At Kingmoor, we aim to inspire children to have a sense of awe and wonder when describing and explaining the natural world and we work to provide them with the knowledge, skills and understanding to access and explore this world. Children are natural scientists, instinctively developing concepts based on first hand exploration. We involve children in a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities which are practical, relevant and satisfying, building on their natural curiosity, and making opportunities to evaluate what they have found out for a real audience.
Careful planning targets a progression in knowledge and working scientifically skills from nursery to Year 2. Science-based learning in the Early Years is mostly encompassed within the ‘Understanding the World’ area of learning but other areas of learning also develop the working scientifically skills needed to become a confident scientist, e.g. developing explanations in ‘Speaking’, answering questions in ‘Understanding’ or using tools in ‘Moving and handling’. Characteristics of effective learning are of central importance, as good scientists need to be confident to play/explore, think critically and be active learners. In KS1, Science is a core subject in its own right but it also encompasses essential concepts, knowledge and skills that help other learning to take place effectively. Science is intrinsically linked to SMSC and it fosters a positive attitude to valuing individuality and our community. Children have the opportunity to attend the Cumbria Youth Climate Change Summit.
Children are encouraged to develop an awareness of and concern for their environment. Personalising and localising learning is important to building children’s science capital and we are lucky to not only have extensive school grounds that offer ample opportunity to study the local environment, but Kingmoor Nature Reserve is a dominant feature in our school community’s everyday life and so we can place it at the centre of our science learning to ensure an outstanding science school curriculum. Teachers have received Forest School training and our work has been officially recognised by the Woodland Trust.
Discussion is a key tool in learning and structured prompts for this are used in bright ideas slots. We utilise highly commended programmes such as Explorify and Concept Cartoons to challenge children to use higher order thinking skills. We may ask them to discuss which is the odd one out in a set of pictures or answer big questions like ‘why are there no lions in Kingmoor Woods?’
All children at Kingmoor will be prepared for life in this increasingly scientific world: having the foundational knowledge needed but also knowing they can ask questions and make changes in the wider world. We are dedicated to raising the whole school community’s engagement in science and our aim is to inspire children to consider a future as a scientist; broadening students’ aspirations has to begin early as this is when children’s conceptions of science have been shown to form. We utilise STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) learning initiatives to do this: STEM skills are used in lots of aspects of our lives – from construction to going to Mars, and we put these skills to the test through inviting STEM ambassadors from local industries and centres of learning into school to help with family challenge days. We also participate in the Primary Engineer Competition and are a member of the Royal Society Schools’ Network. We also bring cutting edge, current science into the classroom through our regular Kingmoor Science News which presents current science news in an understandable format. We continually have high-quality interactive class displays.
We further enrich the science curriculum at Kingmoor through after school clubs and a variety of visits or visitors: the whole school gets involved in British Science Week and Science Fairs, we visit Caerlaverock Wetland Centre and Croft Farm to learn about different habitats and have experiences such as lambing first-hand, we have regular visitors from Oak Tree Animal Farm, Zoolab, the Meteorological Society and Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and we use Tullie House’s loan box scheme to have real-life natural history exhibits of birds and mini-beasts in our classrooms. As a member of the CSP science group, there are regular inter-school science events for children to experience. We also plant throughout the year for children to experience growth from seeds and bulbs, including entering the Grow Your Own Potatoes competition.