We will offer a distinctive educational model by combining the following elements:
An early years foundation stage model for all children up to age 7
An emphasis on developing the skills of parents as carers and educators
Thematic, cross-curricular, project-based learning for at least 50% of learning time for 7 to 11 year olds.
In keeping with our ethos, we will emphasise these distinctive qualities:
Experiential, open-ended and enquiry-based learning
Problem solving and critical awareness
Placing skills acquisition at the centre of the learning process
Engaging in significant amounts of learning outdoors and off-site
The importance and value of self and peer assessment
The importance, value and benefits of play
The importance of child-centred and project-based learning
The importance of the arts to encourage free expression, imagination and creativity.
Our approach is influenced by the pioneering work of the municipal pre-schools of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy and by the Naturebornhaven schools in Denmark.
In Reggio Emilia, the educators’ focus is to develop the children’s powers of hypothesis, communication, exploration, perception, imagination, invention and creativity. This is achieved through exciting environments, shared values, a strong “pedagogy of listening” (Rinaldi 1999), and respect for children’s ideas, which are listened to and form the basis of the work of the school. By listening to the ideas of the children and developing the curriculum around their ideas, we will ensure that children are actively engaged in their learning and that every child is learning at the right level for their stage of development.
The Naturebornhaven schools in Denmark enable children to develop in rich, exciting and beautiful outdoor environments where they can learn to be autonomous and follow their own learning experiences together with their peers and teachers.
Continuing with the principles of the Foundation Stage, there is thematic, child centred and play-based curriculum for Years 1 and 2 because this provides opportunities for:
Children to learn at the pace that is right for them.
Improved social and emotional development.
Experiential, play-based learning.
For children, play can be (and often is) a very serious business.
It needs concentrated attention. It is about children learning through perseverance, concentration and attention to detail – characteristics usually associated with work.
Phonics and Reading
Synthetic phonics are taught using Read, Write Inc resources. This enables children to make measured and rapid progress so that they can use phonics to blend and read fluently.
Reading is a strength of our school; quality stories, non- fiction books, magazines and newspapers are used to create a stimulating learning environment and to develop a love of books. We have a partnership with Seven Stories who help us to select collections of books to enrich our themes and extend children's own learning.
We have integrated Accelerated Reading and Reading for Pleasure through Genres to enable children to read books which match their ability and interest in order to become confident and fluent readers quickly and easily.
Across school we use the Mastery approach to teaching maths with many opportunities to learn, reason and apply mathematical knowledge in real life situations. We have our own calculation policy which is used across school to ensure continuity, progression and assessment.
In Early Years we follow the EYFS Curriculum and assess pupils at the end of it against Development Matters. Our unique environment, high staff ratio and opportunities for a two days of Outside Learning each week provides bespoke opportunities for learning across the curriculum.
KS1 and 2 - The International Primary Curriculum
After EYFS we follow the International Primary Curriculum to provide our personalised thematic curriculum. Through this there are opportunities to learn in each subjects at a variety of levels. We map across to National Curriculum expectations to ensure expected coverage and breadth of experience.
In Years 5 and 6 the children take part in Community Learning each week rather than Outdoor Learning. They are involved in key themes such as growing, cooking eating, recycling and rubbish, enterprise and our community.
Assessment and Achievement
Like all schools, we must take part in National Testing in EYFS, Y1 (Phonics) Y2 and Y6. We endeavour to take a common sense approach to these moments in time and maintain our unique curriculum throughout. WE do not teach to the tests or narrow the taught curriculum.
Each half term we record our teacher assessments and then there are Pupil Progress Meetings for all staff where best practise is shared and interventions are planned.
Clubs are compulsory for all KS2 pupils from 3.30-4pm each evening so that they can complete homework, have help with reading and practise times tables and spellings. Other clubs throughout the week include art club, book talk and storytelling club.
If you would like to discuss any aspects of the school curriculum, please contact the School Office on 0191 273 9477 or firstname.lastname@example.org