Bramley Park Academy began following a Spread the Happiness timetable n Early Years in January this year. This has included changing our timetable and changing how we plan our day. Our timetable includes Dough Disco, Squiggle Whilst you Wiggle and Making Maths Magic.
Dough Disco is done at the beginning of every session in Nursery, both morning and afternoon. Children and staff have their own pot of dough, we put on some music and we go to the Dough Disco! The aims of Dough Disco are to get children ready for writing by warming up the muscles in their hands and fingers through different movements and exercises. The children have become very confident in Dough Disco and their fine motor skills have developed tremendously.
We have a Squiggle Whilst you Wiggle session every morning and every afternoon also. Again, this involves all staff and children. We start with a pair of flipper flappers each (one in each hand) put our funky, upbeat music on and get dancing. The idea of Squiggle is to provide children with the shapes and movements they need to form letters (and numbers). The movements are done using gross motor skills, initially with the flipper flappers and then we move on to the mark-making. Whatever movement and actions we have done with the flipper flappers, we then do in our mark-making. For example, our first movement is ‘up and down’, we use our flipper flappers to make big ‘up and down’ movements with our arms and then when we go to mark-make we make, the same marks ‘up and down’, which gets children ready to write ‘I’, ‘l’, ‘1’. Children use both hands with a crayon/pencil in each hand to develop the muscles in both hands. Our second movement is ‘side to side’. Once the children do up and down and side to side they are ready for writing ‘I,l,j,t,1,4,7’. This builds up throughout the year, providing children with the marks they need for all letters and numbers. We do our mark making in all sorts of ways, we use pencils/crayons on big paper on the floor, paint (using our hands not brushes), chalk outside and the big white board on the wall. However you can mark-make, you can squiggle that way too.
Making Maths Magic follows the same structure every time. We use ‘abra’ for our starter which is always counting. We count in ones to 5 initially, then 10 and so on. Then we do ‘cadabra’ when we sing some number songs. We always number songs counting not back until children are solid at counting to 20 and we finish off with our ‘do’. This is our main focus of the session. This is a focus on a counting skill, for example, we might be counting objects, we might be finding an amount and as the year progresses we might be matching numerals to quantities. This makes up our making maths magic session Abracadabado.
We have seen huge progress in our children’s abilities to mark make, writing for a purpose and writing for enjoyment. Our six weekly assessments of writing development are fantastic and we are immensely proud of just how far our children have come on their mark-making journeys so far. 50% of our children have made 6 points progress or more in writing following this new programme. 30% have made 5 points progress and we do not have any children who have not made any progress at all.
The Spread the Happiness consultancy support has seen tremendous impact at BPA in terms of EYFS provision, planning and pupil progress. Not only do the resources and forward-thinking approach to EYFS provision allow children to be creative it engages their physical development in a fun and exciting way. Although promoted for our youngest learners most of the resources, ideas and philosophy can and should be adopted for all of our pupils across all areas of need. I firmly believe it would enhance any provision and engage our leaners and young people in amazing and fun exciting approaches to maths, writing and physical developments. We have brokered a login for each school which can be accessed through our Maths Portal.
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