Teaching and Learning
The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy and pedagogy focused on preschool and primary education. The programme is based on the principles of respect, responsibility and community through exploration, discovery and play.
At the core of this philosophy is an assumption that children form their own personality during the early years of development and that they are endowed with "a hundred languages", through which they can express their ideas.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:
- Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
- Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing;
- Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that they must be allowed to explore;
- Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
At KHPA, we take inspiration from the ‘Reggio Emilia’ approach and ‘The Curiosity approach’, creating a neutral, natural environment with a move away from plastic toys and towards real objects and loose parts. We find that this promotes calm, connected play and ignites imagination and enthusiasm for learning.
We ensure that we focus on HOW the children learn, using the Characteristics of Effective Learning as a guide; as well as WHAT the children learn. We are passionate about the process that children go through in order to become successful learners and we encourage exploration, ‘having a go’, persevering if difficulties are encountered as well as critical thinking, where children will be encouraged to have their own ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
Year 1 to 6
Every child deserves to be taught well to enable them to learn new knowledge that can be applied in all aspects of their lives. It is our aim that every pupil can look back positively on their school experience having achieved the highest standards of work and achievement. To this end we provide a broad and balanced curriculum which gives emphasis to the aesthetic, creative, practical, social and moral aspects of life as well as academic skills, underpinned by our school values: Aspiration, Respect, Ambition, and Courage. These values are the bedrock of everything we do. They are the characteristics that we aim to foster in our pupils every day through our teaching and learning practice, so that by the time they leave school they will be confident, resilient, creative and responsible citizens.
KHPA strives continuously to improve the quality of teaching and learning for all its pupils. We foster and develop a vibrant and self-improving teaching and learning community that recognises and values teacher professionalism.
We actively look to adapt, refine and improve our teaching approaches utilising best evidence from trusted external research, the context in which we work in.
We believe that teaching and learning encompasses a range of inter-linked activities and processes, namely: 1. Pedagogy: How we teach, 2. The curriculum: What is taught: knowledge and skills, 3. Assessment: How we know what has been understood and retained
Our approach to teaching and learning is built around Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. These define the key elements of effective practice. They are based around research, including cognitive load theory, and are designed to give direct links from research into practice.
Rosenshine’s 10 Principles of Instruction are:
1 - Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning - KHPA have a ‘Do Now’ task (3-5 questions at the - beginning of each lesson
2 - Present new material in small steps with student practice after each step
3 - Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students
4 - Provide models
5 - Guide student practice
6 - Check for student understanding
7 - Obtain a high success rate
8 - Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks
9 - Require and monitor independent practice
10 - Engage students in weekly and monthly review
At KHPA we facilitate these principles through:
Structured sessions with clear routines that identify and address gaps and misconceptions:
An emphasis on verbal, formative feedback that is immediate
- Smooth links between formative and summative assessment processes to provide a clear understanding of pupil knowledge and gaps
- Planning templates with clear expectations for scripted modelling and success criteria for new knowledge
- Focus core skills and ‘deepening skills’ so all learners can succeed
- Regular opportunities for recall and review of previous knowledge
At KHPA the primary role of all adults is to facilitate high-quality learning opportunities according to the principles outlined above.
At KHPA we follow the model for direct instruction which involves the children sitting at tables in rows facing the teacher, who teaches from the front of the room.
Direct instruction is teacher directed and follows a definite structure with specific steps to guide pupils toward achieving clearly defined learning outcomes. The teacher maintains the locus of control over the instructional process and monitors pupils' learning throughout the process. Benefits of direct instruction include delivering large amounts of information in a timely manner. Also, because this model is teacher directed, it lends itself to designing instruction that is developmentally appropriate to pupils' ages and stages. Direct instruction helps encourage more communication in the classroom. Children have a better opportunity to discuss their ideas and feelings in a group. They are able to get to know one another as well as their teachers.
CPD for Staff
Continuous professional development (CPD) of all staff is vitally important to us all at KHPA and have been a vital key to KHPA’s continuous development and innovative practices. We are continuing to provide all staff with CPD on a bi-weekly timetable. As a result, KHPA staff are provided the platform to expand their ideas and education practices
The reason why we have CPD is that it offers one of the most effective ways to improve student performance, increase staff retention and develop a culture of excellence across a whole school. The overriding purpose is to help teachers continually improve the quality of their teaching. We have found weekly CPD to be more effective than a one off training course because when it is continuous, this helps teachers to imbed what they learn. In the words of Dylan Wiliams, ‘every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.’
Here’s what CPD helps teachers to do:
- Ensures they keep pace with the current standards of others working in education.
- Keeps their knowledge and skills current so they can deliver high-quality teaching and impact positively on pupil outcomes.
- Makes sure that they become more effective in the workplace. This helps them to advance in their career and move into new positions where they can lead, manage, influence, coach and mentor others.
- Opens them up to new possibilities, new knowledge and new skills.
- Leads to increased confidence in themselves, others and the profession as a whole.
Teacher CPD is also very useful at:
- Reminding them of their achievements and how far they’ve progressed.
- Directs their career and helps them keep an eye on their goals.
- Uncovers gaps in their skills and capabilities.
- Opens up further development needs