - children to get to know the story really well: the plot, the characters, and their actions and motives
The stories are a variety of old favourites that many teachers are likely to know, such as Dogger by Shirley Hughes, Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. More recent literature, such as Hugless Douglas by David Melling, Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival and I’m in Charge by Jeanne Willis. Texts with minority ethnic backgrounds were the main protagonists in everyday situations, such as celebrating a birthday, going shopping, being ill, having a 2 tantrum, having their hair cut or worrying about the arrival of a new sibling.
Week 2 – Vocabulary focus – children explore six words from the story, specifically selected to develop children’s understanding of each word in the context of their everyday lives.
The eight words selected for focus in each of the stories are what Isabel Beck, in Bringing words to life, has called ‘Tier 2’ words. These are words that children are unlikely to hear in everyday conversation but are likely to come across in stories.
Throughout the week the children have the opportunity to tell adults stories. At the beginning of the year these stories are scribed for the children with them having a go at initial sounds, end sounds and then building up to CVC words. As the year progresses the children will be encouraged to write more of the story independently.
Once a week the stories are then told infront of the class, children act out the stories and we have a go at writing different words/phrases and sentences.