At Ayios Nikolaos Primary School when we talk about the curriculum we are referring to all the learning experiences and opportunities that we offer our children. It is not just the lessons and activities that are planned to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum, or the range of educational visits and visitors that we offer, but it is also the tone, standards, quality and discipline of the school as well as the attitudes and values it put forward.
At Ayios Nikolaos Primary School we have responded to the new National Curriculum 2014 by developing a new curriculum that is based around exciting Imaginative Learning Projects (ILPs). Each Imaginative Learning Project has been designed to enable the children to meet the expectations of the 2014 National Curriculum programmes of study, both in terms of content and skills, in an engaging, exciting and memorable way. Each ILP will have a different main subject focus as well as developing knowledge and skills in other subject areas through a host of exciting curriculum enrichment learning experiences. At the heart of our curriculum is our desire to develop the children’s essential skills in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. We endeavour to make learning in all areas cross-curricular and meaningful to each child. We also provide opportunities to teach certain knowledge and skills discreetly that don’t fit harmoniously within our ILPs and these are on occasion taught by staff with specialist skills in these areas.
Each Imaginative Learning Project is tailored to meet our unique context in Cyprus and aims to make full use of the rich and diverse landscape, culture and climate that we experience. Each ILP is organised into four distinct phases of learning: engage, develop, innovate and express.
Each ILP will begin with a ‘memorable experience’ to hook the children’s interest and stimulate and engage them in their learning. Once the children are engaged with their learning we aim to develop their knowledge and skills within the theme of the ILP through a series of planned learning experiences that are cross-curricular and encourage them to use their skills and knowledge in the core subjects. In order to really extend children’s thinking skills and abilities to apply their knowledge and skills we then ask the children to lead their learning through an Innovation Project. These projects give far greater ownership and direction for the learning to the children as well as opportunities for children to work in different styles and groupings. Every ILP has an end point and the final phase is the opportunity for our children to express what they have learned and skills they have developed to different audiences in different ways as well as the opportunity to reflect on their learning.
At Ayios Nikolaos School how children learn is as important as what they learn. Our curriculum, therefore, is seen as much in terms of experience – spiritual, social, aesthetic, physical, linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological – as of the knowledge and skills we think that the children should have. It should also be thought of as being equally concerned with personal qualities, behaviour and conduct.
Phonics and Reading
At Ayios Nikolaos Primary School we teach phonics using the government recommended ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. ‘Letters and Sounds’ is a fast paced, clearly progressive phonics programme that takes children through six phases of phonic knowledge and skills. Phonics is taught in daily twenty minute sessions across the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. In order to make phonic learning relevant to all children they are grouped according to the phase that they are working within, and are regularly assessed to ensure that we continue to meet each child’s needs.
At Ayios Nikolaos Primary School our aim is to teach our pupils to become confident, independent reflective readers who are able to read from a wide range of texts for a variety of purposes. We deliver a structured and progressive whole school approach to the teaching of reading using a wide variety of texts that have been colour banded according to level of difficulty; children are assessed regularly to ensure that they are reading at the appropriate level. Our books offer a range of fiction and non-fiction topics, that children find both familiar and appealing. Within teacher led reading sessions talking, writing and reading activities are incorporated in meaningful social contexts. Teaching offers pupils the opportunity to explore the four roles of the reader: code breaker, meaning maker, text user and text critic.
When sending books home we use a traffic light system to develop the child’s confidence and enjoyment of reading. Books with a green book mark are an ‘easy read’ for the child and as such they should require no or very little support. Amber bookmarks signify the book band that the child is currently working within and will require some parental support with decoding words and meaning. The red bookmark signifies a book that the parent can read to the child and quite often is the child’s library book, perfect for a bed time story!
In the documents titled ‘Curriculum Maps’ you will be able to view the long term planning for each year group from FS1 to Year 6 that staff use as the starting points for the medium and short term planning of each Imaginative Learning Project. More detailed overviews are provided in newsletters to parents at the start of each half-term and outline the knowledge and skills that they aim to develop with the class each half-term.