• Year 1 Curriculum

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Welcome to Year 1

Autumn 1: The World through our Senses

This topic supports children’s transition from Reception into Year 1. It uses the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch) as a framework to conduct an investigation of their new surroundings (classroom, school buildings, the Peace Garden, playground) and the wider locality (Highgate Woods and school allotment). These spaces are used to support scientific, geographical and artistic enquiry. Children are given opportunities to explore each of the senses in turn, carrying out a range of investigations which begin to develop their understanding of the scientific method, and relating the senses to parts of the body.

Many children will be familiar with the concept of the five senses, which they will of course have explored within the EYFS and at home.

The great majority of children will know the key text ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. Children will have some deaf awareness though inclusion sessions with Blanche Nevile School for Deaf Children. The topic develops children’s understanding of the local area, which is used extensively as they move through school, building on the Reception Forest School programme and preparing children for studies of contrasting localities in Year 2. It also explores both deafness and blindness, supporting children’s understanding of disability and inclusion.


Autumn 2: Celebrations

Celebrations looks at a wide range of celebrations including birthdays, marriages, cultural events and religious festivals. The timing of the topic allows a specific focus on festivals of light, including Diwali, Hanukah and Christmas. It builds on children’s own experiences of celebration, both at home and at school, and looks at children’s contrasting experiences of celebrations across a range of religions and cultures. The unit takes a historic look at a significant event in British history, The Gunpowder Plot, and gives children an understanding of the origins of Fireworks Night.

Children will have experienced a range of traditional celebrations at home and at school. In EYFS children will have learnt about Christmas and Hanukah and regularly acknowledged children’s birthdays. Over time, children will develop their knowledge of a range of celebrations, building their understanding of what is significant to them and drawing comparisons with the customs and traditions of others. As they progress through the school, they will place what they know about religious festivals within the wider context of the beliefs and practices of each of the major religions.


Spring 1: Whatever the Weather

This topic explores both weather and climate. Children record and describe the weather each day and learn the difference between weather and climate. The topic studies the main features of the major climatic regions of the world and explores how everyday life adapts to its climate. In science, children learn about animals, considering how animals have adapted to thrive in different climatic conditions.

Children will be familiar with Britain’s changing weather and, through Forest School, will have a good knowledge of seasonal change. They will have learnt about different climates through the topic ‘Explorers’ in reception. They go on to develop their understanding of climate in KS2, exploring both the rainforest and polar regions in Year 3, bird migration within the topic ‘Flight’ in Year 4 and tropical savannah in the topic ‘Benin’ in Year 5.


Spring 2: Toys

Within this topic, children develop their understanding of the world through an in-depth study of children’s toys. Children consider the toys children play with today and contrast this with the toys their parents and grandparents played with in the past, considering similarities and differences. Children also learn about the toys that children play with in different parts of the world, again considering both similarities and differences. The understanding of the importance of toys is explored through three classic texts: Dogger by Shirley Hughes; While You Are Sleeping by Alexis Deacon and The Winter Bear by Ruth Craft.

Children start the topic with a good understanding of a range of toys and know that different children like to play with different toys. Many children will be familiar with some of the toys their parents and grandparents played with as children. Children’s understanding of chronology developed through this topic is extended within subsequent topics including ‘The Great Fire of London’ in Year 2. Children’s understanding of how to handle artefacts carefully and safely will be applied in subsequent history lessons.


Summer 1: Amazing Architects

Amazing Architects looks at the purpose, design and construction of a range of buildings and structures. It takes a detailed look at the wide range of buildings in the local area, considering their purpose and construction and how their purpose has influenced design. Children investigate buildings in the local area and other parts of the world and consider why they might differ from buildings in the locality (materials, climate, culture, tradition). The topic uses architecture to investigate the properties of a range of materials, and uses buildings to investigate the local area more widely.

Children will have experience at drawing and constructing buildings using a range of materials. Some children will be able to produce quite sophisticated structures through a range of construction toys including Lego, Magformers and Community Blocks. Children will know about the construction and purpose of a range of buildings in the locality, for example houses, flats, shops, doctor’s surgery, garage. Children build on the knowledge gained in this unit in subsequent years, including the progression in skills of mapping, drawing and construction. Their knowledge of the local area will be extended in the topic Highgate N6 in Year 5.


Summer 2: Flowers and Insects

This topic introduces children to the variation of flowering plants and animals that live within a range of micro-habitats in the local area. Children learn about the interdependent relationship between bees and flowers and explore the anatomy and life-cycle of a range of animals including frogs and butterflies.

The unit introduces children to many of the most important concepts of biology that they will build on throughout primary school and beyond. These include the idea of some things being living and others not, that living things have specific requirements to remain alive, that they grow and change as they do so, and that they exist in a repeating cycle. Human impact on the environment is also explored in this topic, forming a foundation for future study across geography, PSHE and citizenship education, as well as within science.


Year 1 Curriculum By Subject

Maths – Autumn 1, Autumn 2, Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1, Summer 2