“The child has a hundred languages”
We take inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach – children have a multitude of ways to represent their thoughts and feelings, ideas and imaginations.
When we communicate clearly we make sense of our thoughts and articulate them to others. We encounter other worlds and explore our own heritage. We share aspects of ourselves and build relationships with the people around us.
- Listening and speaking are strengthened and enhanced through a rich interaction with others. Our collaborative approach provides meaningful encounters with a wide range of people for a variety of purposes. Immersed in a culture that values effective communication children learn the art of attentive, conscious listening. They ask questions, express their ideas and construct their own point of view.
- Reading: Children learn to read by reading! We have a quiet reading slot each day to encourage the habit. Immersed in a world of language and story from their first days at school, we capture the natural curiosity of the child. A love of books quickly follows. Children are taught the skill of decoding and encoding of words, but the focus is on constructing meaning and fostering inquiry. Emergent readers proudly discuss their favourite books with younger children. Older children share their thoughts with their peers through weekly Book Clubs. Reading unlocks the rest of the curriculum, as children learn to sift, interpret and synthesise information.
- Writing: ‘Mark making’ is encouraged from the start and all children are encouraged to view themselves as authors. Authentic, relevant opportunities to write – lists, information sheets, story books, letters – arise from the interests and needs of each child. Writing is used to convey thoughts and organise information – when children have something important to communicate the quality of writing is enhanced. As enthusiasm grows we teach the conventions and techniques – grammar, spelling, punctuation, voice and plot. Work is refined and skills developed through regular Writing Workshops with teachers and peers.
Children acquire mathematical understanding through authentic personal experiences so we teach maths through relevant, realistic contexts.
Children have regular opportunities to explore, manipulate and play with numbers and concepts through discrete games and activities, developing enthusiasm for its scope and possibilities.
During project time, children apply and practise their mathematical understanding through extended practical inquiry. They develop an understanding of maths as a tool for analysing the world, solving problems and communicating solutions.
The creative arts
The rich diversity of children’s voices can be fully appreciated through the arts. Children explore a range of creative “languages” or media for self-expression during project work, but also explore art for art’s sake.
Each class has access to a dedicated art workshop. Work-in-progress is displayed alongside finished pieces and children are encouraged to experiment – even if that means making a mess. The emphasis is on exploration and discovery and we celebrate the artist within us all.
We work regularly with local artists – including actors, theatre directors and choreographers – to co-create interpretative pieces and theatrical performances of a high calibre.
Many children play a musical instrument. We hold regular informal concerts where children can share their progress – whether that be a few chords on the guitar or a polished violin concerto – to an enthusiastic audience of parents and friends. Lessons are available for piano and violin.
When a parent suggested that this classic David Bowie track was perfect for us, the whole school got behind the idea. All instruments were played by children with the exception of bass which was by Herbie Flowers – who played on the original track! Parents volunteered countless hours to edit it together.