The development of the Curriculum is a School Improvement Focus. Our Curriculum Maps are located below by year group.
Over the past year we have introduced a ‘text based’ approach to our curriculum, to ensure there are better links between subject areas. This is what makes St Elisabeth's different. Our curriculum enables the children to make links to texts across subjects to ensure there are better links between subject areas and increase and engage our children's learning experiences.
At St Elisabeth's we are committed to providing a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences. Our curriculum has been planned to enable such links to be developed and exploited. We place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing our children with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to develop into well-rounded, informed individuals. Social, moral and emotional issues are given a high profile in the school.
We believe our high standards are due to the rich and broad experiences the children have as they move through the school – a rich diet of learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.
As part of our curriculum , we may block subjects to do Subject Days which allows teachers to explore in depth an aspect central to the children’s interests.
In the EYFS we follow the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum’ document. The children’s learning experiences are planned to enable them to develop and achieve in the early learning areas through play and investigative learning experiences. The EYFS curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development.
All EYFS classes follow a cycle of topics as the basis for learning experiences. Class groups follow topics that are more suitable to their cohorts or that the children themselves show an enthusiasm and fascination in. Teachers ensure that there is an equal balance across the areas of learning when they do this during their PPA time. The EYFS teaching staff work closely where learning experiences can be discussed and modified as required. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part to all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children. The half termly topics are also enriched through the following of whole school initiatives such as anti-bullying week as they occur during the academic year. . Both Reception and Nursery have have singing assemblies each week led by the Phase Leader.
To further develop our EYFS curriculum, in September we will be introducing the International Early Years Curriculum which is committed to eight Learning Principles:
1. The earliest years of life are important in their own right.
2. Children should be supported to learn and develop at their own unique pace.
3. Play is an essential aspect of all children’s learning and development.
4. Learning happens when developmentally-appropriate, teacher-scaffolded and child-initiated experiences harness children’s natural curiosity in an enabling environment.
5. Independent and interdependent learning experiences create a context for personal development and are the foundation of international mindedness.
6. Knowledge and skills development lead to an increasing sense of understanding when children are provided with opportunities to explore and express their ideas in multiple ways.
7. Ongoing assessment, in the form of evaluation and reflection, is effective when it involves a learning-link with the home.
8. Learning should be motivating, engaging and fun, opening up a world of wonder for children where personal interests can flourish.
Our Y1 pupils can also access EYFS type learning experiences to support their development , meaning they too can enjoy a curriculum through play and investigative experiences, to ensure a smooth transition from EYFS into Key Stage 1.
At St Elisabeth's, we are committed to ensuring that children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. We give a high priority to their development and achievement in the Foundation Subjects and the arts. It is intended that children will have daily experiences of learning through our text based approach. At St Elisabeth's the curriculum has been designed to enable teachers and children to develop links between different areas of the curriculum. We have developed our curriculum through a topic based approach intended to build upon children’s interests and stimulate a love of learning.
In Key Stage 1, we have a topic based approach (2 yearly cycle) to planning the curriculum, as we understand that young children learn best through experiencing a curriculum which is relevant and meaningful to them. This is based on good early years practice and in encompassing the National Curriculum requirements. There are whole class Literacy and Numeracy sessions which continue to include recommendations of the strategies. The children will be involved in, directed to and develop independence through cross curricular activities related to the week’s learning objectives, throughout the day, either with an adult or independently. The learning is planned to meet the weekly learning objectives. It is expected that each child will carry out an independent maths and literacy task each day. This is generally cross-curricular wherever possible, and differentiated as appropriate to meet the children’s individual learning needs.
Whole class Phonics is taught in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 every day (until the children move into a Spelling programme in Y2). We follow the government recommended programme of Letters and Sounds. This promotes a fun, pace, multi sensory, rigorous and systematic approach to teaching phonics. By the end of Reception children are expected to be secure in Phase Four, secure in Phase Five by the end of Y1 and secure in Phase Six at the end of Key Stage 1.
We continue to follow a topic based approach in Key Stage 2, making links between subjects, being more creative with topic choices, going with children’s interests or events which are happening locally, nationally and globally; and further developing work on oracy and speaking and listening.