Anstey First School Curriculum
The learning community of Anstey First School has a shared vision that every child deserves to be successful and become the best that they can be. We challenge and develop our children to achieve their best by nurturing creativity, resilience and self-reflection. We encourage a strong community spirit, where we show consideration and respect for each other; tolerance and understanding of differences, and uphold kind, well-mannered behaviour. We strive to help our children develop into responsible and culturally-aware citizens equipped to meet the challenges of a modern Britain. We want our children to become independent lifelong learners and to leave a positive mark on their world.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” - Nelson Mandela
The Intent of our curriculum;
We are excited and enthused to be developing an ambitious child-centred curriculum which is rich in oracy, key knowledge and skills, creativity and real life experiences based on what we know about our children and their life experiences. We are determined to provide the best possible education, opportunities and environment for all who are part of our school. We aim to ensure that all children are given equal opportunities and equal access to every aspect of the curriculum and all activities at school, no matter what their starting point. Our curriculum uses the National Curriculum as a starting point and is accentuated by The Essentials (Chris Quigley Curriculum) and The Montessori Great Lessons. These approaches aim to enhance and develop our pupils cultural capital. Our curriculum aims to cover the full range of objectives outlined in the National Curriculum through a cross-curricular approach, giving it relevance and to help make the learning stick.
To support the National Curriculum at Anstey we use the Montessori Great Lessons to provide a stimulus for some of our termly themes where applicable. The Montessori Great Lessons and are introduced through a historical dramatisation demonstration by our resident Montessori Trained Teachers. (see in our video below). Our aim is to create an exciting, interesting set of activities that are underpinned by the knowledge, skills and understanding relevant for each year group.
Everyone at Anstey First School is encouraged to improve through our curriculum, understand others, not to give up, try new things, work hard, concentrate, excel in many subject areas, to experience real life contexts and embed these in memorable learning journeys, and to enjoy school life, to enjoy the subjects in which they participate, to develop a thirst, a love and a need to develop their own knowledge and thus become model British citizens of the world with a clear, reflective moral compass and independent skills to apply in the wider world.
Our curriculum will promote and foster confidence, independence, co-operation and self-esteem throughout the time the children are at Anstey First School that will prepare them for life in 21st Century Britain. We want all of our children at Anstey First School to leave with a range of experiences, the self-belief to excel and to understand the feeling of enjoyment.
See below; an example of how we would use Montessori style lessons and resources in our school for Science
From our lesson demonstration the children are then asked what questions they may have. These questions are then used to help fine tune future lessons to help them answer their questions.
FIRST GREAT LESSON - THE UNIVERSE AND THE EARTH
The First Great Lesson is the most memorable and tells the story of the beginning of the universe. This lesson includes some demonstrations using solids and liquids to show how the continents and oceans first came together.
This lesson leads to the study of:
Astronomy: solar system, stars, galaxies, comets, constellations.
Meteorology: wind, currents, weather, fronts, erosion, water cycle, clouds, glaciers.
Chemistry: states of matter, changes, mixtures, reactions, elements, atoms, periodic table, compounds, molecules, chemical formulas, equations, lab work, experimentation.
Physics: magnetism, electricity, gravity, energy, light, sound, heat, friction, motion, experimentation.
Geology: types of rocks, minerals, land forms, volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics, ice ages, eras of the earth
Geography: maps, globes, latitude/longitude, climates, land/water form names, continent and country research.
Why we use aspects of Montessori in our school and especially within our EYFS
"A central idea of Montessori education is that children have within them the power they need to develop themselves. Following from this is the understanding that it is through the child's interaction with his environment that this self-construction takes place. It is the child that needs to be active in his dynamic experience with the world around him. The task we set ourselves is to provide children with an environment carefully prepared to meet their particular developmental needs and, through careful observation, to connect them with that environment, so that they can build themselves through their own activity.
The parallels between the Montessori approach and some of the main themes of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are clear. The EYFS theme of 'A Unique Child' is based on the principle that 'Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured'. Similarly the EYFS makes the provision of 'Enabling Environments' one of four priorities. The emphasis placed on 'active learning' and 'learning through experience' within the theme of 'Learning and Development' is again very much in line with Montessori practice.
There are many sections of the EYFS that emphasize the importance of the child's own decision making, both in what they do and how they do it. Other parts of the EYFS emphasize that children are innately 'primed' to learn from the human and physical environments around them. This is a radical departure from traditional educational practice, which in general follows a curriculum decided by the adult, that determines what the children should do and learn. In the Montessori approach decision-making for the child's day-to-day activities shifts away from the adult, to the child.
Montessori environments take these principles to their natural conclusion. The child enters an environment, which both in its contents and functioning is designed to meet the particular physical, mental and spiritual needs of children aged between 2 ½ to 6 years. Within this space there are very few limits to the child's freedom and decision-making. A child is shown a variety of activities, is free to choose what to do, and for how long. Through detailed observations of his choice and use of activities, further individual lessons are offered, giving him an increasing range of materials to explore. Children are free to use an activity until they decide to put it away. They are free to choose when to be active, when to rest and watch, when to look at a book, to go outside, to have a drink or prepare some fruit. When a child is choosing freely within an environment carefully prepared to support his independence, it is relatively easy to observe his real interests unfolding – those that are driven by developmental urges - and to support and follow these." ~Montessori Society AMI (UK)