St John’s Holistic Curriculum
At St John’s we are unique in our approach to children’s learning; not only does our curriculum encompass the statutory National Curriculum, but also other vital elements of learning:
- Learning to Learn Powers and learning muscles – At St John’s we know that children learn best when they are aware of the learning process. Across the school we use ‘Learning to Learn’ powers which help children to highlight the areas which encapsulate how our best learning takes place:
- Problem Solving
Attached to all of these ‘powers’ are the learning muscles which allow the children to learn the skills which help them make rapid progress and allow them to be aware of what they need to do to learn in a way which will help them now and in the future. Each class has a display which is referred to regularly and as a staff, we talk with the children about their learning in these terms. The children also discuss their future learning and next steps in accordance with these powers and muscles.
- Growth mind-set – This area of the curriculum is based on Carol Dweck’s research which highlights the power of having a growth mind-set rather than a fixed mind-set. There is no such thing as fixed intelligence and the children learn that we do not say: ‘I can’t do that!’ but rather, ‘I can’t do that yet!’
- Values Education – In 2015, we were awarded the Values’ Education kite mark for the values curriculum and ethos that we embody. We have a rolling programme over two years of monthly Value Words which form the basis of our assemblies and worship. We encourage the children (and ourselves as staff members) to talk about them, reflect on them, embody them and live them out in every area of our lives. The children are encouraged to use them at home and we include the parents in our values education too, teaching and speaking about the values with the families of our school.
- Trips linked to topics – Every child is entitled to a rich learning experience which is enhanced by termly trips which allow children to be immersed in the topic and visit a site of cultural importance. We feel privileged to be a London school and we make the most of the city’s rich culture, heritage and resources.
- Roots of Empathy program – Is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of anxiety and challenging behaviour among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. It is based on the development of a baby and the children have weekly sessions, some of which are with a guest mother and young baby who visit throughout the course. We ran this for the first time in the academic year 2014-2015 in Years 3 and 5. The children in these classes benefitted highly from the program and it will be run again this academic year for the new Years 3 and 5.
- Expeditionary Learning – The curriculum at St John’s is designed to allow all children to have access to a full, exciting learning experience. Each year group has an ‘Irresistible Curriculum’ which is topic based and changes every half-term. The children are learning in an Expeditionary Learning style which allows them to own and direct their own learning. The learning journey moves begins with an engaging initial experience, access to an expert, independent research or fieldwork and ends with the production of a quality end product.
- Links to local community – including St Christopher’s Hospice – Interwoven into the initial curriculum is a thorough programme of alternative learning experiences such as links with: a local hospice, a local special school, a sailing centre etc.
The children at St John Baptist are learning to be highly skillful and knowledgeable in the learning process and to articulate their unique successes, challenges and next steps. As a school we use a thorough assessment system to track and monitor progress and all of the children are confident in identifying their current targets and next steps.
Please enjoy some photos of our recent ‘Challenge Day’ where children from all key stages participated in creating and designing a campaign for their own political party.
The purpose of Religious Education is the development of pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principal religions and traditions. Such knowledge aims to offer answers to a variety of everyday questions, such as beliefs about God and issues of right and wrong, and ultimately the very meaning and purpose of life.
At St John’s we have an inclusive mission of celebrating and respecting the diversity of cultures and beliefs in society whilst maintaining our distinctiveness as a Christian school. We offer an RE curriculum providing pupils with opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. We seek to enhance pupils’ awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings and practices. Our pupils learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions while exploring their own beliefs and questions of meaning. Experience of other faiths is facilitated through visits to a different place of worship, which each class experiences each year as part of our cultural entitlement programme. RE learning at St John’s has a distinct and reflective atmosphere which enables pupils to explore, evaluate and consider their personal faith.
Art, Drama, and Music are taught to inspire and expand children’s creativity with scope for imagination and capacity for independent thought.
Performing Arts encourages young people to stretch beyond their comfort zone so to develop their understanding of the world and their place within in it. Academic research is providing us with a growing evidence base about the positive role of the arts in young children’s lives. It teaches children to connect, to project and to empathise. It helps them speak and belong. This links with our values education and is the underpinning for all our learning.
We offer a range of Performing Arts at St John’s which includes Violin, Flute, Recorders , Guitar, Clarinets, Key Stage One Choir and Upper Key Stage Two Choir including Choral Speaking.
Our School also has an Art Club.
In KS1 children are taught phonics through Letters and Sounds and follow a daily guided reading scheme by Lighthouse.
All of these classes are taught by enthusiastic nurturing talented members of staff, who plan and prepare with the children to develop skills and present work to each other and the wider community.
We are very proud of our achievements and showcase our learning regularly.
At St John’s we aim to have a life-long love of the Arts and an increased sense of community, belonging and a shared endeavour.
“You cannot use up creativity. The more you use the more you have” Maya Angelou
At St John’s we have changed our assessment to reflect the National Curriculum and now use Learning Ladders in each year group which we assess each child against. Each child is able to view their progress by looking at the ladder in the back of their Learning or Maths book. You can view the ladders below. We have ladders for Maths, Writing and Reading.
If you wish to find out more about any aspects of our curriculum, please contact Mrs E Derham, via the school office.