“Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou, author, poet, civil rights activist.
At Meadow Green we follow a thematic and engaging curriculum to deliver, not only the statutory National Curriculum with regards to the majority of foundation subjects, but also our own School Curriculum. Each theme takes a main subject to drive the learning forward. We believe that choosing the right context to engage our children in their learning is vital in developing critical thinkers, problem solvers and fostering a love of learning whilst also maintaining our high standards.
ENQUIRY-BASED THEMATIC CURRICULUM
An effective enquiry based approach involves the careful framing of questions, problems or scenarios, (along with clearly identifying the key skills and concepts to be taught) to enable progression through the learning sequence. Enquiry based learning creates classroom environments where independence, thinking skills, collaboration and active learning are developed, at the same time as knowledge is acquired. Through explicitly identifying key skills and concepts as milestones in medium term plans and sharing these with the children, there is greater ownership and potential for children to become immersed in acquiring and deepening their knowledge.
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM INTENT
At Meadow Green we believe that Design and Technology helps to develop confident learners that are creative and can utilise technical and practical expertise to successfully navigate an increasingly technological world. Through an engaging DT curriculum children will build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to research, design and make high quality prototypes and products for a wide range of uses. Furthermore, learners will develop skills to enable them to critique, evaluate, test and develop their ideas and products as well as the work of others.
Through the DT curriculum at Meadow Green, students will also be given the opportunity to understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to prepare and cook healthy foods, often through the medium of the schools wider thematic approach. We aim to inspire and develop individuals that will continue to build upon and progress these skills in their future learning and beyond.
“Design and Technology prepares pupils to participate in tomorrow’s rapidly changing technologies. It provides practical learning experiences which make it accessible to all pupils. Pupils use knowledge and understanding from across the curriculum and apply and consolidate them in practical activities.
Designing and making real products, that can be used, can give pupils a sense of achievement and improve their self-esteem. The pupils benefit from seeing their own progress and taking greater responsibility for their own learning as they begin to evaluate the quality of their work. Pupils’ personal involvement with tasks often improves their attention span, patience, persistence and commitment.” (QCA 2001).
Design & Technology Curriculum Implementation.
Design and Technology skills and understanding are built into our lessons at Meadow Green, following an iterative process. However, this is not to say that this structure should be followed rigidly; it allows for the revision of ideas to become part of good practice and ultimately helps to deepen children's understanding. Knowledge, understanding and skills are developed progressively beginning with our youngest learners in the Foundation Stage and continuing through to Year 6. We suggest a specific series of lessons for each key stage built into exciting and engaging topics, which offer structure and narrative but are by no means to be used exclusively, rather to support planning. Through these lessons, we intend to inspire pupils and practitioners to develop a love of Design and Technology and see how it has helped shape the ever-evolving technological world in which they live.
Design and Technology is taught weekly, usually on alternating half terms. We currently operate a two year cycle. Again, this is not prescriptive, and where a teacher deems it appropriate to alter this to better meet the needs of the class, this can be changed e.g. running a project across a whole week in place of once a week over a half term.
Our DT curriculum begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage, where the development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. We believe it is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. Children begin to think about safety when using tools and this message is reinforced throughout lessons. Skills and knowledge are then built upon as the children move through the school.
Key Stage One.
Lessons are planned and resourced to build upon prior knowledge and skills acquired in the EYFS, introducing new skills, knowledge and challenge. Lessons are planned to cover each aspect of Design Technology:
The revision and introduction of key vocabulary is built into each lesson. This vocabulary is then included in display materials and additional resources to ensure that children are allowed opportunities to repeat and revise this knowledge. Adult guides and accurate design and technology subject knowledge are always provided within lessons to allow the teacher and adults working in those lessons to feel confident and supported with the skills and knowledge that they are teaching. We make use of modelling and practical demonstrations throughout lessons to enable pupils to thoroughly understand the skill processes they will need to undertake. There are also frequent opportunities to explore cross-curricular links.
Research is an important feature of the design curriculum and children will explore existing products, drawing on these to create their own and evaluate this in turn. The cyclical nature of research, design, make and evaluate will becoming increasingly evident to children as they progress throughout the school.
Key Stage Two.
Teaching throughout Key Stage Two continues to build upon the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, developing this further and encouraging deeper understanding of research and design processes. Pupils will now develop their research skills to consider how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shaped the world, evaluating existing products and using this to influence their own design work. Vocabulary continues to be reinforced and developed, enhancing technological knowledge, and a greater range and complexity of tools are used with emphasis on safe practices at all times. Lessons are planned to cover each of the following aspects:
In Upper Key Stage Two children are given further opportunity to deepen their understanding and use computer aided design to assist in their products developments.
Design & Technology Curriculum Impact.
Our children enjoy Design and Technology and understand its relevance within their own lives and in the wider world. They know the importance of the processes of design and appreciate the value of DT within the context of their own wellbeing and the creative and cultural industries as well as potential career opportunities.
Progress in Design and Technology is evidenced in a variety of formal and informal ways, demonstrated through outcomes and the important record of the processes leading to them. Class teachers continually monitor children’s understanding, knowledge and skills, utilising this to inform differentiation, support and the level of challenge required. This will be through:
In addition, class teachers will review children’s work termly to update skills progression.
Children will leave Meadow Green with a wide range of transferrable skills that will extend far beyond the DT curriculum including but not limited to:
"Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future." - Robert L. Peters, designer and author