Select a Year Group below to find out what our pupils learn in each cross-curricular topic.
Our Themed Learning Philosophy
We strive for our pupils to experience a very relevant curriculum in which they explore themes that are exciting, that stimulate their curiosity, capture their imagination and provide appropriate challenge. Through thematic learning many areas of the curriculum are connected together and integrated within a theme. When pupils see how facts and ideas connect with one another across subjects, we are constructing meaning for them. This allows learning to be more natural and less fragmented than the way, where a school day is time divided into different subject areas.
We believe that:
thematic units are powerful tools for building and maintaining students’ interest during learning.
as a structure for integrating content areas, learning around a theme makes sense to children. It helps them make connections, to transfer knowledge and apply it. It fosters comparison, categorizing and pattern finding – building blocks of the scientific method.
pupils learn more effectively when given opportunities to explore and enhance knowledge from all subject areas, rather than focusing on a specific subject.
developing projects that engage pupils' imaginations and allowing them to research independently has an impact on deeper learning and understanding.
learning that is experiential is memorable (and usually fun!)
when pupils communicate their learning, it is further reinforced.
through this approach, pupils will develop learning skills more quickly, as each one is connected to and reinforced by others.
pupils will become more confident and better motivated.
this approach creates an environment where pupils acquire a taste for lifelong learning - as they become more involved in how and what they study, children also become more interested in learning.
parents more easily become partners in learning around a theme.
One of our central aims is to enable children to have a deeper understanding of how historical, social, cultural, scientific and environmental factors have shaped the world they live in today. In other words to give them an understanding of how past events, beliefs, values and attitudes have influenced how we have arrived to our present position in the 21st century and how we may move forward in the future. Another of our aims is to give children the skills to be confident, successful, independent learners so that they will be equipped for secondary school and life after school.
Our thematic planning involves integrating curriculum areas around topics or themes and seeks to view teaching and learning in an interactive and holistic way that reflects the real world. Thematic planning is aimed at helping students in contextualising what they learn and applying it in real life situations. It also provides an avenue for integration of content area in a realistic manner that helps children in applying the knowledge they acquire significantly in their daily lives.
The research behind our approach:
Brain research challenges the belief that learning, and therefore teaching, can be separated into traditional domains - learning cannot actually be separated anatomically or perceptually.
Research by Piaget (1969), Vygotsky (1962), and Bruner (1960) supports an integrated approach to teaching and learning. This research concludes that learning is a highly integrated process which cannot be easily separated into domains or traditional academic disciplines, such as math, science, and language. Children learn by active engagement with their environment and through social engagement with other human beings. “Multiple complex and concrete experiences are essential for meaningful learning and teaching” (Caine & Caine, 1991, p. 5).
Brain research and the psychology of learning support the idea that learning is an integrated process, a process focused on constructing meaning, and a process largely dependent on the ability to communicate. Because of this, teachers have sought ways to facilitate learning based on these principles. One result is the creation and development of integrated thematic or topical units.
Katz (1988, p. 45) reminds us that “the data (Consortium on Longitudinal Studies, 1983) on children’s learning suggest that what is required in school is an intellectually oriented approach in which children interact in small groups as they work together on a variety of projects that help them make sense of their own experience” (p. 45). Topical units are ideal for integrating learning across the curricular areas, creating an environment and climate that facilitate children’s search for meaning, and supporting language development.
Gardner’s (1983/93) theory of multiple intelligences states that in addition to the traditional verbal/linguistic and logical/ mathematical intelligences, five other types of intelligence exist. These include musical, visual/spatial, body/kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences. In order to facilitate learning, teachers should provide a variety of learning activities which encompass all of the intelligences.