Curriculum at Damson Wood
Damson Wood's Curriculum Overview
The curriculum at Damson Wood Nursery and Infant School Academy is ambitious, rich, challenging and relevant to our pupils. Our curriculum intent is designed to give all learners, whatever their individual starting point, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We aim to provide an exciting and stimulating curriculum that is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. Our mission is to motivate all our pupils and enable every learner to enjoy and achieve.
From when children arrive at Woodies Childcare or in the EYFS at Damson Wood, there is a strong focus on developing children’s early language and communication. Children’s speaking and listening skills are prioritised and we work hard to develop children’s vocabulary knowledge.
We place a large emphasis on the love of reading and reading for pleasure, as it is a skill that allows access to all areas of learning. Reading is taught through a systematic delivery of synthetic phonics using Read Write Inc. and Jolly Phonics, alongside Letters and Sounds. Phonics is started in Nursery (Phase 1) and in Reception children learn the skills of decoding words through segmenting sounds and blending. From Reception to Year 2, children take part in both guided and individual reading with their class teacher.
We ensure that our children are taught the fundamental skills of Reading, Writing, Maths and Science as well as the other National Curriculum subjects. We provide challenging and engaging activities that take account of prior learning to ensure depth and progression. The needs of all learners are taken into account. Where it naturally occurs, cross-curricular links are made in Maths, English and Science, as well as through the thematic teaching of other subjects. Computing, Forest School and PE are taught in fortnightly sessions from Reception to Year 2.
Our timetable plans for regular retrieval of weekly and previous learning to ensure that knowledge is remembered over time and that schemas are created to ensure children apply their knowledge in different contexts and become knowledgeable citizens.
Our curriculum is knowledge rich and focuses on a thematic approach, where appropriate; each theme has a ‘Stunning Starter’ and a ‘Fabulous Finale’ to inspire children and to share what they have learnt. The learning that takes place during these days delivers the opportunity for real life, hands-on experiences for the topic being studied. Experiences include dressing up and spending the day as Victorians, visiting Cadbury World, enjoying a ‘Pirate Party’, tasting foods from around the world, or creating the Polar Regions in the classroom!
Throughout the school year, we have many trips and residential visits, which help to develop social skills and independence. These also provide an opportunity to extend the children’s knowledge and understanding in the various curriculum areas, such as links to Science in Year 1 with a trip to The Parkridge Centre.
We believe in the approach of ‘learning to learn’ and ‘learning without limits’. Through the ethos of the school and our curriculum children are encouraged to develop learning capacities which will help them to become resilient, independent and confident, life-long learners and are equipped with the knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves and are exposed to high-level learning in every classroom.
We offer an extensive range of extra-curricular opportunities, including sporting activities, such as football, athletics, and dance. We also offer choir, cookery, science, art, and Lego.
We believe our curriculum contributes to the development of our pupils’ sense of identity through knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain’s diverse society and of the local, national, European, Commonwealth and global dimensions of their lives. Children’s knowledge and understanding of different faiths and cultures is explored during lessons and encourages a real tolerance of others. We provide learning opportunities that recognise and celebrate their uniqueness, develop their full potential, allow them to fulfil their aspirations both in and outside of school. As a result, children have a good appreciation of radicalisation and are being prepared to meet the challenges of living in modern Britain and of becoming successful citizens of the future.
At Damson Wood Nursery and Infant School Academy, we use ‘Discovery RE’, which is an enquiry based, detailed scheme of work for teaching Religious Education and is in-line with Solihull MBC Agreed Syllabus. It is a very comprehensive resource which supports Ofsted and SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) outcomes, SMSC, British Values, Anti-radicalisation, Critical thinking and Growth Mindset, as well as Personal Development. It teaches the 6 principal religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.
Aim of the RE Curriculum
* Appreciate the distinctive nature of religion within human experience (including visits to places of worship each year) and develop a personal sense of meaning in life.
* Appreciate the way in which religious beliefs shape life and how these beliefs contribute to personal morality and social responsibility.
* Develop a knowledge and understanding of the other principal religions found in the United Kingdom and their associated ways of living.
* Have respect for all people and their right to hold, or not to hold, religious beliefs.
* Develop and articulate their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences, whilst respecting the right of others to differ.