Curriculum and learning
At Park School, Bournemouth we aim to develop the whole child. In addition to the full range of academic subjects prescribed by the National Curriculum, we operate a varied learning programme which includes a wide range of extracurricular activities. Teaching is dynamic and interesting, often bringing together elements of different subjects within a theme, encouraging children to develop a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge. The inclusion of music, art, drama and sport in this thematic approach offers a variety of learning experiences which deepen children's understanding, whilst fostering their own interests and skills.
Curriculum Meetings are held for parents at the beginning of each academic year when teachers explain what children will be learning and how parents can support them from home.
Below you will find an outline of the key areas of learning.
Park Knowledge (English, Geography, History, PSHEE/RSE, RE and MFL) defines the areas of the curriculum that encourage children to think about their environment, their past, their present and their future, as well as looking outward to the wider world to discover new ideas.
At Park we know the importance of developing children’s abilities to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes and audiences, using language to learn and communicate ideas, views and feelings. English enables children to express themselves confidently, creatively and imaginatively, as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts.
Through their work in geography, children gain an understanding of places and environments, comparing their lives with others in the United Kingdom and around the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps, and develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognise the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.
The aim of history teaching at Park School is to stimulate the children’s interest in the life of people who lived in the past. An awareness of chronology helps children to develop a sense of identity and a relationship with their historical heritage. This teaches children to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern multicultural Britain. Through the investigation of past events, children develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving, leading to an understanding of how events in the past have influenced our lives today.
PSHEE & RSE
Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) is taught in all schools with the aim of helping children to develop into healthy, well-informed young adults. Teachers ensure that these lessons are delivered with care and sensitivity to the needs of each child. Due to the new statutory requirement to teach Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in the School curriculum we as a school have reviewed and adapted our PSHEE topics to include this.
Religious Education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Park School Christian values are central to the ethos of the school and its teaching. We explain the meaning of other faiths and promote respect for them; encouraging the children to recognise and value the faith of others; providing opportunities to experience God and his world through worship, developing children’s sense of identity and belonging and helping prepare them for life as citizens in a multicultural society.
At Park we promote understanding of other Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and respect for the cultures associated with them. Learning another language provides important intellectual stimulation as well as helping children to become confident communicators. From Year 1 all children engage with learning French through songs, nursery rhymes and fun role play. In Years 5 & 6 pupils begin to learn Spanish, using simple phrases to communicate about every day activities and finding out about school life in Spain.
In an ever-changing world, knowing how to consider a problem and evaluate the best solutions and tools for the job are essential life skills. Through our STEM subjects (science, DT, maths, ICT, reasoning and critical thinking) we help children to think logically and adapt their ideas to suit the varied requirements of the problem.
Science teaches an understanding of natural phenomena and helps children to find answers to their questions about the world around them. Through exploration, science stimulates a child’s curiosity in finding out why things happen in the way they do. It teaches methods of enquiry and investigation to stimulate creative thought about what might happen in a given set of circumstances. Children learn to ask scientific questions, use scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and begin to appreciate the way science will affect their future on a personal, national, and global level.
Design technology prepares children to take part in the development of the world of tomorrow. The subject encourages children to become autonomous and creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. It enables them to identify needs and opportunities and to respond by developing ideas, products and systems which can make positive changes to their quality of life. Through the study of designs of the past and present they combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as functions and industrial practices. Design technology helps all children to become discriminating and informed consumers and potential innovators.
Maths develops the ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems in a range of contexts. We promote enjoyment of and enthusiasm for maths through practical activity, exploration and discussion. All children develop confidence and competence with numbers and the number system, develop a practical understanding of the ways in which information is gathered and presented, explore features of shape and space, develop measuring skills in a range of contexts and to understand the importance of maths in everyday life.
Through information and communication technology (ICT) we equip children to participate in a world where work and leisure activities are increasingly transformed by technology. We enable them to use different applications to find, explore, analyse, organise, exchange and present information. We also focus on developing the skills necessary for children to be able to use information in a discriminating and effective way. ICT skills are a major factor in enabling children to be confident, creative and independent learners and valued employees of the future.
Reasoning & Critical Thinking
By providing opportunities for children to develop their reasoning and critical thinking skills we enable them to be more open-minded and at the same time more questioning of answers or responses. Instead of just receiving messages and accepting them, we teach children to determine if their logic is sound or slightly flawed. To do this children need to engage a variety of skills including: listening, analysis, evaluation, inference and interpretation or explanation, and self-regulation.
Park School offers a broad and balanced programme of physical education and sport. We believe that sport for all children develops skills, self-esteem and encourages social interaction. Park Sport plays an important role in developing determination and resilience as well as improving physical skills and fitness.
From Reception to Year 6 all children have one PE lesson per week, during which they focus on gymnastics, dance, table tennis, core strength and balance. Children in Years 1 to 6 enjoy an additional two games sessions per week.
During the winter, boys and girls play football, tag rugby and hockey and the girls also play netball. In summer, boys and girls play cricket, rounders and athletics. We actively encourage the children to participate in team and individual events, and Park teams play regular fixtures against other independent schools as well as taking part in local leagues and competitions with maintained schools. We are proud that Park School children achieve success at town, county and national levels.
In addition to our own facilities, we make occasional use of the nearby sporting venues at the Littledown Centre, Sir David English Centre and Kings Park Athletics stadium, which provide large all weather pitches, netball courts and specialist athletics facilities.
Park Arts encourages children to be creative and confident in their own abilities across a range of subjects.
Art & Design
Art and design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a special way of understanding and responding to the world. It enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of colour, texture, form and pattern using different materials and processes. They learn to make informed judgements, exploring ideas further through the work of great artists and designers. Through learning about the roles and functions of art, they can explore the impact it has on contemporary life and that of different times and cultures. The appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts enriches all our lives.
Drama & dance
Through drama and dance we aim to build children's confidence, extending their knowledge and understanding of performance arts and using their creativity to the full. Drama and dance improve verbal and non-verbal communication skills and role-play encourages children to be empathetic, collaborative and confident. All pupils from Reception to Year 6 take part in annual performances to the whole school and their families. These include whole school assemblies, Nativity plays, Christmas shows and musicals. Many pupils enter for LAMDA and drama examinations with great success. Some take part in the Bournemouth Speech and Drama Festival and perform with local theatre, ballet and dance groups.
We have a strong musical tradition at Park with teaching led by a qualified team of specialist music teachers. As well as the pupils’ weekly music lessons, the children may go on to join our school orchestra or jazz band. There is also a flourishing training orchestra. All children are encouraged to play a musical instrument. Specialist individual lessons are available in woodwind, brass, strings, piano, recorder, guitar, percussion and singing.
Children from Year 2 upwards can join one of our popular school choirs. Our choirs perform in concerts at local venues and provide musical input at all kinds of school events. We have a specialist peripatetic singing teacher who offers coaching for those children who like to sing simply for pleasure and for those who wish to obtain their singing grades.
The orchestra, choir and jazz band perform at outside venues across the year. The children also form their own ensembles and small groups to perform to parents at school events.