Our intent is to provide our children with a curriculum which develops them as 21st century learners and citizens and prepares them for the next stage of their learning. We believe that our approach supports all learners, no matter their starting point, through holding high aspirations of their achievement. 21st Century learners will not only need knowledge, but also skills. Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum for coverage and we have extended our offer past this, through our entrepreneurial curriculum and Big Outcomes which develop children’s 6Cs and cultural capital.
At Greenacres, we have a thematic curriculum which is core concepts focused, spiralised and contextualised, and embodies what we know about cognition and memory. Children learn thematically, which supports them in interweaving knowledge and skills through and across subjects, creating webs of knowledge and deepening learning. Learning is showcased in our learning environment and through our Big Outcomes.
The Thematic curriculum enables links between 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 thematic approach leads to ‘sticky’ knowledge. The theme supports 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 thematic approach allows for greater coverage. It gives a purpose to reading and writing which allows the transference and elaboration of knowledge. Standards in writing are better because of this. It makes learning memorable. Our class reads, and reads used in guided reading, are carefully chosen to support the theme.
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.