Curriculum Overview

/Curriculum Overview
Curriculum Overview 2018-01-29T10:36:16+00:00

Subjects in the Foundation curriculum

History

In History, children are encouraged to learn about the past and how it relates to us today. Each topic they study gives the children the opportunity to investigate, ask questions, think critically and discuss findings collaboratively. As our children discover about Britain’s history, they also discover the impact that it has on the wider world. This helps our children to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and the relationships between groups. It therefor create an understanding how their own identity and the challenges of their time.

Geography

Geography-based topics stimulate children’s curiosity about the world and its people. The topics equip them with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and both the natural and human environments. As children progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps deepen their understanding of the physical and human environment. They learn too about environmental processes and humans impact on the world.

Art and Design

The Art and Design curriculum allows children to discover their creativity through art, craft and design. Children are engaged through concrete artefacts, resources and imagery that represents the artists or designer they are learning about. We teach our children to express themselves in a variety of styles of art, using many different mediums and focus points. Free style art forms are encouraged to show their individual curiosity and creativity.

The children are encouraged to look at how their surrounding area inspires art her colour, shape and form and texture. Visiting museums and art exhibitions as well as taking part in workshops in school, we encourage our children to create art work in the style of the artists or designer they have learnt about. Our children discover many ways of showing off their talents and we display their work so that the whole school and visitors can admire their creativity.

As a whole school, we take part in local as well as national art projects, the most recent being the Royal Mail Christmas stamp designs for 2017.

Design and Technology

Design and Technology gives children the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of designing and making functional products. They learn to design, plan, make and evaluate a project. We value the importance of nurturing creativity and innovation through design. By exploring design our children learn about the wider world we live in and can offer opinions on design features. As they learn how the design process develops, they can evaluate and suggest improvements.

Music

Music is taught by class teachers incorporating a variety of musical instruments. In addition, they use online resources to explore music from around the world, by various artists and from a variety of genres. They also have opportunities to compose and perform their own music. Weekly whole class instrumental tuition is currently on offer to Year 4 children as well as a group of Year 5 Continuers. The children proudly show of their talents and progress with a termly music assembly.

St Mary’s has school choirs on both sites that regularly take part in community events such as the Crouch End Festival, Hornsey Music Festival, Carols in Priory Park, events at Bernie Grant centre as well as events in school such as the Christmas and Summer Fairs. During school clergy assemblies we have the Credo choir that leads the singing for the whole school.

All children have opportunities to take part in the Steel Pans and African Drumming workshops during October as we celebrate Black History Month.

Modern Foreign Languages

Modern Foreign Languages –The French curriculum allows all our children to experience more than just another language. They learn about French music, arts, food and culture throughout their learning journey in the French classroom. As the children progress, they get to practice their spoken language during fun activities such as the French Café.

In Year 5, the children have the opportunity to converse and correspond with their pen friends in La Villette Primary school in Paris through letters, cards, voice messages and finally meeting them in Paris and returning the courtesy by hosting the French children at St Mary’s for a day.

See the French section on the website for more information.

In Year 5 we offer The Classics Club Junior as part of enrichment in the curriculum. The aim of the course is to facilitate the introduction of Latin and Classical culture to the primary state-sector to pupils of all abilities and to support the aims of the KS2 National Curriculum in MFL and English, especially in supporting the learning of grammar and syntax, and in the extension and enrichment of English.
Each lesson is structured to incorporate learning of both the Latin language and Classical culture, and the cultural segment usually has an associated hands‐on activity to bring the learning to life.

The exciting opportunity to learn Mandarin in St Mary’s was offered by the British Council. We are now hosting an amazingly talented May Chen from China, who teaches Mandarin in Years 5 and 6. The children learn about the Chinese culture and the languages spoken. The main focus is to understand how words are formed and the visual representation of each sound. The children enjoy these lessons immensely and they are applying what they learn in conversations with each other.

Mae Chen also offers an afterschool Chinese Calligraphy course to complement her teaching.

Computing Curriculum

The Computing Curriculum -At St Mary’s we aim to use technological devices throughout our curriculum to enhance and develop children’s understanding and skills in a variety of subjects. The new National Curriculum has moved away from the term ICT and is now focused on Computing which involves learning and understanding how computers and computer systems works, as well as how they are designed and programmed. It involves three aspects: Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy.

