My name is Charlotte de Oliveira and I am the Principal of Rainbird School. Rainbird is the primary phase of Excelsior Academy; where you can drop your children off at 3 and pick them up when they are 19! We truly believe that each child, each interaction and each moment matters and have created a learning environment that is happy and safe to ensure your children thrive. We strive to deliver an enriching and outstanding education; encouraging creativity, independence and resilience in all children whatever their needs and abilities. Our curriculum has been developed for breadth and balance; differentiated with additional and bespoke intervention. An emphasis on developing a child’s character and a celebration of culture supports us in our aim to enable children grow to be well-rounded citizens.
At Rainbird we ensure our pupils gain a wide range of experiences to develop curriculum knowledge, an understanding of the world and the area that they live in and also provide opportunities to develop personally. Visits range from day trips to places like Beamish, the beach, local universities to outward bound residentials.
We strongly believe that giving our children the opportunity to learn about the world of work through their topics will have a positive impact on their knowledge of future prospects. As a result of this belief, we ensure every year group have employer engagement opportunities across the academic year. We encourage Further Education and Higher Education involvement to ensure our children have high aspirations for their own educational futures.
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. The ethos is shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond. It’s roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning and across the sea to Scandinavia.
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
equal, unique and valuable
competent to explore & discover
entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
entitled to experience regular success
entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world
At Excelsior Primary Rainbird School we believe all children should have the opportunity to access a woodland or natural environment over a period of time which provides them with inspirational and challenging outdoor learning opportunities. Forest School offers a learner centred approach, where participants can learn through self-directed play and exploration. Children involved in our Forest School Programme will be given the opportunity to develop their curiosity, confidence, self-esteem, creativity, empathy, communication skills, knowledge of the natural environment and ability to assess risk. These experiences also enable high quality writing to be completed based on real life experiences.
Every half term for one year, a different class will be involved in Forest Schools. Our activities will depend on the ability and experience of participants. Examples of Forest School activities include:
• Nature exploration
• Building dens and other structures
• Fires and cooking
• Games and invitations for imaginative play
• Natural crafts
• Using tools, such as knives and saws
• Scavenger hunts and adventure
At Excelsior we see the environment as the third teacher. We believe children flourish in environments that adapt to their interests and stages of development. We aim within the learning environment to foster children’s imagination, creativity, and curiosity. It is designed to provide a range of age and stage appropriate resources to ensure continuous provision and use provocations which build and extend on the children’s learning. Children have access to both indoors and outdoors throughout the day through our free flow approach as well as access to Forest school throughout the year. We aim to ensure provision is stimulating and exciting allowing children to engage, be motivated and think critically in their play.
We have an overarching long term plan setting our high expectations on entry. Our experienced practitioners play a vital role in scaffolding, listening and facilitating the learning to further establish how to plan or continue to enhance the learning of children. They assess continuously through observations in order to plan next steps, challenge and inform future planning ensuring children reach their full potential. We have key texts and explicit themes to support the curriculum based on the interests of our children. We strive to embed the early skills of both reading and mathematics within the Early Years curriculum. Our routine underpins a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities, catering to the children’s developmental needs.
We believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial in securing solid foundations that children are going to continue to build upon throughout their lives. Children in both our Nursery and Reception classes follow the EYFS curriculum. We assess the children through observations in both adult led and child initiated opportunities.
We value the involvement of parents in their child’s journey and encourage collaboration to bridge the gap between home and school learning. We hold regular sessions throughout the year where we invite parents to attend reading breakfasts, book look and inspires. There are regular opportunities to read with their child, complete WOW moment documentation and contribute to Seesaw and social media.