Our Curriculum Design
At St Chad's, we recognise that the early years are an important time in a child's life, as it is during this time the foundations for all learning are laid. By the age of three when children start in our nursery, they have already developed a range of skills, and an understanding of the wider world, according to their cultural heritage and home experiences. It is upon these early foundations that we build our learning.
Our school's Christian vision (LOVE God LOVE Neighbour LOVE Self) and our core values (love, friendship, compassion and respect) underpin and shape our approach to teaching and learning.
Love: “Do everything with love”. (Corinthians 16:14)
Friendship: “Encourage one another and build each other up”. (Thessalonians 5:11)
Compassion: “Be kind to one another”. (Ephesians 4:32)
Respect: “Treat others as you want to be treated”. (Luke 6:31)
We view our roles as early educators as an immense privilege. We believe that primary education is not just about targets and results in league tables, nor is it a stepping stone for junior or secondary school; it is much more than that. We want children to have a memorable learning experience at St Chad's that encourages and inspires them to achieve their potential and fosters a lifelong love of learning.
The underpinning principles of our curriculum are to ensure that every child in our care:
- knows that they are special, unique, valued and loved;
- experiences life in all its fulness and achieve their fullest potential;
- has a high self-regard and positive mental health;
- makes excellent educational progress, regardless of their background or starting points;
- shows love, compassion and respect towards themselves, each other and their world;
- is equipped with the necessary skills and character to overcome challenges that they may encounter in life;
- flourishes with their unique God-given talents in all that they choose to do.
We aim to provide a child-centred, broad, balanced and engaging curriculum that enables our children to become confident, curious, caring and independent learners. We want to ensure the rounded development of the whole child through academic achievement and spiritual development. With this in mind, we have devised a 'Heads, Hand and Heart' approach through our whole school curriculum design:
- Head (to think): to develop knowledge and become independent and articulate learners
- Hands (to do): to develop skills and put these into action which prepare model citizens ready to make a difference.
- Heart (to feel): to develop positive attitudes towards themselves, others and the world around us.
At St Chad's, we are committed to providing our children with the time and opportunity to develop and master new knowledge and skills in a safe and secure environment. Inspired by Debra Kidd's 'A Curriculum of Hope', we provide a values-led thematic curriculum to help build bridges between our children's learning and the world around them. Linked to the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and the Primary National Curriculum, our theme approach to learning is underpinned by five core curriculum pillars:
- Coherence: Our curriculum is planned and plaited so that it connects in sensible and logical ways, allowing children to build an understanding of ideas, concepts, chronology and themes, to better understand them because they are encountered in a way that makes connections explicit and relevant.
- Credibility: Our curriculum is clear about what children will know and be able to do and how these elements link to the national curriculum.
- Creativity: Our curriculum offers the child the right to experience, develop and practise creativity as an entitlement. Creativity extends beyond 'making and doing' and also allows for the development of fluency of knowledge and ideas through exploration, experimentation, connection and play.
- Compassion: Our curriculum uses a range of experiences, including stories and global matters, to allow children to develop empathy with other points of view and perspectives, and to use that empathy to move into active compassion.
- Community: The curriculum is built with the local and broader community beyond the school in mind.
We believe that children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imagination and apply their learning to engaging and meaningful contexts. During their theme work, children are provided with lots of learning challenges throughout the academic year that will require children to play and explore, apply themselves creatively, think critically and express their knowledge and understanding effectively across the curriculum.
Each theme has a “big question” at the heart of its learning and is linked to a quality text. Themes start with an engaging opener, the “big start”, and conclude with a “big finish”. By the end of each theme the children will have achieved an outcome from their learning, which they showcase to their class, key stage, whole school or parents.
We are immensely proud of the diverse community in which we serve and our curriculum values talk, language and communication at its heart. We are committed to providing language rich learning opportunities to develop early communication skills as well as opportunities for both indoor and outdoor learning to develop children’s communication, physical, personal and social skills.
Learning is enhanced and enriched through visitors, trips, open events and home learning projects. We value working in partnership with our families and our community in all areas of our teaching and learning. Our Collective Worships and curriculum themes proactively support the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance. This approach not only helps prepare our children for their future life, but it enriches the daily life for everyone at St Chad's, teaching us to understand, enjoy and respect the differences in our community and the wider world.
Due to our mixed aged classes, planning is based on a three year cycle. An overview of our curriculum planning can be found below. Our individual subject progression maps can be found here.