At Newlaithes Nursery and Infant School, we use the Cambridgeshire PE Scheme of work for the majority of our PE lessons. PE is taught by a mixture of the class teacher and a qualified sports coach, whom teachers will observe and team teach with in order to develop their own practise. The Cambridgeshire Scheme of Work provides clear progression throughout each module and for each year group. Meeting the National Curriculum statements, Early Learning Goals and developing the pillars of progression in PE which are mentioned in further detail below.
Motor competence is a consideration of a child’s ability to make a range of physical actions, both fine motor and gross motor skills. These are especially important in allowing children to participate in everyday activities as well as playing and taking part in physical activity. Our PE lessons provide an opportunity for children to learn how to make confident and controlled motor skills through high-quality instruction, opportunity for practise and feedback to pupils.
Throughout all year groups children are provided these opportunities along with additional chances for physical activity. At breaktimes children are provided with equipment and apparatus to explore, children are given the opportunity to take part in the ‘Newlaithes 9’ where children run for 9 minutes on a track around our playground.
Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS)
Studies have shown that FMS are a key aspect of physical development in children aged 3-8, therefore as an infant school our PE curriculum is structured in a way to help best support children in this. FMS include basic, learned movement patterns that otherwise would not occur naturally including but not limited to running, jumping, twisting, balancing, throwing and catching.
Reception learn how to move and travel in the Autumn term, along with completing simple dances in Spring and using their body to create shapes in gymnastics in Summer. Children are encouraged to think about the way in which they are using their body for a specific purpose.
Year 1 then develop these basic skills to begin to explore different ways of jumping in gymnastics, use of apparatus, basic throwing and catching and thinking about being able to control these movements more throughout the half term.
Year 2 then use gymnastics as an opportunity to further develop their FMS. In gymnastics children focus on holding and sequencing positions of stillness. Focusing on balancing and twisting to move from one position to another smoothly. Year 2 then continue to develop throwing, catching and rolling techniques to then be incorporated into games, along with other skills such as kicking, dribbling, running laterally and quickly changing direction.
Rules, Strategies and Tactics
An important aspect of PE is for children to be taught knowledge that can direct their movement and allow them to improve their understanding of the lesson. These can include learning how to move, where to move and when to move.
Reception use listening games to develop children’s ability to negotiate space and think about where and how to move. They also spend Autumn 2 focusing on moving and travelling, exploring different ways of moving and how to move safely in an area where others are. Children learn the importance of rules of games such as listening games in Autumn 1 & then develop their ball skills, playing simple games and learning basic rules.
Year 1 use their dance and gymnastics units to explore how best they can improve their ability to hold positions, make movements flow better or move in time to music. Teachers give children the opportunity to self-assess and offer suggestions on how to further improve. In the ‘games’ unit, children learn a variety of ways to pass and catch a ball. Teachers then give feedback and allow children to explore which strategies of passing/throwing/kicking are best in which situations and which are easier or more difficult.
Year 2 gymnastics units provide ample opportunity to further develop these skills to incorporate more complex movement patterns that develop core muscle strength and FMS in a way that allows children to consider strategies and tactics to better aide them. Children by the end of each unit create their own sequence of 3 or 4 movement with a partner or in small groups that are expected to ‘flow’ from one to another. They self-assess, peer-assess and are given feedback by a teacher or qualified sports coach to help further understand the way they can use their bodies to move more effectively. In ‘games’ children begin to learn how to play small games that use the throwing, catching and striking skills that have been developing since Reception. They can then focus on the rules of the game and, with support from the teacher, understand how they can adapt to fit these – developing strategies and tactics that will help them.
PE plays an important role in developing a healthy relationship with sport and physical activity and can combat misconceptions that arise from outside of school. These could be misconceptions that are likely to cause injury (unsafe movements in gymnastics) or demonstrate or a poor understanding of the correct way of taking part in a sport or physical activity (goalkeeper using hands outside of the box).
In school we are passionate about the promotion of an active lifestyle which is embedded into our curriculum both in PE but also in a cross curricular sense. In March 2022 we were awarded a green accreditation and are working towards a bronze accreditation as part of Modeshift STARS, in association with Active Cumbria. This promotes active travel to school through a number of initiative such as participation in walk to school week, lessons on road safety, balance bikes in Nursery, walking trips, the installation of scooter pods on site, the re-opening of the bike rack and several more.
School also invites a number of guests into school throughout the year to promote various sports and give children the chance to try new forms of physical activity. Most recently, Nat Pattinson has visited school to give children the chance to learn about and play wheelchair basketball. Nat is a former world champion, so not only provides children the opportunity to try something new but also inspire them to develop their own sporting ability.
Year 2 use Moki bands to track their steps and then in their science and PSHE lessons learn about the link between physical activity and living a healthy lifestyle.