What makes Westmeads special
Children are at the centre of everything we do.
Here at Westmeads, we have a child-led approach to learning where we place the child at the very centre of our curriculum.
We celebrate every child as an individual. Every aspect of our curriculum is carefully planned and sequenced around the specific cohort of children entering school, tailored to their interests, their prior learning and what motivates them as individuals.
In our Early Years, we use a curiosity approach with real-life objects to promote awe and wonder and avoid using too many plastic premade toys.
This approach filters through to our Key Stage 1 setting, where learning is led by thought-provoking, over-arching questions that enable children to deepen their understanding of key concepts.
Parents as partners
We believe the best way to do this is to work with our parents as partners in our child's education. As parents, you are invited into school as much as possible to work with us and fully share in your child’s educational journey. This includes a daily opportunity to settle your child into class in Reception and a termly showcase where you are invited to hear from your child what they have been learning about. The children themselves decide on and plan each showcase depending on their topic. Sometimes the children create plays or assemblies, and sometimes they design a quiz or curate a documentary... each and every one is unique and special, just like our community. You have the opportunity to have input into the assessment of learning and share with us what your child has learnt at home as your child’s very first educator.
We have a Level 3 Forest School trained teacher on our team who takes the children from every year group out to a forest for a term of Forest School. We have our own onsite canopy area with a fire pit where we learn to use a flint and steel to make a fire and toast yummy marshmallows. We also spend a term at Coastal School following a carefully developed curriculum that uses our unique coastal setting to drive children’s learning in a meaningful and relevant way.
Every classroom has its own outdoor area, which is harnessed to support learning opportunities throughout our curriculum, from growing our own vegetables to channelling water and understanding how materials work in Science. Research tells us that some children simply learn better by being outdoors!
We are an infant school. This allows us to be specialists in early childhood education and not compromise on our enabling environments. Our playground is designed for our young children to provide them with the very best opportunities for growth. As a Headteacher, I am an Early Years specialist with extensive experience in both teaching and training in early childhood development. These really are the most important years of a child’s life.
Every child is welcome here. We very much believe in creating an inclusive environment where we explicitly learn about and celebrate what makes us different, special and unique.
We celebrate everyone, and we are genuinely interested in what makes your family unique and special. We explicitly teach about discrimination and provide a safe place for children to ask important questions about what can be perceived as difficult topics. We support our children through a diverse and engaging curriculum, with carefully selected Literacy Tree texts, to ask bigger questions of the world.
Westmeads’ Little Kitchen
We are very fortunate at Westmeads to have an in-house kitchen. We make all of our food from scratch in our very own kitchen with our very own team. Not only does this mean we can carefully cater for every and any dietary requirement in a sensitive and inclusive way, but also that our school smells of freshly homemade baked bread every morning...
We are incredibly proud of our enrichment offer here at Westmeads. We very much believe that a school is the heart of the community, so we take every opportunity to bring our community together to share in some exciting learning experiences. We have our star gazing evening, where we use huge telescopes to see where Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. We have our sleepy story time, where we bring you all back to school in your PJs to have a hot chocolate and share in the joy of a bedtime story together. We have our annual carnival, where we create and make banners, costumes and instruments for our parade through the streets of Whitstable to the harbour stage to perform and our end-of-school show at the local community theatre. These are just a few of the activities and events where our wider Westmeads community are very much involved.
We have our own school minibus to take the children on trips as often as possible. Every term, we start our topic with an immersive experience of either a trip out of school or a visitor in. We have recently been to Canterbury Cathedral, the Beaney Museum, Herne Bay Pier, and a synagogue in Ramsgate. This year's plan is to take the children to Dreamland in Margate to explore design and technology!
Our Unique Curriculum
We believe that our children’s day starts from the minute they walk through our gate, and we make sure we make good use of every minute they are with us.
We are so fortunate to run our own Wraparound care with our very own team who share in our values and vision. The team provide homemade snacks and a fun and exciting activity schedule throughout the week including karaoke and cooking.
Our Wonderful Friends of Westmeads
They organise discos and seasonal fairs and support the school by helping our garden look incredible and bright all year round. We really couldn’t achieve all we do without the support from our families.
We believe break times are an opportunity to support children’s interests. Our eldest children design clubs such as tag rugby and dance for their peers to join in on. We have our 'green' studio in the playground where children can design and create anything they wish from recycled materials during their break times, and we always have fruit, milk and water available for children to help themselves further develop the very important skill of self-regulation and promoting independence.
This year, we've been redeveloping our library to include a sensory cave and treehouse. During break time, children can enjoy a book, explore the sensory cave, or learn on one of the school's tablets.
We have a full school Arts and Design curriculum, which we carefully align to each topic, often inviting local artists and creatives into school to support them with specific skills and inspire the children to pursue their own ideas We have our own onsite kiln we use to develop 3D art skills using clay. We have a specialist music teacher and a drumming teacher to support our children’s development in music.
We value learning above all else
Our entire staff team attend our INSET training days. We believe that at Westmeads, it is vital that everyone understands the learning that happens at school, and so we invest in getting everyone, from our lunchtime team to our support staff and office team, to train and create opportunities for us to work together to collaborate and learn from the very latest research.
We know that every child has the potential to grow in the time they are with us.
In the children’s book, Giraffes Can’t Dance, Giles Andreae says, “We can all dance when we find music that we love.”
We are all passionate, life-long learners, and we model this to our children.
Please contact us for further information.