Parkside Concept Curriculum – An Adventure
Parkside Curriculum Intent
At Parkside we are dedicated to offer a broad and ambitious curriculum which ensures that all children have knowledge, skills and conceptual understanding. This three-dimensional approach enables children to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. We passionately aim to provide all children, particularly disadvantaged and those with SEND, with a breadth of opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. This is done with a sound progression of knowledge and skills which are age appropriate and at the heart of this is a true passion for reading and developing vocabulary.
We have identified ‘Key concepts’ within each subject. These are ‘big ideas’ that children will keep returning to throughout their journey through Parkside. Each Key Concept acts as a ‘collecting basket’ for children to attach new knowledge to aid memory and strengthen thinking pathways.
History – chronology to run throughout, Legacy (where appropriate) and interpretation and enquiry
Continuity and change
Similarities and differences
Cause and consequence
Geography – maps skills, compass work and fieldwork (including perspective) to sit separately from concepts
Art and Design
design, make, evaluate
practical cooking skills
Healthy & varied diet
Food from around the world
data representation E-safety to run throughout the curriculum
Identity and diversity
performance, composing, improvisation and instrument progression to sit separately from concepts
Listening and appraising
Adaptation and variation
Earth and Space
PE – fitness, strength, health and personal development to run throughout
Water Confidence and safety
Connecting concepts are ‘big ideas’ that allow children to make connections between subjects. Connecting Concepts, such as leadership, allow children the opportunity to discuss, evaluate and consolidate conceptual ideas whilst drawing on examples from different subjects. A ‘philosophy for children’ approach would be used to facilitate this conceptual understanding. More information on a P4C approach can be found here: https://www.sapere.org.uk. Questions, such as: are religious leaders more powerful than political leaders or which is more powerful- people or nature?, help children to draw on the knowledge that they have gained, bringing it back from their long term memory and into their working memory as they evaluate their ideas through discussion.
Where content is too broad, then a lens is used to organise and prioritise information allowing teachers to create a pathway for a child’s thinking. The conceptual lens uses an idea or concept to bring about focus and depth to a learning adventure and to individual subjects ensuring that knowledge what, factual information and knowledge how, depth of knowledge, is both relevant and progressive.
We believe children are motivated when they are enjoying the learning adventure and the delivery of new knowledge, where there is a purpose and emotional connections are made. The school has days, which immerse the children in the learning adventure and provide opportunities to find out what the children know. The learning comes to life in the classroom, in the outdoor environment and is evidenced within the Parkside Adventure and the Weaving Magic Books.
At Parkside we use Rosenshine’s principles as a basis to form our teaching and learning policy. The magic of Rosenshine’s principles is that they are applicable to all teachers of all subjects. They focus on skills that teachers need to be successful in the classroom. Rosenshine encapsulates how to effectively teach in a very clever nutshell.
What makes it so good?
Like all good pedagogical theory, Rosenshine’s principles are underpinned by classroom practice. Rosenshine makes direct links between research, theory and application: each of the 10 principles is presented in two parts, firstly looking at the research findings, and then how these can be used in the classroom. The success of the 17 Principles of Instruction comes from its overwhelming simplicity and logic. Straightforward, research-based teaching that actually works in the classroom.
There are 10 principles
Maths, reading, phonics and writing are taught in the morning and science and foundation subjects are taught in the afternoon of the school day. Subjects are blocked each term and are taught discretely but with a deliberate placement of humanities subjects (history, geography and RE), STEM (Science and technology) and expressive arts (music and art) being delivered back to back. At the end of each sequence of subjects a ‘multi discipline connection day’ is planned to facilitate revision opportunities and multi discipline conceptual understanding. The delivery of a debatable question through a P4C approach allows children the opportunity to consolidate knowledge and further develop conceptual understanding.
Foundation subjects are assessed termly and annually. The content of termly quizzes allows staff to evaluate the acquisition of knowledge and skills for that term, and gives them opportunity to adapt teaching and learning. End of year quizzes allows staff the opportunity to evaluate the acquisition of knowledge and skills gained over a longer period of time thus giving staff the opportunity to evaluate the pedagogy of teaching and learning throughout the year.
The enhanced curriculum
As part of our curriculum we are always looking for ways to further engage children and enhance their opportunities. We want every child to have the chance to access enriching experiences, through a variety of ways. We plan for our lessons and extra-curricular activities to be broad and enriching.
