Are ‘enriched learning experiences’ at the heart of your curriculum?

‘Putting enriched learning experiences at the heart of the new curriculum’ is the title of the interim report written by the Enrichment and Experiences working group, currently developing the new curriculum for Wales. The interim paper states that enriched learning experiences should be part of everyday school life and explains that they don’t all begin and end at the door of a museum.

In the report, enrichment is described as a

‘style of teaching and learning that actively engages children and young people, and encourages individual and independent responses.’

And place-based learning which

‘uses the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in language, arts, mathematics and other subjects across the curriculum’.

Enrichment is also linked to the four purposes and the report indicates that ‘practitioners will need to work with a wide range of partners to develop a breadth of opportunities and activities that expand horizons within and beyond the traditional learning environment of the classroom’.

Read the full report here.

So how can you enrich your curriculum?

  • Start every project with an enriching and memorable experience. Plan experiences that cover aspects of the topic you want to explore back in the classroom. For example visiting an insect house at the start of a project on mini beasts.
  • Be brave! Try out new ideas to keep things fresh, even if they take you out of your comfort zone.
  • Explore the environment. Get to know your environment well, both inside and outside the school gates. Shops, houses, parks and offices can all provide rich opportunities for learning.
  • Make the most of people you know. Get to know the cultures, interests and jobs of the adults linked to school and see if they are willing to share their experiences and skills.
  • Get out and about. Choose different environments for learning. Read a summer story outside to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the season or write in a dimly lit hall to a soundscape of sci-fi music to produce amazing space stories.
  • Make the most of experts and free experiences. Many charities and organisations offer complimentary visits into schools.
  • Follow the children’s interests. Note the aspects of the curriculum that capture the children’s imaginations and take time to explore their questions and ideas further.
  • Have fun!

Here at Cornerstones, we are constantly astounded by the learning and engagement children show when taking part in the vast range of memorable experiences, inspired by our curriculum and brought to life by amazing teachers. Supermarket visits, woodland walks, animal encounters and messy mornings are all learning experiences that the children will remember for the rest of their lives and inspire them to learn more.

St Francis RC Primary School loving a spot of den building during their ‘The Enchanted Woodland' project.

 

St Mary's CofE Primary School take their learning out of the classroom and into the local supermarket for the ‘Scrumdiddlyumptious!' project.

 

Year 2 getting gloriously messy at Shipston Primary during the ‘Muck, Mess and Mixtures' project.

What do Estyn say?

Ysgol Gynradd Bynea, in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire have just received their stunning Estyn report. The school was judged as ‘excellent’ and the curriculum and enrichment experiences provided for the children were mentioned time and again.

‘The school provides an exceptional range of engaging learning experiences’

‘School leaders have introduced and embedded improvements…for example in developing a highly engaging and creative curriculum’

‘the school provides an outstanding range of innovative, exciting learning experiences that match the needs of the learners exceptionally well’

‘It promotes pupils social, spiritual, moral and cultural development very well through the rich learning experiences it provides’.

How can Cornerstones help?

Enriching your curriculum is easy with Cornerstones. The ILPs are full of creative, cross-curricular learning opportunities, our ‘Pupil Offer Grids’ identify opportunities and possible partners for the rich experiences listed in the ILPs and our ‘Embedding the four purposes’ document shows how the four purposes are at the centre of our curriculum and additional products.

Pupil Offer Grid - Year 1 Embedding the four purposes

 

Find out more

To find out more about how Cornerstones can help you put enriched and memorable experiences at the heart of your curriculum, visit our Curriculum Wales product page or call 03333 20 8000 to find out more. Or come along to our Curriculum conference at the Village Hotel Club in Cardiff on Thursday 30th March 2017. 

Published by

Melanie Moore

Mel is Director and EYFS specialist at Cornerstones. She writes most of our curriculum materials and leads our creative team. She has 20 years teaching experience, including as a deputy head teacher. She has also been a teacher adviser, a local authority strategy advisor and has worked for the QCA on national curriculum schemes of work.

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