The school employs consistent pedagogic method across the curriculum starting with valued prior knowledge, the experiences children bring to the classroom and making personal connections.
The school encourages a balanced approach to teaching methodology where varied resources and methods are used depending on the needs of students. The starting place is a social constructivist and enquiry based approach to learning where exploration, play and project based learning enable children to acquire skills and knowledge in the context of meaningful, authentic, stimulating learning experiences. This is supplemented by the use of other programs and models where and when a need is identified and for specific, discrete curriculum areas.
Learning is always enjoyable and thematic studies, units of work and lessons are devised creatively in a manner that will motivate and inspire the children. Eden Primary teachers stimulate and draw on the relentless curiosity of young children and emphasize that we learn by doing, and teach by being. Teachers are excellent role models of well rounded individuals who are excited by learning across a varied curriculum and love the children and their work.
The school draws upon the ideas of a variety of educators, experts, theories and philosophies such as Jerome Bruner, Alfie Kohn, John Dewey and current educational thinking and policy in the UK. It is also inspired by the approach to teaching and learning of Reggio Emilia, a city in Italy recognized by educators worldwide for its innovative approach to education in particular in the early years of development, when children are forming who they are as an individual. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, citizenship and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based to some extent on the interests of the children. Children at Eden Primary have some control over the direction of their learning and there is room in the curriculum for them to pursue areas and projects of individual interest for independent investigation. The role of the teacher is to provide a stimulating learning environment, introduce learning experiences to facilitate skill and knowledge development, focus learning, facilitate, guide and deepen children’s learning. Children’s relationships with other children, with the school, with their environment and with material items in the world are beneficial to learning and can be explored to promote learning. Each child is respected and valued.
Projects and research are seen as vehicles for learning and real-life problem solving for children as citizens with opportunities for creative thinking and exploration. Teachers work with the whole class, with small groups of children, and with individuals. Children engage in a wide variety of teacher designed and child initiated activities. The school promotes learning through play as a key aspect of pupils’ enjoyment and achievement.
Topics of investigation may derive directly from the planned curriculum as well as from teacher observations of children’s spontaneous play, exploration and interest. Project topics are also selected on the basis of an academic curiosity or social concern on the part of teachers or parents, or events that direct the attention of the children and teachers. Regardless of their origins, successful projects are those that generate a sufficient amount of interest and uncertainty to provoke children’s creative thinking, problem-solving, knowledge and skill development and are open to different avenues of exploration.
The school emphasizes a culture of discourse and discussion across all areas of learning in which children learn to listen, express themselves, problem solve, articulate thoughts and questions, reconsider their ideas and engage in spirited and respectful, informed discussion and debate, informed discussion. Teachers work with children from the early years upwards on developing these important life skills that form the basis of scholarship and authentic study. Children develop critical and creative thinking skills always in the context of well-facilitated and respectful class conversations. We encourage discussion, questioning and individual opinions. This approach imbues all areas of teaching and learning and is important when looking at difference and engaging in challenging discussion. How we talk to children and how they talk to each other is a carefully considered focus built into daily interactions in our classrooms in all areas of the curriculum.
Leaning is authentic to the disciplines studied. It is thematic and interdisciplinary as well as discipline based. The curriculum delivery incorporates thematic and subject-based approaches in order to capitalise on the strengths of both, allied to the age- and development-related needs of pupils and the professional judgment of teachers.
Personal achievement whether it be in academic, artistic, sporting or spiritual areas, and recognising each child’s potential, strengths and areas for extra support through an individualised approach, are central to our approach to teaching and learning. This will be dependent on our commitment to excellence in instruction, the professional development of teaching staff, strong partnerships with families, assessment for teaching, meeting the needs of every child in an inclusive way and a reflective and supportive approach to evaluating, reviewing and researching the performance of both students and staff. We base our work on the joy of the intrinsic reward that comes from achievement and mastery, and from participating in enjoyable, varied, exciting and challenging projects and learning experiences.