Year 1 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Paws, Claws and WhiskersDinosaur PlanetMoon ZoomSuperheroesRio de VidaThe Enchanted Woodland
Extra FocusAutumn, HarvestWinter CelebrationsSpringSummer

Paws, Claws and Whiskers

Soft fur, sharp claws and twitching whiskers...What’s your favourite animal? One that meows? One that barks? Or maybe one that scurries or slithers?

Paws, Claws and Whiskers is an imaginative learning project, filled with learning experiences and activities aimed at supporting the children’s transition from Foundation Stage Reception to Year 1. The theme focuses on animals, how to care for them and what they need to survive.

Throughout the topic, the children are supported in building friendships and respectful caring relationships in their new class. The responsibility of caring for a class pet, and thinking about the needs of others, helps the children to build their self-esteem. Group learning activities encourage them to work together, co-operate and build respectful relationships.

The theme begins with an engaging learning experience. The children are visited by a range of animals that they can touch, hold and observe. The children learn about the different animals’ habitats, appearance and diet. In English lessons the children learn to write labels and captions and write recounts of their memorable experience.
The children enjoy stories such as ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and ‘Handa’s Surprise’ and base their English and PE dance lessons around these stories. They write lists and make booklets about the stories and learn to link moves and turns as they explore animal movement.

Children’s scientific knowledge is developed through the classification of animals and their observable features, learning about food chains, habitats and animal groups. Scientific enquiry skills are used to learn about variation and compare basic body parts of animals and humans.
With this new knowledge and understanding of animals and what they need to survive, the children work together to design and their own wildlife park, drawing a map with a key, making sure all animals have exactly what they need to survive.

A visit from the local vets engages the children in a workshop designed to help them learn the needs of a range of pets and how to care and look after them.

Be proud of your work and celebrate your successes, create a gallery and guide others’ through your learning.
To complete the theme, the children create an animal gallery of their work throughout the topic. The children act as guides to visitors and perform animal poems and nursery rhymes.

After all of that work, curl up and take a nap...a cat nap!

Dinosaur Planet

Throughout this imaginative learning project, the children are supported in learning about how to make the right choices and acceptance.

Stomp, crash, RRRRAGH! Watch out everyone – the dinosaurs are on the prowl!

Let’s explore the Dinosaur Planet! Imagine you’re a palaeontologist (that’s a scientist who studies fossils and bones). Dig deep and discover dazzling dinosaur facts.

To start this topic, the children become palaeontologists. They dig up fossils, follow maps, discover clues, solve problems, measure footprints and identify dinosaurs. Using photographs, the children write newspaper articles to recount experiences from the ‘Dino Day’.
As Geographers the children learn about different habitats and as Historians the children study the life of a famous British palaeontologist ‘Mary Anning’ and spend time learning about her life and achievements.
During the topic the children use their mathematical and computing skills to solve problems, record data and plan routes. They use their measuring skills to; measure footprints, weight dinosaurs, compare height and lengths and discuss time. Using their knowledge of directions the children program dinosaurs to move around a map, follow a map to find clues and use positional language.

They’re rampaging across the dusty Earth, swishing their enormous tails and baring their fearsome teeth...
As scientists, the children learn to look carefully at the different observable features of dinosaur bodies. They become dentists and look closely at teeth and learn which dinosaurs were plant eaters, meat eaters or both!
A dinosaur dance in PE is used to encourage children to think about how the different dinosaurs move. The music used helps the children to think about how to move to a rhythm and beat.

When a group of cheeky dinosaurs escape in the school, who knows what they will do and where they will go!
The children read ‘Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs’, which they use for their own story writing. The children use their imagination to create their own adventure for the dinosaurs.

Create your own dinosaur museum and invite visitors to see your awesome dinosaur artefacts.
Now it’s time for the children to use all of their learning, team work and creativity and plan a museum for visitors to enjoy. Once the museum is open the children are tour guides for the visitors and wow the visitors with their knowledge about dinosaurs.
As performers, the children learn dinosaur jokes and/or funny rhymes to perform to the class, learning how to use expression and non-verbal gestures to help their performance.

Doyouthinkhesawus? Yes he did...RUN!

Moon Zoom

Throughout this project, the children learn about setting goals and having aspirations. They think about what they would like to achieve and talk about how they can work towards these goals. Using the school’s learning zones, the children are taught how to recognise when they are learning and how to have the right mindset to achieve their own goals.

Crash! What’s happening in the school? Let’s go and take a look. Stand back everyone – it looks like a UFO has landed and some cheeky aliens have stolen our underpants!

As a start to this topic, the children read, listen and respond to the story ‘Alien’s Love Underpants!’
Using detective skills, scientific enquiry and observations the children investigate the crime scene. They take photographs of the site and design and write posters to inform others about the alien landing.

As Designers, the children design and make mini space-crafts and a moon buggy and try to persuade people to buy them.

As Scientists, the children learn how to make circuits to light a bulb and sound a buzzer. They use this learning to send light and sound signals to alien planets using Morse code.

The floor robots are changed into mini-aliens and the children make large scale floor maps, including alien terrain, for the aliens to move around. The children learn how to give directions, use directional language and program the alien to move successfully around the terrain.

Would you like to be an astronaut? You’ll need a pretty sturdy spacecraft if you do. Start off small by making an air-propelled rocket...WHOOSH! How far can you make it travel?

Are you ready for take-off Year 1? Hold tight...5-4-3-2-1...LIFT OFF!
Next the children immerse themselves in learning about astronauts and spaceships. They look at, read, share, listen and respond to a range of non-fiction texts about all aspects of life in space. They become experts in one area of space that they are interested in and learn interesting facts and information so they can write an information text.

