These aspects of the school curriculum are led by a curriculum group comprising: Mrs Kerry Blackwell (Chair), Mrs Emma Iley, Miss Kirsten Holmes, Mrs George Collett, Mrs Cath Barrett and Mr Ian Moore.
In its teaching or RE (Religious Education), the school follows the Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus, learning about religion and from religion through consideration of different Big Questions that help children consider what it means to them, to the world and to the religion.
Currently children in KS1 learn from and about Christianity and Judaism, and in KS2 Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Philosophy for Children
The school has engaged with Philosophy for Children training to enable them to use this approach across the curriculum, including RE, to aid children’s inquiry, engagement and higher-order thinking skills. Further information can be found here.
Having trailed the use of some Mindfulness techniques during assemblies and some classes, we are now delivering an introduction to Mindfulness and Relaxation in Year 4, and a six-week Mindfulness Programme in Year 5. Further information can be found below.
Our aim is to improve the children’s ability to concentrate, handle difficult emotions and reduce any anxiety they may have. We recognise that the world our children are growing up in is fast paced, our lives are extremely busy, and that expectations upon them are high, in order for them to achieve their true potential in school. Mindfulness works on the principle of helping your child to enjoy the present moment as often as possible, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Many recent studies show that this really helps the children to remain calm and in control, to sleep better and to enjoy life more.
We will teach them how to sit, quiet and still, and simply focus on their breathing. By focussing on the present moment, they learn to become more in touch with their emotions and the impact these have on their body. We will also look at activities which are calming, so they can spend a few minutes each day properly relaxing. These include colouring, drawing, listening to meditations and gentle exercise. In order to benefit fully, it would really help if your child could be encouraged to spend a little time each day sitting quietly, or enjoying the calming activities. Each week there will be optional homework to give your child some ideas to try.
Week 1 – Find some time each day to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Each time your thoughts wander, go back to your breath. Notice how your tummy rises and falls.
Week 2 – Think about your breathing, as you do different activities this week. How does it change? How do you feel as you breathe in different ways? How does your body feel?
Week 3 – Notice how your feelings are changing all the time. Look at the feelings thermometer. Good at the top, not so good at the bottom. Try filling in the thermometer at different times during the day / week.
Week 4 – Practise going to a lovely place. Lie still and let your thoughts pass by you, like clouds. Notice how your body feels. Completely relax and let your mind go to a real or imaginary place that you can enjoy visiting in your thoughts.
Week 5 – Practise noticing when you are worrying. Remember thoughts come and go, and you can notice them without having to do anything. Try moving out of your head, and dropping into your belly. Let your thoughts disappear, as you focus on just your breathing.
Week 6 – Write down three kind things which you have said or done, or have been said or done to you, each day. They can be little things, like cuddling your pet, or smiling at someone.
There is a lot of information, books and CDs on Mindfulness available, if you wish to research further. Here’s some suggestions:
Sitting Still Like a Frog, Mindfulness Exercise for Kids, by Eline Snel
Enchanted Meditations for Kids, by Christiane Kerr
The Little Pocket Book of Mindfulness, by Anna Black
Mindfulness, A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams