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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.

We love reading at our school. It is a core skill that we teach at school and work closely with parents on through our Reading Records, Reading Club, parent engagement initiatives (such as the Reading Breakfast and Little Free Library) and use of volunteers. Children – in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 – are taught along the DfE systematic synthetic phonics phonics guidance, which is supported by ‘Phonics Play’ and ‘Letters and Sounds’ resources, to help them develop as readers and writers. 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.

And how will we teach this curriculum? Cast your mind back to your own memories of school and it is the life changing and emotive experiences which you remember – be it a teacher, a project or a trip. For the community we serve, a creative cross curricular approach is a must and a focus on the how we teach more than what we teach will give our children the best start to education. Our children need to engage with their learning before they can talk about it and talk about it before they can write about it. Speaking and listening and vocab generation through creativity are key to this approach.

And what does this look like in the classroom? Visitors will see busy classrooms full of energetic children talking about their learning. English based lessons will start with stimuli such as creating a piece of art, brilliant stories or video clips. Topic lessons incorporate drama, educational visits and designing and building miniature worlds. And creativity doesn’t just stop at the arts – young scientists using data about themselves to make statements, young mathematicians finding the age of trees through measuring trunks and young geographers knee deep in mud or honing orienteering skills before heading off to the Lake District.

If you have any queries about the content of our curriculum, please approach the class teacher or Deputy Headteacher.