Academic subjects are taught to the children in a way that helps them to see the connections between other subjects and most importantly their everyday lives. The study of the environment, world history and cultural studies underpin much of the curricular content. Subjects are taught both in the context of the children’s lives and in historical context. Therefore, in subjects such as Music, Design & Technology, Literature and Drama we begin by studying their history whilst relating this historical process to a timeless, universal experience. Similarly in Nature Studies and Geography considerable time is given to studying the Earth’s natural history, whilst in History itself we begin with early humans, Australopithecus, and proceed chronologically. Specialist teachers are brought in when necessary to assist. We use the National Curriculum, National Numeracy and Literacy Strategies where and when we feel they are appropriate. See Schemes of Work for a detailed outline of what subject areas we study.
Children have certain universal needs. They all need to feel…
- Valued as an individual
- Appreciated as a member of the group
- Respected for who they are
Each child has their own unique qualities and skills to bring to the class. The teacher will celebrate the individual qualities of each child, drawing attention to that which is good and special.
Whilst this applies equally to every single child their very uniqueness as individuals means that we cannot simply apply one teaching method to suit all needs. Consequently we employ a number of different teaching methods, from traditional through to progressive, influenced by a broad range of different educational philosophies that condense into the unique educational philosophy of our school. As the child educationalist Maria Montessori wrote ‘Look to the child, not the method’.
- Group discussion and enquiry
- Group dramatisation
- Working in small groups
- Recording their discoveries individually
- Individual project work assignments
- Conclusion from the teacher
Children are encouraged to find the answers for themselves with the teacher guiding and prompting where necessary, rather than just telling them all the answers and hoping they will remember. Direct knowledge is always more effective than indirect knowledge.
Making mistakes is an essential component of learning. Therefore we encourage the children to accept and even value their mistakes as part of the learning process. If we make our children nervous about making mistakes then learning proceeds with caution and dread.