The curriculum followed in school follows the key principles of ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ which has been developed in response to the National Debate on Education. Teaching and learning through the new curriculum will provide opportunities to develop key capacities in pupils to become:-
- Successful learners
- Confident individuals
- Effective contributors
- Responsible citizens
The focus is on active learning approaches throughout the curriculum. The curriculum is a carefully planned programme designed to achieve the right balance of basic skills, essential knowledge and informed attitudes. The Curriculum for Excellence also promotes interdisciplinary approaches to learning. The curriculum includes:-
- languages & literacy
- mathematics & numeracy
- religious and moral educationv
- health and well being
- expressive arts
- social subjects
- technology (including ICT)
In Primary 1 and 2 the classrooms are designed with a young child’s need for movement, creativity and learning firmly in mind. Children are encouraged to ‘choose’ activities through structured active play and the activities available are carefully designed to allow for the teaching and development of language, number, motor and social skills. Active play continues into Primary 2 and beyond.
Languages and literacy
This covers the skills necessary for communication: listening, talking, reading and writing. Children are encouraged to express their ideas and are given opportunities to develop this expression through speech and writing.
In Primary 1 and 2 we use a phonics programme as the starting point for reading and writing. We teach children the sounds and then build on this learning to help them read and write words based on the sounds taught.
Reading is one of the most important skills required by children as they progress through education and life. The various skills of comprehension are developed to help your child to cope with reading across the curriculum. Children will also be encouraged to read for pleasure and enjoyment. Once a child can read well, the higher reading skills like skimming text, reading a reference book for information and reviewing books become more important. At all times we try to show children that books are great fun and encourage them to be critical and selective in the reading. Through author visits, storytellers and visiting the annual Edinburgh Book Festival, children’s interest in reading, as well as developing their knowledge of the process of writing, is encouraged.
Children are encouraged to write freely and fluently to develop their language skills. From Primary 1 onwards, pupils are taught to develop skills in spelling, grammar and sentence construction. Throughout the school year, different styles of writing such as personal, functional and imaginative are introduced and developed. We often have parents helping in ‘writing workshops’ in the early years.
French language learning takes place in Primary 6 and 7. Mrs Anderson and Miss Drysdale are the language specialists for Colinton.
Maths and numeracy
Children learn ‘mathematics’ concepts gradually and the pace of learning is determined by the ability of the individual child. In any one class children may be working at different levels. Mathematics includes work on mental arithmetic, number, money, measure, shape position and movement as well as information handling and problem solving. There is an emphasis on active learning with concrete materials and working with peers. Throughout the school, pupils receive daily activities involving mental maths, learning different strategies and applying them to solve problems.
Science, Social Subjects and Technology
Through these subjects, children gain knowledge and understanding of the world around them. These subjects begin in the early years with the children’s known world, their families and their immediate surroundings. As they progress through the school, their horizons are gradually widened and their knowledge extended and deepened. Their own world is then compared with other environments past and present. Children are frequently taken on outings related to their classroom work, including the zoo, outdoor centres, museums, theatres and art galleries.
ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
This area is now an integral part of the curriculum and computer skills are seen as a tool to support the teaching and learning across all areas of the curriculum.
Each class has at least one computer and the school has a computer suite and laptops for use across the school at all levels. Simple word processing is taught in Primary 1 and expanded as the children progress through school. Educational games and information handling also form part of the ICT curriculum, supported by appropriate software. All classes are linked to the internet and each class has its own e–mail address. Every classroom has an interactive whiteboard to support and motivate learning across the curriculum.
Religious and Moral Education
At Colinton we believe that parents are responsible for the development of faith or beliefs of their child. Here at school, the major world religions are studied and compared. Pupils are encouraged to explore the natural world, relationships, moral values and ‘ultimate questions’. Assemblies are held weekly where we celebrate the success of our pupils. The Padre may address the pupils or individual classes present topic work on a world religion or class topic. Arrangements can be made in consultation with the Head Teacher for withdrawal of children from assemblies and from religious observance.
Health and Wellbeing
At all stages of the school we encourage healthy living and healthy choices for life. As with all schools, we are a health promoting school where these skills and informed attitudes are an integral part of all learning and activities. Each year we organise a Health Week where all pupils experience new health promoting activities. The beginnings of health and well-being in education take place at the earliest possible stages, in the early years and in the home. Children are guided towards an awareness of the needs of others and they learn the importance of sharing, waiting their turn and co–operating with others. Much of this is covered through our City of Edinburgh “Creating Confident Kids” programme. The need for care of the body, cleanliness, fresh air and exercise is taught, not only for the child’s own health, but for that of the community as well. Sex education, drugs awareness and personal safety programmes have been introduced in the upper school closely following Local Authority and National guidelines. Parents are informed of the topics covered and are invited to meetings with staff to discuss the topics covered and answer any questions parents may have.
Physical education can take the form of games, athletics and gymnastics. Through PE, we aim to give pupils an understanding of their body; to develop and apply skills; to design and create; work with others and develop fitness. In May/June, the children take part in Sports Day and there are also annual sporting events in Edinburgh at which Colinton teams participate. Groups from Primary 4 and 5 attend Bruntsfield Primary School for weekly swimming sessions throughout the year as part of the educational curriculum. A parents’ rota is necessary to help teachers supervise the travelling and changing. Our Active Sports Co–ordinator organises after school clubs such as basketball.
Art & Design
The art and design curriculum will involve pupils in investigating materials and media; expressing ideas and solutions; and understanding, appreciating and sharing in the product of others.
Within the primary school, drama is used as a teaching aid for many other subjects as well as an expressive art form in its own right. Children learn and have fun through drama, thus promoting self–expression and self–confidence. Each year every child is involved in a school performance, with more information made available throughout the year.
Children are encouraged to enjoy and participate in all types of music making and music appreciation. Opportunities for this are given within general classroom work and through the various school productions which all pupils are involved in at some point during each school year.
Children are encouraged to participate with a variety of dance activities throughout the year.