Our Curriculum Intent
At Mapledene, our curriculum is meticulously planned and constantly evolving to respond to the changes in the world outside and to the needs of our children. We recognise the importance of the required skills and knowledge set out in the National Curriculum as building blocks to provide a coherent, carefully-sequenced learning journey. However, we have enriched the curriculum further to ensure that it is bespoke to the needs of our children and their futures. We have drawn on the latest educational research, our knowledge of our local community, and our recognition of the future needs of both the workplace and the planet to develop our four curriculum drivers:
At Mapledene we believe in the fundamental importance of the children seeing themselves as part of the global community. This driver encompasses many different but inter-linked themes including: an awareness of the diversity of communities but also their similarities and shared values; their impact on the world (both positive and negative in terms of the environment); what they can do ensure sustainability and enhance the lives of others, and the role of democracy in enabling the voices of all to be heard.
This driver develops children’s skills so that they can use their imagination to find innovative solutions to problems, both big and small. It builds upon their natural curiosity to explore and make their own discoveries using both prior and new knowledge as starting points.
To develop into successful individuals, it is important that children are able to form healthy and positive relationships with both their peers and adults. This driver will help to prepare children for working with others and for developing and maintaining positive social interactions throughout their lives. Effective relationships enhance children’s self-esteem and provide them with the security needed to take risks and reach their full potential.
We are living in information-rich times and it is important that children are able to filter material to identify which information is relevant, reliable and trustworthy. Children also need to be able to select the appropriate information that is pertinent to the task, ask appropriate questions, consider different points of view, connect ideas and then make decisions and form opinions.
These drivers provide the direction and impetus for each area of study. However, before embarking on a particular learning path it is important to recognise that every child starts the journey at a different point. For this reason, all of our topics start with a learning ‘hook’ which provides the background experience/knowledge needed for children to access the new learning while also providing a strong motivating force. The hooks may be a large-scale event such as a Roman Day or a visit to a beach, or they may be a smaller scale event such as the children receiving a letter from an ‘important’ person. The hook, in isolation, may not necessarily lead to long-term learning as children may retain the event rather than new knowledge; however, it will provide background information and act as the catalyst for learning to take place over the course of the topic. Furthermore, we recognise that learning only takes place if children are able to move the new information into their long-term memory and therefore each topic and sequence of topics are carefully planned to ensure that new knowledge is revisited in a ‘spiral’ curriculum. To ensure that children see their learning as purposeful, each topic culminates in an ‘end product’ which may be a parent event such as a ‘museum’ or special assembly, or have the children acting as advisors such as explaining to a zoo what they need to do to look after their animals etc.
Our curriculum recognises the fundamental importance of Reading for both the personal and academic development of a child. Making sure that children become engaged with reading from the beginning is one of the most important ways to make a difference to their life chances, whatever their socio-economic background, and the ability to read brings other possible advantages to the individual, such as accessing information on paper or online, using social media etc (DfE, 2021). Mapledene’s curriculum provides a systematic approach to the teaching of Reading, and this begins with ensuring that they have a firm foundation of spoken language, enabling them to be more efficient in processing familiar words in real-time (Weisleder A and Fernald A.; 2013). Ultimately, we teach children that reading is an exciting activity which is intrinsically enjoyable.
As a school, we are passionate that every child should be able to achieve regardless of their individual needs, gender, religion, ethnicity or social background. Our curriculum is adapted where necessary to make it accessible to children with additional needs and it reflects our diverse community - it promotes positive images of all ethnicities. We recognise the need for our children to develop their cultural capital so that they are able to compete with their peers on a level playing field and staff are mindful of the different life-experiences that children bring to a lesson. We encourage all children and staff to have a Growth Mindset and truly believe in the potential for each individual to achieve. We are relentless in ensuring that our children are kept safe, are healthy and mentally well, and also that they develop the skills to keep themselves and others safe, healthy and mentally well. Opportunities are seized every day to instil this culture into our whole community. Our curriculum provides many opportunities to embed our school values of ‘Respect’, ‘Resilience’ and ‘Cooperation’ which are key components of our drivers and reflect our motto of ‘Belong, Believe, Be YOU: Achieve!’