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At our school, we are continuing to develop our creative curriculum. Initially this required a complete change of thinking for many teachers, parents and children. The idea of the creative curriculum is to provide an excellent education where all children make good progress through exciting activities in a stimulating environment. It has been found in the U.K. that this type of curriculum can make all the difference between what is considered a good school and one that is outstanding. Children learn best when they are safe and happy. We want to make their learning a memorable experience. Children have one journey through learning which hopefully extends through their adult life and so we need to ensure that our lifelong learners have deep roots which begin in the Early Years setting and are carefully nurtured.
For our curriculum to “work” it is vital that planning is carefully structured and not at all woolly! Here our dedicated team of teachers plan, teach and assess children´s learning continually. Our Curriculum is Literacy led and skills based. Language and communication skills are at the heart of our learning structure. We encourage children to explore and pursue their own interests although we introduce children to new experiences to provide a broad education. Our aim is to develop an atmosphere of wonder and enthusiasm, of enjoyment and pride, success and intelligent risk taking.
We use the Cambridge International Primary Curriculum for Numeracy, Literacy and Science. In September 2014 the Computing Curriculum in the British Curriculum changed. All of Primary use a variety of online resources and a scheme of work produced to be in line with the new 2014 curriculum. We also take a great interest in international educational research. Each year all teachers undertake an action research project in small teams in order to stay up to date with latest educational initiatives and develop excellent practice. Literacy is our leading force for our thematic work. We use the British National Curriculum and and have fully responded to the new curriculum (2014). We choose the themes and content that we think will motivate our learners. We want children to be actively involved in their own learning by taking greater responsibility and Learning how to Learn.
Our Foundation Stage children are following the revised EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Framework (as from September 2012) which explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development.
The focus is on children learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development. Emphasis will be placed on three prime areas first: Communication and Language; Physical Development; and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. These areas are fundamental in children´s healthy development and future learning. These will help children to work and experience four further areas:
Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; and Expressive Arts and Design.
Our teachers plan activities based on these seven areas ensuring that they are appropriate for each individual child. Alongside this they will use the creative curriculum whereby children will play, explore and actively engage in a variety of activities both indoors and outdoors.
In Primary, each theme is planned using a unit from the Cambridge International Primary English programme of study as the starting point. The teachers then ensure that the essential skills, knowledge and understanding for each curriculum area are built in to the planned theme (not as discrete subjects but grouped together), which may last from between 3 and 8 weeks. Children are taught Mathematics, Computing and PE as discrete subjects although there should be many opportunities for children to apply their learning in these subject to a new situation within the theme. It is also often possible to teach Computing through the theme.
Each theme begins with a question and a wow! activity/event. Children´s work is planned carefully to ensure that there is a progression in what is taught. As a result we have seen that increased interest levels have improved concentration and generally raised standards in school. Many children have extended their learning to the home environment which is an area we would like to explore further in the coming year, with parental support. We also like to invite experts into the school and visit places connected with the themes in order to stimulate learning. This is a key area for development. We need to carry out further research to find stimulating and relevant visits/visitors.
In the older primary classes, Years 4,5 and 6, children will increasingly be given opportunities to plan activities, to research independently and finally to present their findings in their chosen way. This autonomy gives the children an increased ownership of their learning, a pride in their successes and a focus for areas to improve.
The Key Stage 2 team are working together to map out the curriculum in light of changes, in order to ensure progression and coverage of skills, competencies and knowledge. This has been done to ensure that all children will be enabled to develop the necessary skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge that is statutory. We also respect the “unique” child and try to personalise learning whenever possible.
What is this creative side of the curriculum? It is not just art, music or dance it is a way of thinking. It is allowing and developing children´s ability to:-
Ms Fiona Jacobs (Headteacher)