Aristotle said ‘Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all’ and at Willow Lane we take this idea, build on it and ‘Teach to the Heart’. There are three key elements to this – the physical, moral and creative.
We physically teach to the heart through our extensive sport provision and healthy lifestyle choices linked to gardening and cooking homegrown food. We morally teach to the heart through our values education approach and we creatively teach to the heart through our approach to delivering the curriculum. Key to this approach is putting as much emphasis on how we teach as what we teach.
At Willow Lane we have used the National Curriculum materials as a starting point and from it created our own curriculum. It’s a ½ termly topic based approach which gives different subject areas emphasis over the year. It allows teachers to tailor the delivery to the needs of an individual class and it promotes cross curricular teaching – a more effective approach than subject by subject – in particular through the use of effective books and stories. We follow yearly plans (see attached pdf) but should other engaging opportunities arise – global events such as the Olympics or local events such as an archaeological dig – then we adapt to teach them.
Linked to the different subjects and skills we have created the ‘Willow Lane Passport’ which we feel all children should experience in their time with us. These experiences and activities were chosen by the children, parents, staff and governors and as well as being potentially life changing all link to elements of the National Curriculum. During their time with us, children will take part in all the exciting things in the passport below.
Reading is a core skill that we teach at school and work closely with parents on through our Reading Records, Reading Club and use of volunteers. Children – in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 – are taught phonics to help them develop as readers and writers at Willow Lane we use an approach called ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children use and build on their phonics skills through the ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ scheme and, as they move further on in their reading, start to choose chapter books from our library area.