Our approach and philosophy is evidence informed
At Nanstallon we strive to be a school that is ready for children. We stand by the principles of The Circle of Courage to ensure that every child feels they belong; that they are valued; that they have something to contribute; that they have the freedom to be themselves; to develop independence; that they can gain a mastery of important life skills, find and follow their interests – which we encourage – and learn to read and gain number sense.
Learning ‘what’ and ‘how’ is driven by:
- Curiosity – drives acquisition of information
- Playfulness – drives skill learning
- Sociability – connecting with others to know and share
Our positive behaviour for learning approach, curriculum plans and design including our unique life skills curriculum has the principles of QI skills at their heart. Named after the Chinese concept of qi (pronounced ‘chi’) — which translates as positive life force or energy — the seven-point skill set is rooted in core childhood experiences.
Every child has their own digital journal. We use the Seesaw platform. Children are able to fully express their learning across the whole curriculum. They use drawing, video, voice recording, and more to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding – from Reception to Year 6. Teaching staff can create content, challenges, links and much much more. They can use Seesaw to provide feedback using voice recording, text and video tutorials.
Seesaw enables family engagement. Parents can see the learning, give feedback, and share home learning.
7 QI SKILLS
ME WE WILL WHY? WIGGLE WOBBLE WHAT IF?
ME Skills are all about learning self-awareness by developing attention, focus, and self-control.
WE Skills are most notably represented by the abilities to communicate, collaborate, and empathise with others. They also encompass connectedness, teamwork, relationships, perspective taking, and the ability to read people. Strong WE Skills are what ultimately make it possible for us to listen to, better understand, communicate with, relate well to, and consider others’ points of view.
Commitment, conscientiousness, determination, gumption, persistence, perseverance, and focus put WILL into action. WILL Skills are highly dependent on ME Skills because they inherently require attention, focus, and self-control. And when we look to the very heart of WILL, we find motivation.
WHY is a demonstration of inquisitiveness and curiosity in many forms. Asking how, what, who, and when as well as why falls under this skill’s umbrella.
WIGGLE is a concept of learning and motion going hand in hand. We use action words to describe ideas, goals, and cognitive abilities: we appreciate those who cognitively take baby steps or big leaps forward as moving in the right direction; we recognise the need to allow for wiggle room in both a conceptual as well as a physical sense; and we actively encourage setting stretch goals and reaching for the stars. Successful entrepreneurs are admired for their hustle and are described as being in constant motion. We recognise movers and shakers as people who get the job done, we place high value on and we cheer on those who take action, are active listeners, and so on.
WOBBLE skills embrace the risk of making mistakes, developing resilience and trying to accomplish new feats that are beyond our current capacities.
WHAT IF is the ability to see opportunities and possibilities—not just problems—and believe that if you can imagine it, then you can create it or achieve it.
CHILD-LED LEARNING THROUGH PLAY AND COLLABORATION
Our learning environment both outside and inside is set up to maximize ‘hands-on’ learning opportunities through play. We don’t underestimate the power of play and value it for the rich learning experience that it is.
Play is the means by which children learn what they need to know.
- By watching, observing and incorporating what they see in their play.
- They play physically with their imagination, they play with language; they hear it, play with it and become good at it.
- They build, construct, they play games and construct rules, create and vary rules.
- Moral lessons are learned through play. We are social creatures so we have to learn at a young age how to get along and balance each other’s needs and pay attention to each other.
Our sensory integrated learning environment is matched to the needs of our children; when designing our environment we focus through universal lenses ensuring that we are inclusive of the needs of children with learning barriers or that may have suffered trauma.
The concept of continuous provision extends into key stage 1 and 2. The provision is enhanced by COOL tasks (choose our own learning / carry on our learning) which provide choice and enable both pupil’s interests to be followed and for thinking and challenge to extend beyond the intentional curriculum to capitalise on informal and incidental learning.
Collaborative Decision Making (CDM)
Built on the principle of Article 12 from the United Nations Conventions of the rights of the child (UNCRC)
Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously
- Children and teachers share decision-making to harness and increase motivation
- Each class is a parliament
- Each parliament meets to make decisions about curriculum, conduct, the learning environment and many other aspects
This ‘communal metacognition’ around participation is an invaluable opportunity for pupils’ cognitive, emotional and social development and time spent on this kind of discussion will greatly strengthen learning and cohesion in the class.
Geraldine Rowe, Educational Psychologist and author of ‘It’s our time, It’s our school’.