At Greenacres, we have a deliberately designed interconnected curriculum which is core concepts focused, spiralised and contextualised and embodies what we know about cognition and memory. We have adopted this curriculum for the following reasons:
- Enables links between some subjects creating a web of knowledge so that children can make sense of their learning. This supports interweaving between subjects and elaboration. Elaboration aids memory and retrieval. Children may freely recall one aspect of knowledge that they can elaborate upon to trigger other aspects of learning. This is also known as chunking. One piece of knowledge which is recalled may lead to others.
- The curriculum is designed to deepen knowledge over the seven years they are at Greenacres. Concept teaching begins in the Foundation Stage and is built upon each year. Knowledge and skills are deliberately taught and practised in younger year groups to support learning in later ones. All learning is progressive and knowledge recall is threaded through the curriculum.
- Core concepts, which transcend the National Curriculum, have been identified across the curriculum. These concepts, such as interconnection and diversity, are ideas which we, as a school, feel are relevant to us.
- Other concepts are subject specific and thread through year groups to ensure embedment. They enable deeper understanding and long-term recall.
- The interconnected approach supports ‘sticky’ knowledge. The half-termly study creates a layer of knowledge which engages the child through guided discovery – and will be remembered. The more knowledge we have, the more we can make sense of and are open to. This is due to a growing web of knowledge which helps us make sense of the world around us through making logical links and critical thinking.
- The interconnected approach allows for greater coverage. It gives a purpose to writing and allows the transference and elaboration of knowledge. Standards in writing are better because of this. It makes learning memorable.
- Interconnected learning lends itself to dual coding.
- Our interwoven knowledge teaching approach supports self-regulation and ownership of learning. It embraces the 6Cs, Deep Learning: Engage the World Change the World, (2018) Fullan, M., Quinn, J., McEachen J.)
- Knowledge is explicitly taught and embedded through retrieval and deliberate practice. We plan opportunities for children to recall.
- Knowledge can be recalled through the practise of other skills – including functional and life skills without diluting the core concept being taught.
- Knowledge can be unpicked by children through guided discovery and learned through interleaving and spaced practice ensuring they are understood and can be recalled.
Examples of Knowledge Expectations at Greenacres:
- Knowledge is recalled within and across year groups.
- Core concepts are returned to within and across the years to build on prior learning, transfer skills and knowledge and apply them to deepen learning, support elaboration, free and cued recall.
- Spiralisation supports an extended web of learning ensuring children make greater sense of their learning – making links over longer periods of time. This is spaced learning.
- Spiralisation over time means learners go from the concrete, to the pictorial, to the abstract supporting deep learning.
- This helps learners relate their experiences and prior knowledge to make connections within their learning and develop a web of knowledge.
- It gives learners a sense of belonging, a greater sense of time and place and a sense of self in the bigger picture. This supports citizenship.
- It supports educational visits capitalising on cultural capital.
At Greenacres our curriculum leads children to Big Outcomes. Big Outcomes are an opportunity for children to showcase their learning with parents and other groups. These outcomes demonstrate the deep learning from across theme’s and develop the children’s skills. Skills are developed in line with Michael Fullan’s 6Cs; Character, Citizenship, Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Creativity. Our Big Outcomes are a significant part of our entrepreneurial curriculum and give our children opportunities and learning beyond the National Curriculum.
Our evidence base for our wider curriculum is: ‘Maritime Curriculum Intent.’ This underpinning Maritime document specifically references: ‘Understanding How We Learn,’ by Caviglioli O. Weinstein Y. and Sumeracki M.; ‘‘Metacognition and self-regulated learning,’ (The Education Endowment Trust, updated, 2019) and ‘Guiding Principles for Learning in the Twenty First Century’, (International Bureau of Education, 2014). All learning is underpinned by known specific cognition strategies which support recall, retrieval and elaboration (highlighted in bold). These are specifically designed to support webs of knowledge which span subjects and years and support learners to make sense of their learning.