Monday, 12 October 2009

Primary Curriculum – my view

My view on a primary curriculum is that one must exist in some form to enable all children to get the best start in what will be a long period of their life. As for what this curriculum should consist of and with what force it should be dealt is where I believe the debate should be.

If starting with Maslow's model of hierarchy (as we did 12 months ago) there is no doubt that a child's immediate surroundings up until starting in formal schooling, should go toward providing much of the specified needs. One could say that a person could go through the Maslow model many times in their life but the first time could possibly be the most important as this is the child's first attempt at becoming and creating themselves. The more areas of life and society that a child can include in achieving the levels of Maslow's model would only add to the experience. There are many areas of the hierarchy that schooling can enhance in primary years and with a well devised curriculum this could ensure that all children are offered and experience the opportunity.

The angle of Primary Curriculum that I would believe to be ideal is one that incorporates the tools a child needs to create and learn about themself, gain independence, understand others and be able to achieve their full potential within their years or further (should that be a natural progression for the child).

From Early Years the structure of the EYFS is to promote these points within a wider concept including the environment, relationships and the child and this concept needs to be carried through and elaborated to conform to the children's ages. As discussed last week, the ability for a child to learn about the core subjects of maths, English and science within other subject domains does exist and should be encouraged however in saying all of this I do also believe that these core subjects should not be lost, just possibly taught in a less transmissive way. I would actually lean on the social constructivist side......but as we are meant to be objective just forget I said that!!!!! English does not just consist of learning to read and write but also learning to listen, understand content, predict outcomes and maths is not just learning numbers and times tables but visualisation, problem solving, economics and these are just a few of the extensions.

Whilst watching a Saturday morning talk show, one of the guests commented that in todays society we are too cynical, we have lost the art of storytelling and do not allow ourselves to have or explore our imaginations. To be honest this was actually a song writer and I do understand what the point was. Truth and fact are important to learn but so is nurturing the creative, expressive and imaginative side of our thoughts. Imagination can lead to many places and I admit, may sometimes require channelling by adults but should never be stifled as it is a great teacher.

In essence my idea of a primary curriculum would include core subjects at their basics but elaborated to allow natural thought as said above to also include art, nature, society, culture, thought, play, music, dance to name a few. These should be taught by curriculum but not one that is regimented to day and time, if children are learning numerical skills whilst dancing or through music does that change the fact that they are doing maths ? I think not but again – opinion only.

The Cambridge Primary Review includes in it's proposals the need for the three core subjects to be dispensed with and an 8 domain framework created which includes literacy, oracy and numeracy that is taught not just at the centre but also across the curriculum. There is also the understanding that teaching time would be differentially allocated but that all subjects should be taught to the highest standard possible. This is hopefully relative to the idea that I have put across.

If I reflect on my primary education I do not really remember all of what we learnt or how we learnt it but I don't remember ever not wanting to go to school. The school was part of the community, the parents were involved in some way and I enjoyed the journey. That is how I feel school should be, a journey.

I am writing this from notes and piecing together a couple of drafts that I have started so hope this makes sense (I am known for waffling a bit!!!!) Sorry for the lack of theorists, journals, legislation etc Brian but this is already over 750 words!!!!!

Any opinions greatly welcome......actually it would be nice.

Night peeps x


Zoey's learning said...

You are very kind, I agree that with the Maslow part, our children need to be stable and feel loved first and foremost and I feel that society has a big part of play. I enjoyed reading yours and learnt some stuff. I really agree with the social constructivist learning theory too, it embraces learning from different places.

lin armstrong said...

Loved the comments individual curriculum to needs!!!!! so far away from the conveyor belt where all will lear whats on a curriculum made before they were born...very well said.