Children don’t learn in boxes - they learn most effectively when they, themselves, can make links in and across their learning and when their learning is motivating, exciting and connected. This is why we adopt an approach that involves a blend of rigorous, discrete subject teaching mixed with effective cross-curricular links and themed learning contexts.
A Themed Learning approach to the curriculum is where teachers choose contexts which provide the opportunity for explicit links to be made across the different subject areas, ensuring an in-depth understanding of the learning. Teachers plan the learning carefully to ensure that key skills and content are taught, and themed learning contexts are mapped out across the school to ensure balance and progression in children’s learning. An example of this approach would be where the children in Year 2 have the themed learning context of Under the Sea, and learning in different subject areas would link to this theme; scientific research about sea creatures; geography skills related to marine environments; reading and writing stories with links to the sea; making and eating seafood dishes as part of health education; designing a diving tour brochure to develop computing skills; building boats and testing their properties.
These occur when children are encouraged and guided to make meaningful connections across their learning, and to apply the knowledge and skills learned in one subject to others. An example of this would be where the children have been involved in a design project making bags and they have to use their science understanding of the properties of materials when selecting from a range of fabrics, thinking about who the bags are for and how they’ll be used. Of course, there are also opportunities with this project for children to make use of learning from a number of other subjects such as maths, art or computing, depending on the learning focus.
This cross curricular approach engages the children in a mixture of factual learning and hands on practical work which challenges them to think, to research, to solve problems, to take risks and to reflect –as an individual, but also with many opportunities to work collaboratively as a group.
It is also a lot of fun and gets young learners really engaged!
Niki Meehan, Head of Primary