Our Curriculum at Eskdale Junior
‘Think like a…’
At Eskdale Junior School we believe that our pupils have access to a rich, exciting, engaging and challenging curriculum that is tailored to pupil need, allowing for the best possible outcomes for all of our pupils. It is rooted in our five core values (known to the children as ‘The Big Five’ or S.T.A.R.S.)
Through our curriculum we strive to increase our pupils’ ‘Skills and Knowledge for Life’, making it meaningful for them and preparing them to be successful learners now, in the next stage of their education and into the future.
We believe that it is essential also to nurture pupil’s ability to ‘Take Care’, ‘Aim High’, ‘Respond to Challenge’ and develop ‘Self-Discipline’, as detailed in our ‘Vision and Values’ statement. Wherever possible, we identify opportunities to promote these and integrate these values as a constant thread running through all aspects of our curriculum.
We achieve this by introducing pupils to the idea of our ‘Think like a..’ approach to their learning. For every subject taught, pupils will be encouraged to Think like whichever expert is linked to that particular subject eg: for Art, Think like an Artist, for Geography, Think like a Geographer. This approach involves leading pupils through the thought processes of the ‘expert’, guiding them through the stages of learning within a subject specific process model. By delivering our curriculum in this way, pupils can begin to realise their future aspirations and ambitions to become their own ‘expert’ in the given subject areas.
For each stage taught within a subject specific process model, there is ‘process model’ vocabulary, adding to pupil’s knowledge acquisition. In addition to this, each unit of work taught has its own core knowledge that pupils gain as they learn more during the teaching of that unit of work. Pupils are taught ‘Think like a…’ skills from our progression of learning that can be tailored to pupil need and that increases in challenge as the children move through the key stage.
The schools ‘Think like a…’ skills are taught using a specific model of pedagogy (how children learn) that is focussed on pupils knowing more and remembering more as they learn; both skill and knowledge. Our (meta-cognitive) teaching model follows the following structure for each subject:
Rooted in reading, writing and a rich vocabulary, our curriculum is designed to help pupils make meaningful links between subjects taught. Learning is layered to aid memory retention and the development overtime of ‘schemas’ in long term memory. Essential knowledge and skills are chosen specifically to be both suitable and relevant for our pupils and these, alongside the wealth of experiences we provide, help to develop our pupil’s cultural capital, enabling them to articulate their understanding of what they see and learn and connect classroom learning to the world.
Creativity is a key aspect of our curriculum and pupils are provided with opportunities to express their creative thinking and individual aptitudes by producing work that allows them choice in their presentation. The school has a careful balance between rigour in the curriculum to ensure the acquisition and retention of skill and knowledge and the development of creativity to ensure the focus on learning gains is never lost.
The development of pupil’s cultural capital comes through additional opportunities that enrich both learning and focus on skills and knowledge that help to understand the world around us. These are made memorable by approaches such as: assembly, visits from high quality external providers, hosting thematic days in school and by visiting places of educational interest or residential visits.
We believe that our curriculum prepares our pupils not just for now and the next stage in their learning, but also for their future.
The links below give further information about how each of the curriculum subjects are taught at Eskdale Junior School.