The transformative learning process at Amedeo is designed to help our learners grow both in and out of the classroom.
Each day is filled with opportunities to experience new educational and social situations for further development. Our teachers create a safe and open setting, where they can guide students in exploring the world around them.
The Department of Basic Education is responsible for K12 education in South Africa, and the local curriculum is called CAPS.
This curriculum is divided into four phases:
Foundation Phase - first three years of schooling
Amedeo has a creative approach to building a curriculum that exceeds the requirements of the statutory CAPS syllabus. With our well-equipped and qualified staff, we enrich our CAPS syllabus with a creative Cambridge Curriculum where we cross-link all subjects. Amedeo offers a curriculum that has clear educational purpose, is delivered with imagination and has measurable educational value.
Cambridge Curriculum - Five elements define Cambridge education, International Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, Assessment and International Recognition. Its International curriculum is constantly updated through expert international school research and consultation with schools. In terms of teaching and learning, teachers are expected to guide their students to become confident, engaged and independent learners. Next, assessment in the Cambridge International Curriculum is fair, valid and reliable. In addition, Cambridge qualifications are internationally recognised by higher education institutions all over the world.
What do we need to teach?
Rather than subjects driving the curriculum, it’s the needs of children that should determine the emphasis. It’s important that children learn what’s in the statutory curriculum, but most teachers know that children need much more than this. Balancing children’s needs with the statutory curriculum will always be a challenge, but instead of the two acting in opposition we can ensure the content of the curriculum meets the needs of children and fulfills statutory requirements.
What is Statutory?
The statutory curriculum – what we have to cover in our schools – is set out in the CAPS. For each subject there are objectives. The objectives need to be divided up so that all aspects are covered at some point. It does not require repetition, but schools may choose to repeat some aspects if they wish. The program of study comprises the essential knowledge, skills, and understanding within subjects. It does require repetition, as it’s this part of the curriculum that leads to progress.
The planning for how the curriculum is to be delivered is key to engaging and inspiring children. We must ensure that all the skills that the children need to acquire are covered.
Principles for creative themes
When planning your creative themes it’s useful to keep certain principles in mind. These principles can be used to assess your themes once they’ve been created to ensure the consistency of principles across the school.
Make it real
The more real the learning experience, the more likely it is that children will engage. Try to make the theme real to children – it should not be abstract or too far removed from their experience. If something is based on the past, for example, try to think of the legacy it has left and start with that.
Try a stimulus of some description: a visit, visitors, artifacts, books, videos, situations, plays, etc. The wider the range of stimuli, the more likely it is that children will engage with the theme.
By planning a ‘skeleton’ theme based on our curriculum map, we ensure educational purpose, but the content needs also to be steered by children. We need to provoke children into taking an interest in both what we’ve planned for them, and related things that they find interesting along the way. This is not the same as asking children what they would like to learn. When children don’t know what they want to learn or what they can’t do, it can be a pointless exercise. Asking children what they want to learn also assumes that they can articulate it. Most worryingly, though, asking children what they want to learn may lead to a situation that keeps children in a world that they’ve already experienced and not into the new worlds teachers can take children based on their needs rather than their wants. Having said this, we do want children to feel part of the process. We give lots of provocation to stimulate their interest and imagination and allow children to steer rather than lead learning.
We use a stimulus at the beginning of the theme to provoke lines of inquiry from the start. We allow the children’s inquiries to steer the theme’s direction. We respond to lines of inquiry that come up later in the theme – not all children will be provoked at the same time.
Allow time and space
If we are to provoke lines of inquiry, then children need space and time to follow them.
Try planning for about half of the time you expect your plan to last.
Try to allow time for children to explore their chosen lines of inquiry.
Don’t let timetables get in the way, especially at the ‘launch’ of a theme.
Try collapsing the timetable at the beginning of a theme.
Try to hook the interest of children and secure their commitment through a dramatic start.
Try to pull the theme together at the end.
PLANNING FOR MEASURABLE EDUCATIONAL VALUE
Some schools make a mistake in thinking that planning a purposeful and engaging curriculum will raise standards. It won’t. To ensure the content is right and that children are engaged, another step is needed – that is to plan for what you want children to accomplish as a result of this purposeful and engaging curriculum.