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St Nicolas' Church of England Infant School

Living life in all its fullness

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St Nicolas' Church of England Infant School

Living life in all its fullness

Curriculum

Our Curriculum Design Statement

Jesus said, “I came to give life - life in all its fullness." John 10:10

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Intent

Our curriculum is designed with two main goals in mind:

  • To give our learners inspiring experiences to enable them to develop as confident, responsible citizens within a diverse society.
  • To provide a coherent, structured and ambitious curriculum that leads to children having a love of learning, with the ability to think deeply and reflectively and the skills to transfer and apply their learning to new contexts, experiences and concepts and to engage with spiritual aspects of life.

 

Our school vison is the powerful thread that runs through all we do and is the driver of our curriculum:

 

Our school community “lives life in all its fullness” John 10:10:

Through a love of learning,

“Wise people are always learning, always listening for more” Proverbs 18:15

Curriculum Aims:

  • To foster within our children emotional intelligence and a love of learning.
  • To enable children to become independent learners.
  • To develop learners who are thoughtful and reflective.

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Demonstrate curiosity and open mindedness when exploring life’s big questions.

• Exercise imagination and creativity, appreciate beauty in the world and be alive to experiences of awe and wonder.

Achieved Through:

  • An engaging and empowering curriculum with inspiring teaching and learning opportunities.
  • The innovative use of continuous provision throughout the school engages children and enables them to take their learning in new directions.
  • Children are taught and encouraged to think for themselves and are frequently given the freedom to choose how to approach their learning.
  • The enquiry process taps into natural curiosity and encourages children to take risks in their learning.
  • Teaching is adapted to the needs of the current cohort of learners as a group and as individuals.
  • Explicit teaching of emotional literacy.
  • Frequent opportunities and encouragement are given to think deeply and consider life’s big questions.
  • Class discussions encourage everyone to think for themselves, share their views and respect the views and opinions of others, building thinking skills, courage and a strong sense of community, where ideas can be shared in a safe space and decisions arrived at together.
  • Outdoor learning and creative activities are designed to encourage children to connect, reflect on and appreciate the world in new ways.
  • Time is given to children to reflect on their learning and take time to improve pieces of work.
  • Children engage and participate voluntarily because they are excited and want to participate, which builds their resilience and understanding of challenge as part of their learning journey.
  • Children contribute to the success criteria in lessons and so have ownership and want to tackle challenges and succeed.
  • Highly skilled adults are able to teach skilfully and share their own learning journeys to empathise with and inspire children and other adults, creating an ethos of life-long learning.

By having a sense of unity,

“Love is what holds you together in perfect unity” Colossians 3:14

Curriculum Aims:

  • To be a highly inclusive school at the heart of the community.
  • To encourage children to show responsibility for themselves, those around them and the wider world.
  • Have a strong, caring ethos, based on Jesus’ teaching of love and respect.

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Be self-aware and empathise with the experience of others in the school and wider community.

  • To help children to recognise that forgiving each other is at the heart of positive relationships.

Achieved Through:

  • Collaborative approaches to tasks and learning provide frequent opportunities for sharing experiences and peer learning.
  • Regular opportunities to take part in whole class, whole school and community projects build a strong sense of community and empowerment, where children and adults feel part of transformational change.
  • Explicit teaching of conflict resolution, modelling of forgiveness and reconciliation enable everyone to move forward with healed, positive relationships.
  • Classroom and Playground ‘Peace Corners’ are provided for independent conflict resolution and relationship building.
  • By fostering a ‘family’ environment in our school community, everyone is welcomed, valued and encouraged.
  • Community links build intergenerational understanding and a sense of being part of a wider community.
  • The School Council and Green Team lead active engagement with school, community and world issues and projects, empowering children to act with boldness and to challenge injustice and inequality.
  • Through compassionate and challenging teaching, children develop the empathy and awareness of others’ needs and show generosity in offering to help.
  • Deep and meaningful connections beginning small, with oneself, then talk partners and developing over time to include the wider community enable children to become aware of their part in the world and the difference they can make.
  • Our ethos of respect creates an environment of active acceptance, where all are valued, different needs are understood and accepted and diversity is celebrated.
  • Our work on anti-racism and diversity brings opportunities to explore issues of respect and enhances children’s understanding and empathy for others.
  • The school’s staff, governors and parents have close relationships and work in unity with a strong sense of community and commitment to providing the best possible experiences for all.

Understanding right and wrong,

“Speak up and judge fairly. Defend the rights of the poor and needy” Proverbs 31:9

Curriculum Aims:

  • To teach children to show empathy to everyone, celebrating differences.
  • To develop children who are able to be courageous, challenge injustice and look beyond themselves to consider the needs of others.

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Be ready to say sorry when mistakes are made, to forgive themselves and to forgive others.

• Be guided by their beliefs and values and be willing to take a stand to defend them.