In response to these changes, we have created our own scheme of work which allows children to build on their skills as they progress through the school and covers a range skills and topics. Our Computing curriculum is practical and engaging. It allows children to develop their skills which will enable them to become more than consumers and move into becoming resourceful creators and inventors. They will develop their computational thinking skills to code and programme their own games, websites, apps and also develop their word processing, editing, data handling, typing skills and internet safety knowledge.

As well as offering a diverse and immersive Computing curriculum, we also offer an array of extra-curricular activities for our children to engage in:

  • Digital Leaders: a group of children who are at the heart of online safety within their school community and follow the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme where they explore important e-safety issues.
  • Code Clubs (Years 3-6): an after-school club which offers a variety of programming languages and activities to enthral and enthuse young coders.
  • Codeweek EU Event: a week which is celebrated throughout Europe and beyond which encourages everyone to give coding a try.
  • St Mary’s Codeweek:an in-school event which encourages children and parents to engage in a variety of workshops – such as Ohbot, Code Breaking, Cubetto, Microbit – and hone their coding skills.
  • Emirates Computing Celebration: an event which celebrates computing from local schools and showcases a variety of school projects and new technologies.
  • Safer Internet Day: an internet safety global celebration day which takes place in February each year.
  • Hackathons: collaborative computer programming events which are attended by our Code Club children.

Philosophy

Philosophy for Children (P4C) – Throughout the school we have started to do weekly sessions in class. The sessions start off with an interesting stimulus around an idea or concept that the teacher wants to address. This then leads to an enquiry based approach to open up children’s learning through the exploration of ideas. It gives children the possibility of seeing that their ideas have value, and that others have different ideas that have value too. They realise that they don’t always have to be right.

Everyone should have the confidence to ask questions and learn through discussion. Time to develop this confidence is built into each session. All children (including teachers) have opportunities to genuinely enquire. A chance to speak and be heard without fear of getting an answer wrong is offered throughout the session. This most certainly leads to the growth of intelligence as well giving all children value.

P4C Outcomes for children

  • To learn to think before they speak
  • To give reasons for what they say
  • To value their views and the views of others
  • To learn respect and negotiation
  • Not taking things personally
  • To learn not to be fearful

P4C has an impact on other areas of the curriculum. It offers plenty of ideas for creative writing as well as improving listening and reasoning skills. It creates an enquiring classroom in all areas of the curriculum. Another major impact we are seeing is that it affects interpersonal skills and thus behaviour in the playground. Our children are becoming independent young people.

Religious Education

Religious Education at St Mary’s has a unique position in the curriculum. It is a means for helping children explore the spiritual dimensions of life and to lay the foundations for understanding of the Christian Faith. It is an integral part of school life and is developed throughout the curriculum. It is generic to the ethos of the school.

We maintain strong links with Hornsey Parish Church and the local community. We welcome the contribution that visitors who lead Daily Worship make towards enriching religious education in our school.

The challenges that children will meet growing up in a multi-cultural, multi-faith society will be addressed through planned units of work. These are organised in accordance with Diocesan recommendations and will enable children to develop their knowledge, understanding and respect for the traditions and culture of the other major world faiths.

The teaching of Religious Education in a Primary School must take into account the age and understanding of the child and whenever possible be closely related to their first hand experiences. To that end, we particularly welcome and encourage both visits to different religious buildings and visitors from different faiths into the classroom.

The main strands followed are:

  • Christian Teaching:
    Teaching directly related to Christianity. e.g. The Life of Jesus; Bible Study; the Church and other places of worship; Christian Celebrations etc.

  • Christian Community:
    Christian living; Caring and helping others; Relationships: in school/with Church/Home and Community, Caring and responsibility for the environment, Community action projects.

  • Thematic:
    Cross-curricula approaches developing an understanding that R.E. is not an isolated subject but is related to other areas of the curriculum.

  • Prayer and Worship
    Worship music is often used in RE lessons to create the atmosphere of awe and wonder that is a key part of RE lessons enabling pupils to share in a sense of wonder, thankfulness and praise for the world and everything in it.

    Prayer is often used in RE lessons as a plenary to encourage pupils to apply learning from the lesson to everyday life. Children compose their own prayers; offer spontaneous prayer or learn Anglican prayers such as The Lord’s Prayer.

  • Not taking things personally
  • Other Faiths:
    Awareness and respect for the different faiths is covered through units of work designated for this purpose. Visits to other faith venues and visitors from such places take place in accordance with expectations from the current Diocesan Syllabus.