St John's Whole School Curriculum
Our curriculum is values-based and language rich in response to the changing community we serve.
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 which aim to make learning irresistible to children and provide for each child a holistic approach that nurtures the whole child. These elements are:
- Learning 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 Powers’ which help children know what effective learning looks like:
Attached to all of these 'powers' are the ‘learning muscles’ which are the specific skills that underpin these powers. Collaboration, for instance, involves the learning muscles of listening, empathising, sharing ideas, explaining ideas, deciding together. All these abilities allow the children to learn effectively so that they can make more rapid progress and be more active in their own learning. 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 Mindset – This area of the curriculum is based on Carol Dweck’s research which highlights the power of having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. 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 provide. We have a two-year rolling programme of twenty-two monthly Value Words which form the basis of our assemblies and worship and also contribute to a number of values-based projects the children experience. These include values such as Respect, Love, Honest and Perseverance. They are the big ideas which guide our decisions and provide a moral compass so that we can lead effective lives. 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.
- Programme of Cultural Entitlement – 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. These experiences are pre-planned and enhance our Irresistible Curriculum
- Roots of Empathy program – This is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of anxiety and difficult behaviours among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. The children learn about the development necessary for a baby to thrive through weekly lessons. A real baby visits the children with their parent and the baby is sung to by the children and baby and child connect in intimate and meaningful ways. This rich experience has a marked experience on children’s ability to empathise and moderate their own responses. The children also focus on the development of the brain and what happens in our brains when we are stressed. The children experience this programme in Year 3 and then again at a deeper level in Year 5.
- Maths and Writing Target Ladders
The children are given their maths and writing targets for the whole year and they track the achievement of these targets as the year progresses. The targets are pasted into the back of the child’s learning and maths books. Both child and teacher are able to identify the gaps that they need to focus on. This approach ensures that the child is fully involved in their own assessment for learning.
- 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 knowledgeable in the learning process and to articulate their unique successes, challenges and next steps. As a school, we use an assessment system to track and monitor progress In Writing and Maths and the children are confident in identifying their current targets and next steps.
For more information about our school's curriculum, please see the overview above or email: firstname.lastname@example.org