Find the names of the planets. There’s Mercury, Neptune, Mars you know any others?
As scientists, the children learn all about the planets in our solar system. They compare facts, learn names, order them and describe them. Then in art and design, create their own planets using natural materials and their properties. To develop enquiry skills, the children make and launch air-propelled rockets and investigate whether the size of a balloon affects how far a balloon-powered rocket travels.

As Historians and Geographers, the children study satellite pictures of Earth from space and note any differences in their observations overtime. They name natural and man-made features on Earth and look for any other planets that have similarities.

Then, some aliens are found, did they steal our underpants? It’s got the experts in a right kerfuffle. Professor Pong doesn’t know what to do! Can we use our new skills to help the aliens find their way home?


Throughout this learning project, the children learn about their super self. They focus on what they can do well and what they can achieve. The children think about aspirations for their future and recognise that everyone can succeed.

WHAM! BAM! BOOM! Who’s your favourite superhero?

Maybe your heroes are ordinary people who’ve achieved great things. Or is it those people who save lives in emergency services that you admire the most?

To begin the topic, the children learn about different super heroes and their powers. They write descriptions, comic strips, adventure stories and super fact files about themselves and their mums.

Next the children learn about real life heroes who risk their lives for others and who have achieved extraordinary things. The children learn about humans and animals that save lives and the dedication that they need. As historians, the children also research heroes from the past and how their actions and bravery helped others.

As designers, the children design their own superhero costumes. Then they use computing software, draw the costumes onto photographs of themselves ready to add speech bubbles.

Superheroes have super senses. Use yours to identify mystery items by their smell, taste, sound and touch. What do true superheroes eat to keep their senses and special powers sharp?

As scientists, the children explore their super senses, investigate how the human body moves, name body parts and look closely at food by learning about healthy diets.


As food technicians, the children then plan a healthy snack or drink, suitable for a superhero, and practise the skills of chopping, slicing and mixing to make the tasty treat.

Throughout the topic, the children link their mathematical knowledge of measuring, direction, position, shape and problem solving to a range of learning opportunities.

KERPOW! Intergalactic greetings, young heroes. It’s time to rescue the planet from evil villains!

Towards the end of the topic the children take part in a superhero boot camp, to get them ready to defeat an evil villain who is causing havoc. Dressed as super heroes, they build dens, complete obstacle courses, solve clues and make musical theme tunes.

Can we stop the dastardly plans of professor slime? He’s dropping his villainous instructions all around town. We must stop people following them, but can we make it in time?

Is that phone box free? Please excuse me...I have to save the world! ZAP! WHIZZ! ZOOOOOOM!


Rio de Vida

Throughout this topic, the children learn about fairness, co-operation, honesty and understanding and respecting differences.

Hot, hot, hot! Dancing feet, step to the samba beat!

Shake it, shimmy hands in the air, wave your flags in the cool night air.

During the topic, the children learn how different cultures have different celebrations and they make traditional cakes from the United Kingdom and Brazil. They learn a carnival dance and make streamers and masks to wear during their carnival.

Come and join the party down in Rio, keeping the rhythm with your party shaker! Bright colours, patterns and feathers...Can you make a headdress or a party mask?

As musicians, the children learn how to play percussion instruments to a Samba beat and make their own instruments that can be played by tapping, shaking and scraping.

Meet magical creatures from Brazil’s myths and legends and create your own as fancy as you like!

In English, the children listen to traditional Brazilian stories and learn about the magical creatures from these stories. They create their own creature and write their own mythical story, set in the Amazon rainforest.

The children write postcards and poems about Rio, carnivals and the Olympics. They use maps and identify continents and countries around the world.

Let’s go down to Rio where the Olympics will be held and practise our skills on golden beaches and beautiful stadiums.

Who can jump, throw, sprint and catch? Which team will win?

As Olympians, the children learn about the Olympics and learn athletics to compete in their own mini Olympics. The children design mascots and learn where different countries are around the world.

Now, we need to plan a celebration with fabulous music and song. Let’s invite parents and friends – they’ll all come along!

To finish the topic, parents and carers are invited to a Year 1 Carnival, where children perform Samba music using their instruments, wear their masks and perform a carnival dance.

Don’t miss the celebrations!

Bem-vindo ao Brasil os meus amigos!

The Enchanted Woodland

Throughout this topic the children learn how to care and look after the environment and feel positive about themselves.

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a BIG surprise.
The children explore local woodland areas and learn about different trees, plants, animals, habitats and magical creatures that may live in the woods.

Deciduous or evergreen? What can you find? Can you match a leaf to its tree? Can you match a petal to its flower?
Using maps and identification charts the children locate and name different trees in the school grounds and at the local woods.

Foxes and badgers, voles and mice, beady-eyed owls in the swaying tree tops. Beneath the leaves are tiny footprints...animal or imp? You decide!
In English, the children research woodland animals and write information texts and books. They learn about Grizzly Bears and focus on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, as well as writing their own version of the Owl Babies story.

Let’s build a den, stick by stick and branch by branch. Or we could make a teeny tiny home for a woodland fairy!
A magical world appears in the school grounds, where little creatures and people live. The children discover tiny artefacts and use their imagination when deciding who or what lives nearby!

As sculptors, the children use clay to create tree boggarts to watch over the magical world. They learn to roll and sculpt clay to make tiles, adding texture and natural objects.

Then it’s time to visit a large woodland area to see what we can find!
The children find fairy doors and imps’ windows hidden on a woodland walk. They build dens to rest and hide and protect a tiny village from some menacing giants.

At last it’s time to rest by the woodland fire, listening to stories and toasting our sweet gooey marshmallows. Yum, Yum!