At Wychall, we have developed a different approach to delivering our curriculum. The reason for this is that we wanted more for our pupils, to teach them how to think and challenge rather than just remembering facts so that they could apply their knowledge and skills in a range of contexts. It was also key to us that children find their learning FUN!
We developed our curriculum by researching different approaches being used internationally and by finding out about how children learn best. Eventually, we adopted the learning process framework and thinking tools created by Lane Clark. Lane worked with our staff to refine our pedagogical knowledge and to use her resources to enable our children to become more analytical thinkers.
Consequently, we have an inquiry based approach to our curriculum which enables our children to make links between different subject areas and disciplines and apply this knowledge to a local, national and international context.
As part of their inquiry, the children learn new knowledge and skills taken from the National Curriculum whilst working towards a 'So What?'end goal. In doing this, children’s learning is set in context and given purpose. Children then understand that by being successful learners, they can make a differenceto either their lives, or the lives of others. This could involve designing and making a product, making a recommendation, solving a problem or raising awareness of an issue. E.g. The Year one topic “Christmas postal service”, children cover and develop a broad range of Literacy, Mathematical, Geographical, Art and IT skills. The ‘So What?’ for this topic is that they are challenged to organise a postal service for the schools Christmas card collection. Children design and print stamps to sell, write instructions as to how to address envelopes, plan routes around the school, make rotas for the collections and record daily the volume of post.
Following input from Lane Clark, we participated in a project funded by the DFE to create new learning spaces for our children and, over the past five years, all of the Key Stage 2 classrooms and our Nursery have been re-designed.
The new spaces for learning mean that children can choose where they can do their work to suit their learning style, they can work more independently but at the same time our children have more targeted small group teacher time. Not only is our children’s learning motivated by a purpose but they are developing the universal life skills of independence, critical thinking and taking responsibility for themselves and their learning jobs.