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Curriculum

BVPS philosophy re themed learning

We strive for our pupils to experience a very relevant curriculum in which they explore themes that are exciting, that stimulate their curiosity, capture their imagination and provide appropriate challenge. Through thematic learning many areas of the curriculum are connected together and integrated within a theme. When pupils see how facts and ideas connect with one another across subjects, we are constructing meaning for them.  This allows learning to be more natural and less fragmented than the way, where a school day is time divided into different subject areas.

We believe that:

  • thematic units are powerful tools for building and maintaining students’ interest during learning.

  • as a structure for integrating content areas, learning around a theme makes sense to children. It helps them make connections, to transfer knowledge and apply it. It fosters comparison, categorizing and pattern finding – building blocks of the scientific method.

  • pupils learn more effectively when given opportunities to explore and enhance knowledge from all subject areas, rather than focusing on a specific subject

  • developing projects that engage pupils' imaginations and allowing them to research independently has an impact on deeper learning and understanding

  • learning that is experiential is memorable (and usually fun!)

  • when pupils communicate their learning, it is further reinforced

  • through this approach, pupils will develop learning skills more quickly, as each one is connected to and reinforced by others

  • pupils will become more confident and better motivated

  • this approach creates an environment where pupils acquire a taste for lifelong learning - as they become more involved in how and what they study, children also become more interested in learning

  • parents more easily become partners in learning around a theme

 

One of our central aims is to enable children to have a deeper understanding of how historical, social, cultural, scientific and environmental factors have shaped the world they live in today.  In other words to give them an understanding of how past events, beliefs, values and attitudes have influenced how we have arrived to our present position in the 21st century and how we may move forward in the future.

Another of our aims is to give children the skills to be confident, successful, independent learners so that they will be equipped for secondary school and life after school.

Our thematic planning involves integrating curriculum areas around topics or themes and seeks to view teaching and learning in an interactive and holistic way that reflects the real world. Thematic planning is aimed at helping students in contextualising what they learn and applying it in real life situations. It also provides an avenue for integration of content area in a realistic manner that helps children in applying the knowledge they acquire significantly in their daily lives.

The research behind our approach
Brain research challenges the belief that learning, and therefore teaching, can be separated into traditional domains - learning cannot actually be separated anatomically or perceptually.

Research by Piaget (1969), Vygotsky (1962), and Bruner (1960) supports an integrated approach to teaching and learning. This research concludes that learning is a highly integrated process which cannot be easily separated into domains or traditional academic disciplines, such as math, science, and language. Children learn by active engagement with their environment and through social engagement with other human beings. “Multiple complex and concrete experiences are essential for meaningful learning and teaching” (Caine & Caine, 1991, p. 5).

Brain research and the psychology of learning support the idea that learning is an integrated process, a process focused on constructing meaning, and a process largely dependent on the ability to communicate. Because of this, teachers have sought ways to facilitate learning based on these principles. One result is the creation and development of integrated thematic or topical units.

Katz (1988, p. 45) reminds us that “the data (Consortium on Longitudinal Studies, 1983) on children’s learning suggest that what is required in school is an intellectually oriented approach in which children interact in small groups as they work together on a variety of projects that help them make sense of their own experience” (p. 45). Topical units are ideal for integrating learning across the curricular areas, creating an environment and climate that facilitate children’s search for meaning, and supporting language development.

Gardner’s (1983/93) theory of multiple intelligences states that in addition to the traditional verbal/linguistic and logical/ mathematical intelligences, five other types of intelligence exist. These include musical, visual/spatial, body/kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences. In order to facilitate learning, teachers should provide a variety of learning activities which encompass all of the intelligences.

Overview

Overview 1

Our curriculum (as shown above) consists of three core themes (7-9 weeks) per year and is then flanked by smaller pockets of learning (1-3 weeks). The philosophy behind this can be found later in this document.

 

Our smaller units of learning involve:

AUTUMN:

 

A Better World which looks at local, national and international issues with our world.

Book Week launches the children’s first theme-linked book and involves them taking part in activities linked to becoming excited about their books as well as understanding characters, plot and themes etc.

Showtime allows our pupils time to use drama to workshop their Christmas productions which they perform to parents. Pupils will also attend live performances during this time.

 

SPRING

 

Big Questions allows our pupils to explore our Qualities for Life. In 2017-2018 we looked at Morality in 2018-2019 we explore Growth Mindset.

Investigate involves pupils taking part in exciting investigation linked to real world problems.

Shakespeare weeks are opportunities for our children to perform and write amazing stories based on William Shakespeare's most famous plays: Nursery, Reception and Year 1 focus on a Midsummer Night’s Dream; Year 2 work on The Tempest; Year 3 explore Romeo and Juliet; Year 4 study Hamlet; Year 5 learn about Macbeth and Year 6 tackle Twelfth Night

 

SUMMER

 

Made4Life teaches our pupils all about the importance of being healthy. Our pupils are active and burning energy in a variety of ways for the week.

Arts Festival takes place after our second investigate week. This is an excellent chance for our pupils to be inspired by art from across the world.

Further Information

Our theme based curriculum is cross curricular and subjects (English, history, geography, science, music, art and ICT) are all taught through termly topics. The subject goals cover the knowledge (the facts and information that children should learn), the skills (the practical abilities that children should be able to master) and the understanding (the deeper awareness of key concepts that develops over time).

 

We aim to develop pupils' personal attributes. Children are taught in such a way that they develop our Qualities for Life which are:

  • Curiosity
  • Growth Mindset
  • Grit
  • Morality
  • Communication
  • Reflective Thinking
  • Co-operation
  • Respect
  • Zest
  • Gratitude
  • Optimism
  • Self-Management
  • Resourceful Thinking
  • Hard Work

 

 

We also aim to support children in becoming internationally minded individuals who:

  • have a good sense of identity
  • are open-minded and adaptable
  • are respectful of other cultures and beliefs
  • celebrate similarity and diversity
  • are good communicators
  • have respect for the ideas and opinions of others
  • take an interest in global issues

 

Please see below for descriptions of our individual subjects. For further information about the Year Group Curriculum, please visit the Year Group Pages.

Early Years

Physical Development

 

 

 

We provide children with opportunities to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal Social and emotional development

We support children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Communication and Language

Children experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations. Language and literacy is considered in a holistic way, taking account of the integral nature of the areas of Talking and Listening, Reading and Writing which extend across all areas of the curriculum.

Weekly planned language groups 10 minute daily for targeted children.

English (reading & writing)

 

 

Reading/Phonics

 

 

 

Writing

 

 

We encourage children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

25/30 minute daily  phonic sessions using Read Write Inc resources

 

Reception: Weekly Talking Tables sessions children listen/retell /act/write - focus time 1 hour plus other writing opportunities throughout the day.                                                                  Year 1: increased expectation of writing and sessions increase to an hour daily plus hand writing sessions.               

Mathematics

Children have opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. We use a maths no problem approach where  children are provided with a hook and context of which to learn in

Child initiated opportunities and 15 minute daily carpet sessions and a weekly focus task 30 minutes

Understanding the world
 

In Early Years through child initiated and weekly planned activities, both independent and focused, we guide children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

In Year 1 the holistic approach continues in their curriculum by learning 'topic/science through writing'. This enables the children to make even more cross curricular links between subjects and to gain scientific and topic based skills while using key English and writing skills.

Expressive arts and design

We  enable children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

CI and weekly planned activities independent & focused.

Physical Development

 

 

 

We provide children with opportunities to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food. Pupils have constant access to a range of physical activities in the outdoor provision.

In Y1 pupils take part in PE sessions covering the National Curriculum requirements.

Key Stage 1 and 2

English Writing

Our children follow a creative and consistent approach to writing. The teachers use a rigorous modelling strategy which incorporates ‘Think, Say, Write and Check’ as part of the process. Over the course of two weeks children will use drama, an established text by an acclaimed author as well as teacher modelled texts to plan, draft, craft and publish high quality pieces of writing.

English Grammar and Spelling

Grammar forms part of our day to day teaching of English, it is embedded in writing lessons up to Year 5 and 6 where additional workshops are provided. The school follows the Read Write Inc Spelling approach involving daily spelling sessions which teach the different spelling rules on a weekly basis.

English Reading

We use Read Write Inc Comprehension in Years 2 and 3 and a reciprocal reading approach (developed in partnership with Professor Wayne Tennant and  the University of East London) in Years 4-6 where children are taught to develop their deeper comprehension skills. We invest in high quality texts for children which are age appropriate but challenging at the same time.

Maths

Our children follow the Singapore Maths Mastery curriculum. From Year 1 this incorporates the use of a concrete, visual and abstract approach within lessons, allowing children to explore maths areas in great detail.

Topic – History, Geography, Art, Music, Science, Internationalism

The school builds on the International Primary Curriculum  covering Geography and History, with elements of Art, Music and Science contained within it. This rich cross-curricular curriculum has a strong research approach to learning, providing fascinating termly topics for children to explore. Explore our topic webs on Year Group pages for further information.

Science and Design & Technology

Science is combined with Design and Technology, pairing the knowledge and understanding of the science curriculum with the practical and evaluative element of the design and technology curriculum. There is also opportunity here for crossover with the IPC.

PE

Children experience a broad range of invasion, net/wall and striking and fielding games, athletics, gymnastics and dance activities across the school.

Music (including instrument tuition)

Children learn an instrument in each year group combined with a compositional element which also forms cross curricular links with the IPC. Children also get the opportunity to listen and appreciate established composers as well as live performances from the London Symphony Orchestra.

ICT

Coding skills are taught across every year group. The children use code to build simple computer programmes which become more complex as they move towards Year 6. ICT software is also used as a tool eg word processor for publishing in English and spreadsheets/data handling software for maths.

MFL

In French, children learn basic nouns and basic phrases, leading  to more technical written and oral sentences in Year 6 where they will be expected to put their accumulated language skills to the test when they visit a school in France in the Summer Term.

RE

Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism are among the core religions taught in our R.E. curriculum. We learn about places of worship and similarities and differences in religious belief and practice as well as stories associated with each of the religions. Religious Education is also a route for us to approach the British Values.

PSHE

We look at core themes such as relationships, Health and wellbeing and Living in the Wider World. PSHE sessions are conducted 3 times per week across the week. The themes are also built into whole school assemblies.

Extra-Curricular activities

After school clubs are led by teachers, support staff and specialists and are available every day. Clubs offer a wide variety of areas within sport, the arts and technology: additional music opportunities such as a school orchestra, drama, art and dance clubs, football, tag rugby, sports skills, cycling, ICT (game design club and an educational apps club). Children who show promise in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Creative Writing will be invited to join clubs which cater to their unique talents as part of our provision for gifted and talented pupils.

 

 

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