Below are a number of enrichment activities that always form part of our curriculum and so are compulsory:
Everybody Writes Day/Creativity: these days happen once every term, whereby the whole school engages in a themed approach to writing. This was done primarily to make writing enjoyable and exciting. However, they have become an established method of how Parkside enhance the writing process with real-life experiences encouraging children to be successful writers.
Royal Shakespeare Company: Parkside is establishing links with a Shakespeare Associate School. As part of the project Trust staff have been involved in a research project which looked at the highly positive impact of the RSC involvement on children's language, reading, communication and writing. The work of William Shakespeare is reflected in our curriculum, as a different play is studied each year across the entire school. It is yet another example of how a partnership can further develop communities of outstanding practice and impact on the lives of all children. All of our children at Parkside will visit a theatre and watch a play in their life time with us. Parkside will study Shakespeare as part of the curriculum in the Summer Term.
Curriculum Enrichment: as part of our curriculum topics relevant trips are organised or special visitors are invited into the school. These wider experiences help to enrich our children's lives and challenge them to aspire to be people who leave a mark on the world. We expect that all of our children at some point in their school life are involved in a community project, whether it is helping to litter pick in the community, singing and performing for local groups and care homes, visiting the elderly members of the community.
The ethos of the Forest School concept which is based on respect and a right that children have to the outdoors and the natural world is fundamental to our school. Forest School practice allows children and staff to step out of the shadow and limitation of 'planned activities' and venture into the realms of the unplanned, unexpected and unlimited. This provides children with the opportunity to direct their own learning further supports our desire as a school to build resilience, risk and opportunities to problem solve. Forest School is timetabled every week.
We value strong partnerships with parents and carers. There are many opportunities for families to learn about school life and learning throughout the year. We hold open door learning sessions once a week where families learn about how their children are taught “Stay and Solve” are extremely popular events where parents take part in learning and visit classrooms to see lessons being taught for themselves! Other activities include Phonics Workshops in Foundation Stage and KS1,
Drama and Music
All of our children perform in numerous ways across Parkside either in end of year whole school productions or part of an extra-curricular club. We think this is important as it helps to build confidence and self-belief.
PE Enrichment and Outdoor Education
PE is yet another area where as a school we want to enhance the experiences that our children receive. Therefore, all of our children, as part of their PE programme, experience a wide number of sporting activities. This is in addition to a range of usual sporting activities. Residential visits to Outdoor Education Centres are also an important element of whole school enrichment, these take place throughout our schools staying from a few nights to a week. This ensures that our children become confident and independent, ready to face any challenge that they are faced with.
Enrichment, extra-curricular opportunities
The majority of our children took part in at least one extra-curricular activity. We aim to provide a range of clubs which suit the needs of our individual children ranging from debating club to dancing. Clubs and activities take place at lunchtime and after school. These are well attended and offer all children a wonderful opportunity to develop interests and skills. The schools use a range of external providers that bring expertise and specialism to our extra- curricular activities. Teachers and support staff also lead clubs each term which allows schools to offer a range of clubs throughout the week. These clubs are free to all children across the school. In addition, the school runs highly successful Homework and Booster Clubs, running both at lunchtime and before school.
Knowing the facts is just not enough. We want our children to develop intellectually, solve problems creatively and manage complex challenges. A concept-based curriculum captures the innate curiosity of the child and allows them to make connections, developing structures in the brain for sorting and organising.
At Parkside Primary School we believe in a broad and balanced curriculum where all subjects are valued equally and children’s individuality and creativity is encouraged. Curiosity, collaboration and high expectations will equip our children with the knowledge and skills required for adult life. This is achieved through the application of knowledge and skills which are reinforced through practice, consolidation and challenge. Conceptual understanding is developed over time as children build schemas of learning and use concepts to attach their knowledge. Conceptual challenge is achieved through discussion and curiosity as children begin to think ‘outside the box’. Emotional connections are made for our pupils and they truly believe that dragons roam our field that Willy Wonka visits the school and they suspend the disbelief on a daily basis.
The impact of the curriculum is also seen within the high data outcomes in reading, writing, spelling and punctuation and maths. It is also shown in the acquisition on knowledge and the progression of skills. The children and parents’ reviews show that they see learning as a high priority and enjoy the knowledge gained through the topics.
Our curriculum, creative, innovative and challenging children are expected to make substantial progress through our personal and unique curriculum. Are you ready for an adventure like no other...Come as you are and leave as a Champion!