As a child walks through the doors of our school for the first time, they have their whole educational life ahead of them. Although they will have been learning about life and the world around them since the day they were born, school is their first major step into the big, wide world, away from the safety net and boundaries of their family. So we have a major responsibility to be that safety net initially but then slowly, bit by bit, to take it away, so that, ultimately, that child can stand on their own two feet, ready to leave the relative security of primary school for the next step and beyond.
It is our responsibility, through the curriculum we provide, to equip each child with the tools they need to take their place as well-rounded members of society. So what are these tools?
At St. Mary’s we believe children should be happy and contented so we deliver lessons that are fun and engaging. We provide a multitude of extra-curricular opportunities through before and after school clubs but also through educational visits, themed days, whole school trips and special visitors to school.
As a Christian school, a child’s spiritual development is of great importance to us and through both the RE Curriculum and Worship, children learn not only to grow in faith but to be inquisitive, thoughtful and reflective. They develop a deeper knowledge of not only their own faith but the faith and cultures of others and learn to be both objective and open-minded.
As the first formal educational setting children will experience, we have a responsibility to help children to discover a lifelong love of learning. Children are naturally curious and we believe in following their interests as much as possible, tailoring the curriculum accordingly and helping them to become inspired. We learn inside, outside, in the rain, in the snow, in the sunshine and encourage children to ask questions both of themselves and of those around them. We teach them to be good communicators – to know when to speak and when to listen.
We believe we should challenge children to be the best they can be in all aspects of life. We aim to engender resilience and perseverance within them. At St. Mary’s we learn that it’s alright to fail sometimes because we can learn from our mistakes and come out even stronger. We encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, along with the ability to be self-motivated. Learning is so much more fulfilling and memorable when you have had to push yourself hard and work something out for yourself.
At St. Mary’s we deliver a curriculum that helps children develop both skills and knowledge. We impart knowledge to them but then give them the skills to find out more for themselves as independent, free-thinking individuals.
Through both our Christian and British Values we teach children to be honest, trustworthy and kind; to be polite, empathetic and respectful of others and to have an awareness of and appreciation for those who may look, sound or worship differently than them. We engender a strong sense of belonging and community within each child – making them feel cared for and nurtured but also emphasizing that within a community we all have to take responsibility for our actions. We help children to develop positive and fulfilling friendships and to enjoy working as part of a team, whilst not losing their own voice when within a group.
In essence, the curriculum at St. Mary’s is designed in order that the child who walked through our doors afraid to let go of their parent’s hand, will leave us happily, content and confident in their ability to face whatever life may have in store. They might just give a slight backward glance and a quiet nod in appreciation of all the wonderful experiences they had and fantastic memories they will carry with them of their time at this school. They won’t look back for too long, though, as they will have learnt, here at St.Mary’s, that there is always something exciting around the corner and they will be keen to get on with whatever lies ahead…