Connecting and linking knowledge
Not only has the choice of what knowledge to teach been carefully chosen, but so too has when it is taught. The content of our curriculum has been structured and sequenced so that new knowledge builds upon and links to prior knowledge. We have also designed our curriculum to enhance remembering over the long term. One way to achieve this is by attaching new knowledge to prior knowledge or, even better, we connect it to a network of familiar knowledge. Our long-term memory is made up of interconnected webs, known as schema. Our ability to build deep, wide schema is at the heart of learning. These webs of knowledge ease the acquisition of new, related information (by making knowledge ‘sticky’) and increase the ability to rapidly recall information. We make links explicit to children, where they are relevant and where they will enhance learning. Units of learning always start with the 'big picture' first, so that our pupils see the connections in their developing web of knowledge. Our two big curriculum ideas (see page 8) are a key mechanism for building threads and links within and between subjects and across year groups. We weave in these threads throughout the school to allow the pupils to see these explicitly and consolidate learnt material. Teachers are fully aware of the big ideas and they understand how the various bits of the puzzle fit together across different subject domains and over time. We see this as a more satisfying way of structuring learning: everyone can see how the learning today relates to a bigger story and it is more effective because the detail of today is more likely to stick when put into the context of the overall schema. Whilst the big ideas aim to span all subjects, we also specify key concepts for each of the subjects. We revisit these concepts at different points in school to help children build their understanding around these over the long term.
Explore our other Curriculum Principles: