Our Intent - A Curriculum for the Future.
Our children have varying social, cultural and spiritual backgrounds. As a school it is really important that we give all children the opportunity to have common learning experiences – with high aspirations for all, creating and shaping their social consciousness. Our motto “I see, I hear, I do and I learn” is at the heart of everything we do. First hand, purposeful experiences are prioritised as well as exposing children to a range of learning opportunities and styles. We believe it to be our mission to equip children for the future as we understand it to be, recognising that we are already preparing young children for a world which is changing constantly. It is therefore imperative that we offer children a curriculum which is rich in knowledge, understanding (including vocabulary) and transferable skills. We believe that to be effective, the curriculum must be purposeful, engaging, active and connected. The curriculum must:-
- Have a starting point which builds on that which children already know, understand or are able to do.
- Enable children to know more than they did before as it progresses, giving them opportunities to make connections.
- Enable children to use their growing knowledge and understanding to develop skills for life.
- Allow all children to encounter first hand learning experiences (including those which build cultural capital).
- Take account of the growing body of knowledge which deepens our understanding of how children learn.
- Enable all children to take an active part in their learning.
- Enable all children to achieve, taking every possible step to overcome barriers to learning.
Our curriculum is delivered by bringing together a number of key components:-
2.1 Through Experiential learning
- Children need to become active participants in their learning journey,
- Children are given every opportunity to experience learning outside the classroom. From continuous outdoor provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage to outdoor learning in Key Stage 1 and 2, children are given the opportunity to learn from and in our inspiring capital city of London and beyond.
- We create experiences that will remain with the children over the long term. School visits, visitors, unexpected events, responding to seasonal weather patterns.
2.2 Through PSHE (and the wider curriculum)
- We teach children important life skills – how to keep themselves safe and healthy (including digital literacy); all about positive relationships; and how they can grow as British citizens to uphold principles of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
- We also teach children the power of mindfulness –a deep understanding of their bodies and ‘mindful breathing’ in order to self regulate their bodies and emotions.
2.4 Through the National Curriculum’s Core and Foundation Subjects
- As well as teaching our Core subjects – Maths, English and Science, we enable children to experience a broad and balanced curriculum which also includes art and design, Design Technology, geography, history, outdoor learning, a modern foreign language – Mandarin (from Reception – Year 6) music and physical education.
- The curriculum is planned in a connection of objections to ensure we are always building on and building from previous knowledge with the understanding of where we want our children to get to by the time they leave us and move on to secondary school.
- Through monitoring, evaluation and formative assessment, we ensure that children’s learning is following the coherent learning sequences that we have planned, that children are retaining core knowledge and that children are applying skills learned in other aspects of life and learning.
- Through measuring (and moderation), we ensure that children make progress and attain at least as well as children in other schools including nationally in core subjects.
- Through discussions with children to evaluate their attitudes to learning, tolerance and respect for others etc.
At Abacus Belsize we teach a topic based, cross curricular curriculum that is broad and balanced. We encourage collaborative learning and promote opportunities for enrichment to fully immerse children in to a topic. Skills within each topic are specifically taught because they build on and enhance the skills built on in previous years. Children then develop mastery in these skills by Years 5 and 6, with increased complexity. Topics are taught over a 2 year cycle, so that Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4 and Years 5 & 6 follow the same topics. This supports our collaborative approach to learning and offers children the opportunity to work with a range of children. There are times where subjects and/or elements of a subject will be discretely taught, rather than trying to squeeze it into a topic, to ensure its necessary impact. Some of our topics are taught throughout the school at the same time and this encourages collaborative work with other year groups, as well as a whole school celebration or exhibition at the end.
Below is a Geography example of how we connect each subject's skills across the different year groups.