Achieved Through:

  • Inspiring teaching and learning opportunities enable children to reflect on and engage with historic attitudes and current events and issues in an age-appropriate manner.
  • Classroom and Playground ‘Peace Corners’ are provided for independent conflict resolution, forgiveness and relationship building.
  • Class Agreements are created by the children to express how they want their class and classroom to be and to create a sense of belonging, safety and accountability in the first weeks of the year.
  • Making reference to our values and vision when addressing behaviours, empowers the children to consider the impact of their actions on others and to become agents of change in themselves and beyond.
  • Celebration of those who are modelling desired behaviours encourages positive choices.
  • Thought provoking texts lead to deep questioning and reflection and develop children’s compassion.
  • Innovative and bold Pause Days have been designed to educate and inspire children about Anti-Racism and Black History and Dignity.
  • Explicit teaching of emotional literacy, conflict resolution, forgiveness and being good role models develops understanding, empathy and helps to forge respectful, loving attitudes and relationships.
  • Frequent opportunities for children to engage with causes and charities enable them to make a genuine and tangible difference in the world.
  • High quality books purchased to enrich the children’s understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our society and our world.

Being able to persevere through life’s challenges

“Happy is the person who doesn’t give up” James 1:12      

Curriculum Aims:

  • To provide an environment with a Growth Mindset culture and ethos; where mistakes are a valuable part of learning.
  • To support children when coping with challenges, resulting in resilient learners.
  • To encourage children to have the self-confidence to step out of their ‘comfort zone’ and take positive risks.

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Be willing to take risks and to reflect, learn and grow following experiences of failure as well as success.

• Be guided by their beliefs and values and be willing to take a stand to defend them.

Achieved Through:

  • We provide a bold, challenging curriculum with inspiring teaching and learning opportunities which stretch children and help them to reach their potential.
  • Teaching is adapted to the needs of the current cohort of learners as a group and as individuals.
  • Explicit teaching of Growth Mindset and Multiple Intelligences gives children and adults an understanding of their own learning styles and the confidence to make decisions in leading their own learning.
  • Frequent opportunities are given for problem solving and independent learning across the curriculum.
  • Outdoor learning and creative activities designed to encourage children to think in new ways, tackle new problems, assess and manage risk and persevere at a task until they succeed.
  • Conflict resolution is used to manage relational challenges. The restorative approach is used to equip children to understand and resolve conflicts and promotes forgiveness.
  • The understanding that mistakes are a part of learning is modelled by staff, enabling children to feel comfortable taking risks with their learning and understanding how to overcome challenges.
  • Inspirational figures are chosen to promote the values of resilience and perseverance and support children in understanding that struggle is part of progress. This can raise the aspirations of all children by showing what is possible with dedication, determination and courage, even when the odds might appear to be stacked against you and by showing what can be achieved when people are brave enough to stand up for what is right.
  • Challenging those children who are used to succeeding, in areas that they find more difficult, enables them to learn perseverance and be able to cope with failures.
  • We build a culture in which everyone is a learner and promote an active acceptance that we are human and no one is required to be perfect.
  • Progress is valued over perfection and effort is valued, not just the end result, building confidence in learners of all abilities.

With dignity and respect for ourselves and others

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good” Titus 2:7

Curriculum Aims:

  • To teach children to understand and respect the beliefs and cultures of others and appreciate the diversity of the society in which we live.
  • Develop children who are accepting of each other and who form positive relationships
  • Help children to appreciate all we have.

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Appreciate and be thankful for what is good in life and show generosity towards others.

• Be comfortable with stillness and silence and open to engage in reflection/meditation/prayer.

Achieved Through:

  • Our innovative, engaging, ‘decolonised’ curriculum with inspiring teaching which includes positive representations of diversity in our society and across the world.
  • High quality books purchased to enrich the children’s understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our society and our world.
  • Explicit teaching of emotional literacy.
  • Pause Days designed to educate and inspire children about the world Church, Anti-Racism and Black History and Dignity.
  • Prayer Spaces, RE teaching, Collective Worship and an environment and ethos which encourages reflection, deep thinking and prayer.
  • Each class has an Essential Agreement which focuses on forming positive, respectful relationships.
  • Staff model high standards in the way they interact with all members of the community.
  • Children are treated with respect and compassion regardless of the choices they have made or the challenges they are facing.
  • Developing children’s understanding of why they need to behave in a certain way, enables them to understand, develop compassionate attitudes and apply this beyond the immediate situation.
  • Encouraging children to understand the meaning of equality and fairness and how these affect people’s lives when put into action.

And with hope for the future and all that it brings.

“Be joyful because you have hope” Romans 12:12

Curriculum Aims:

  • To nurture children’s self-belief so they have the confidence to be the best they can be.
  • To equip children with confidence for lifelong learning.
  • To foster a sense of empowerment, that we can all make a difference in our world.

Spiritual Capacities Aims:

• Love themselves, care for themselves, believe in their potential to achieve, and find inner strength and resilience when facing challenges.

• Be intrigued by mystery and be open to an awareness of the spiritual aspects of life.

