Geography teaches an understanding of places and environments. Through their work in geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognize the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.
We aim to enable our children to gain knowledge and understanding of places in the world; to increase children’s knowledge of other cultures and, in so doing, teach a respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural country; to allow children to learn graphic skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps; to enable children to know and understand environmental problems at a local, regional and global level; to encourage in children a commitment to sustainable development and an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means and to develop a variety of other skills, including those of enquiry, problem solving, ICT, investigation and how to present their conclusions in the most appropriate way.
Computers are changing the lives of everyone. It has become an essential tool and is integral to our daily lives. Through the teaching of computing, we are equipping children with the tools available to participate in a fast moving world. Technology is transforming the way we do and see things, so therefore we must teach children to be able to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to cope with a rapidly changing and growing technological environment. Computer skills are paramount in enabling children to be confident, creative and independent learners. The aims of computing at St Mary’s are to ensure children:
- can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
Provision for computing at St Mary’s
At St Mary’s we do not have a traditional ICT suite and have instead opted for laptops. We feel that this gives us greater flexibility to offer the computing curriculum with computers being available in the classrooms for the whole class, for small groups or even individual children.
Every class is equipped with an interactive whiteboard. We also have a set of 15 Learnpad tablet computers which can be used anywhere, inside and outside the school using the wireless network.
Personal Social and Health Education
At St Mary the Virgin CE VA Primary School, we believe that PSHE and Citizenship helps to give pupils the knowledge, skills and independent understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible global citizens. We recognise that it plays a central part to the life of our school, its vision, aims and ethos.
Through regular teaching we aim for our children to:
- Develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives and to become an active, informed and responsible global citizen.
- Take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of their school and local community. They will learn to recognise their own worth, work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own learning.
- Reflect on their experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up.
Art and Design
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso
Art and design plays a key role in everything we do at St Mary’s. We recognise the importance of art and expression in the daily lives of our children. The topics chosen for each year group enable and encourage our children to express themselves artistically through painting, sculpture, metal work, collage and woodwork.
History fires pupils’ curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. It encourages them to question the events of the past and how they may impact on the future. It encourages them to think beyond themselves and consider how the world has become the place it is today. Young children learn about what life was like in the past, the beliefs and culture and how that influenced their decisions. In History, pupils find evidence from a wide range of sources, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions. They learn life skills of research, interpretation and learn to develop their own point of view.
At St Mary’s we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in History to enable children to think as historians. We encourage the use of educational visits, the study of real artefacts, and visitors into school to talk about personal experience. History aims to enable children:
- to foster in children an interest in the past and to develop an understanding that enables them to enjoy all that History has to offer;
- to enable children to know that significant events in British History and to appreciate how things have changed over time and why these changes have happened;
- to develop a sense of chronology;
- to help children understand society and their place within it, so that they develop a sense of their cultural heritage;
- to develop the children’s skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation, enabling them to think more creatively and develop enquiring minds.
At St Mary’s we strive to make music an enjoyable and fun learning experience. It is embedded into the creative curriculum which enables children to access it in the context of the topic they are currently learning about. The whole school participates in weekly singing assemblies, as well as taking part in school productions and class assemblies.
We currently offer the opportunity to learn a range of instruments including the recorder, keyboard and drums. In addition to this music teachers from Dorset Music Service have visited our school to teach samba drumming to Year 4 and following on from this, six children are chosen to learn how to play the clarinet.
Modern Foreign Languages – French
French is taught in Key Stage two (Year 3-6) for approximately 1 hour per week. The curriculum supports the teaching of key vocabulary and introduces French grammar. French teaching is varied and interesting and allows children to access learning in their own way through a variety of songs, pictures, speaking, listening and practical activities.