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Curriculum Subject Areas

“All that a child learns both formally and informally.”

The curriculum we offer is carefully planned to cover the following areas: numeracy/mathematics, literacy/languages, health and wellbeing, social studies, expressive arts, sciences, religious and moral education, technologies and interdisciplinary learning.

Numeracy/Mathematics

Mathematics is important in our everyday life, allowing us to make sense of the world around us and to manage our lives. It equips us with the skills we need to interpret and analyse information, solve problems and make informed decisions.

The mathematics framework is organised into three parts:

  • number, money and measure
  • shape, position and movement
  • information handling

At St Gerardine, staff have worked to produce a clear progression of knowledge, understanding and skills from early to second level. Teachers use these progressions both to plan the learning and to assess the children’s progress. In this way, when pupils move to their next class, they are able to build from where they are and progress appropriately. These progressions have been shared as examples of good practice with other schools in Moray.

Maths at St Gerardine engages pupils actively from the outset with our P1s learning to “subitise” and gain mathematical confidence. From P4-7 children are set in maths across three classes (P4, 4/5 and 5; P6, 6/7 and 7). In all classes, including the set classes, teachers may group the children in order to better meet their needs, challenging and supporting them as appropriate.

The school is well resourced in maths and uses “Active Heinemann” to support our maths progressions. Pupils benefit from being able to use netbooks to support their learning, creating graphs and charts, taking part in Sumdog challenges and other appropriate internet activities.

 

Literacy/Language

Our ability to use language lies at the centre of the development and expression of our emotions, our thinking, our learning and our sense of personal identity.

The language framework is organised into three parts:

  • listening and talking
  • reading
  • writing

At St Gerardine we have clear strategies for teaching reading, with a focus on both the mechanics of reading as well as on the comprehension of the text. Children are grouped within their class so that they progress at an appropriate pace.

In writing the school has developed “Step by Step” booklets to ensure clear progression within each genre of writing and to give pupils models of good writing and a clear understanding of the success criteria for their next step. As well as supporting their learning, these booklets provide an assessment record of what step a child has reached in their writing.

 

Health and Wellbeing

Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future.

The health and wellbeing framework is organised into four parts:

  • mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing
  • physical activity and sport
  • planning for choices and changes
  • relationships

Children at St Gerardine enjoy a range of PE activities and sports both in their class lessons and at after school clubs. P4-7 pupils have a PE specialist teacher for one session per week.

The school has recently introduced a progression of practical cooking and cooking skills across all classes whereby children will learn about food and health as well as take part in cooking sessions.

 

Social Studies

Through social studies, children and young people develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values, in different times, places and circumstances; they also develop their understanding of their environment and of how it has been shaped.

The social studies framework is organised into three parts:

  • people, past events and societies
  • people, place and environment
  • people, society, economy and business

At St Gerardine, most of the Social Studies curriculum is taught through a theme or topic. More information about this can be found within Interdisciplinary Learning which is explained on the following page.

 

Expressive Arts

By engaging in experiences within the expressive arts, children and young people will recognise and represent feelings and emotions, both their own and those of others. The expressive arts play a central role in shaping our sense of our personal, social and cultural identity.

The expressive arts framework is organised into four parts:

  • art and design
  • dance
  • drama
  • music

Children at St Gerardine enjoy a wide range of expressive art activities with P4-7 having a specialist teacher for music weekly and for art two terms per year. Children learn a variety of traditional Scottish dances within their dance sessions which they put into practice at their Christmas parties. The Christmas concert combines dance, drama and music in two productions each year: P1-3 and P4-7.  As well as regular music lessons, the school has a thriving school choir. Children in P5 all learn the recorder and some older pupils may access music tuition in school (brass, violin and clarinet).

 

Religious and Moral Education

The religious and moral education framework is organised into three parts:

  • Christianity
  • other world religions
  • development of beliefs and values

RME lessons are suitable for pupils of all faiths or those who are non-believers. Children learn about Christianity as well as a wide variety of different religions. Pupils are encouraged to develop respect for others and an understanding of beliefs and practices which are different from their own. Children reflect on their own moral values and develop skills to support them when making moral decisions.

 

Sciences

Science is an important part of our heritage and we use its applications every day in our lives at work, at leisure and in the home. Science and the application of science are central to our economic future and to our health and wellbeing as individuals and as a society.

The sciences framework is organised into five parts:

  • planet earth
  • forces, electricity and waves
  • biological systems
  • materials
  • topical science

Science at St Gerardine is taught both as a discreet curricular area and also as part of Interdisciplinary Learning. The school runs a very successful Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) week each year where children enjoy practical activities and experiments and which are supported by STEM Ambassadors from local businesses. In addition there is a Science and Engineering after school club where children take on challenges and some go on to represent the school at regional or national events.

 

Technologies

The technologies framework is organised into six parts:

  • technological developments in society
  • ICT to enhance learning
  • business
  • computing science
  • food and textiles
  • craft, design, engineering and graphics.

The school benefits from an up to date computer suite with a Smartboard facility as well as 64 netbooks available for pupils or classes to use to support their learning across the curriculum within their class setting. All classes have a Smartboard which teachers use to enhance learning and classes also have access to visualisers which allow teachers to share pupils’ work, either drawings or written work, so that good practice can be shared and modelled for others to see and improvements can be made collectively.