Achieved Through:

  • Fostering a ‘family’ environment in our school community, where everyone is welcomed, valued and encouraged.
  • An engaging curriculum with inspiring teaching about aspirational people and with representations of diversity throughout, demonstrating that seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome and changes can be made in ourselves and in the wider world.
  • Eco Schools programme and charity links enabling children to engage with local and global issues and feel empowered to make the world a better place.
  • Prayer Spaces, RE teaching, Collective Worship and an environment and ethos which encourages reflection, deep thinking and prayer.
  • Regular Church Services and visits from clergy to enrich the spiritual life of the school and provide a greater variety of spiritual activities and opportunities.
  • Use of Growth Mindset vocabulary – ‘I can’t do it yet’ build confidence to take risks, persevere and eventually succeed with even difficult challenges.
  • Developing the understanding that we can be agents of change through small actions, such as turning out the lights, recycling, etc.
  • Children are provided with the skills to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their learning, by exposing children to examples of challenges others have overcome. Children are also encouraged to reflect on challenges they have already overcome, to build confidence and self-esteem.

Implementation

Our curriculum is reviewed regularly to ensure it:

  • Meets the academic, personal and spiritual needs and interests of our children.
  • Is responsive to the real world.
  • Inspires and motivates our children and adults.
  • Is flexible, fluid and reflective, resulting in an adaptable curriculum.

 

Our curriculum is bespoke; designed for our children, customised to capitalise on the experiences and backgrounds of our children, as well as providing them with relevant new experiences, taking into account:

• Background

• Ethnicity

• Religion

• Family context

• Demographics

• Support from home

• Aspirations

• Interests, talents and hobbies

• Previous learning experience

 

We ensure learning needs of our children are met taking into account:

· Their opportunities

· Life experiences

· Barriers to learning

· Effective teaching strategies to ensure pupil engagement

· Learning styles and learning environments

· The life skills they need to succeed in life

· Gaps in experience and knowledge

 

We ensure an appropriate balance between academic, personal and spiritual development (see Note below) with all three areas intertwining to ensure our children are prepared and equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to thrive and grow in our ever changing world.

 

Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach. Continuous provision is used across the school to enhance the teaching of aspects of the curriculum enabling children to apply skills learned in practical situations. It also provides practise to embed, deepen and develop previously learned content. Outdoor learning forms an integral strand of our curriculum, with learning experiences which are practical, relevant, purposeful and skills based. The use of the local community, visits, visitors, media and high quality resources further enhance the children’s learning, and enterprise initiatives provide children with opportunities to apply their learning to real life scenarios.

 

Impact

Academic

The impact of our curriculum can be seen in our academic results. By the end of each milestone, the vast majority of pupils have reached expected levels with some pupils having a greater depth of understanding. We monitor carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum. We carefully monitor children’s engagement and enjoyment in lessons and the impact of feedback and marking in the children’s books. Our celebration of everyone’s effort and achievements within and outside of school instils a love of learning that the children and adults take with them throughout their lives.

 

Spiritual

Our commitment to the whole person includes a thread of spiritual development which results in children who can think beyond themselves and their immediate environment, to consider abstract concepts and life’s big questions. Children learn to apply their learning and consider the views and beliefs of others to come to their own understanding of the mysteries of life. Our children leave us with the ability to think deeply and an appreciation of the benefits of taking time to reflect on concepts and issues. They develop a love and care for our beautiful world and the people in it and a strong sense of their power to make a difference.

 

Personal

The impact of our curriculum on the personal development of our children and adults can be seen in the confident, compassionate, respectful, resilient individuals in our school community. Children leave us with an understanding of themselves and others and the ability to forge positive, healthy, loving relationships. They know that they can continue to develop and that while this is something to strive for, we are all human and mistakes are a part of life and not something to be feared. The school community feel empowered both individually and in collaboration to make a difference in the world and to challenge injustice and unfairness when they come across it, acting with dignity and respect on behalf of the natural world and people who need support.

Note:

In our school, ‘spirituality’ means:

Being reflective and feeling comfortable to explore our own beliefs in a safe environment with a family feel* and appreciative of others’ beliefs and perspectives. Developing respectful relationships with others and the natural world which help us to think beyond ourselves. Thinking deeply and wondering about inspiring ideas and big questions as we learn together.

* We acknowledge that the word ‘family’ does not have positive, loving associations for everyone, but we have made a deliberate choice to use the word to demonstrate that families are intended to love, care for and help each other. School may be some children’s only experience of a positive family environment. In these cases, our definition may prompt conversations or disclosures which reveal safeguarding issues that need action.

 

David Smith notes a number of human capacities commonly identified as related to spiritual development, which he calls ‘Spiritual Capacities’. We have called them our Spiritual Development Aims. These run alongside the academic aspects of our curriculum, to provide a ‘whole person’ approach, aiming to meet the academic, personal and spiritual needs of our school community.

Further Information

If you have any questions about our curriculum, feel free to speak to one of the teachers or email the office with your enquiry. If you require any of our website information in paper form, please request this from the office.

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