Skip to content ↓
St Martin's School

St Martin'sSchool

Big Ideas


At the Whinless Down Academy Trust we believe that ‘Learning changes lives’. In Early Years adult directed learning is largely based around broad open ended topics, with real life experiences and lots of opportunities to talk and develop vocabulary. We are committed to each of our topics having a purpose and a ‘Big Idea’.

Child initiated might follow learning related to the topic, but equally could be following the children’s own interests and next steps.

Term 1


Can you read me a story?

Within the warm and supportive confines of their new classroom, the children will listen to and engage with a range of stories. Children

will share their own favourite stories with their new friends, and begin to explain, using their prior knowledge, why they like them. The children will explore their new environment and talk about a range of stories through role-play, small world and imaginary play.

As we play and explore, we will take part in simple pretend play, respond to new experiences and participate in everyday classroom routines.

Term 2


How can I make it?



Through playing and exploring children will learn to construct with a purpose. They will develop the use of a range of materials and tools and can begin to use them in different and unusual ways. Communication and language lies at the heart of the learning, talking, or maybe even recording, what they are going to make, sharing resources with their peers as well as beginning to evaluate how successful they have been.

As we begin to make links between our ideas, we make choices, check how well we are doing, concentrate on achieving what we set out to do and review our progress.

Term 3


Who am I?

Children are going to be provided with real life opportunities to explore changes and life cycles, making observations by being involved and concentrating. They are going to develop their creative and critical thinking skills by making comparisons when exploring similarities and differences within the environment. A wide range of reading experiences, with a focus on Julia Donaldson, will help the children to foster a love of reading.

As we continue to make links between our ideas, we respond to new experiences and begin to predict sequences e.g. what might happen next in a story.

Term 4


Who are you going to call?

Imagination is going to take the children to a faraway place – who will they call when someone is in trouble? Maybe they need a superhero to save the day or a Doctor to make them feel better. Children will also develop their understanding of the world around them, by finding out about a variety of people within the community who help other people.  

As we talk about the lives of the people around us and their roles in society, we begin to use pretend play to think beyond the ‘here and now’ and to understand another perspective. We also begin to realise that our actions have an effect on the world.

Term 5


Where does it come from?

Where do plants come from? What do they need to grow? Where in the world do different animals come from? The children will dive head first into finding out about lots of different plants and animals in the natural world; be it a real life experience of finding mini-beasts in the outside area or finding out about different plants and habitats across the world.

As we begin to create and think critically, children will explore the natural world around them and begin to link their knowledge, skills and understanding together.

Term 6


Are we there yet?

Handa goes on a journey and meets lots of animals along the way. What journeys have the children been on? Do they know of anyone else who has been on a journey? Practical experiences like fruit tasting will give the children lots of opportunities to talk about and describe the food they see and taste and begin to think about where it has come from? Developing some understanding of the differences and similarities in cultures and traditions. Keeping healthy is also really important – what do we need to do to ensure we have a healthy lifestyle?  Transition will also be focus, discussing feelings and identifying strategies children can use as they make the next step in their learning journey.

As we continue to create and think critically, we are able to recognise some differences and similarities in the lives of this country and the lives of different countries, drawing on knowledge from stories non-fiction texts and maps.