Thinking in the Junior School: How we are becoming smarter
As part of educating our pupils as individuals who share a love of learning, our approach in the Junior School is to foster the development of multiple dimensions of their abilities. Some examples of these would be: using information technology as part of global best-practice; developing study skills; reflecting on academic growth in order to inform future goals; nurturing the technical and performance skills of Art, Music and Drama; and participating in Public Speaking, Literary, Mathematics and General Knowledge fun events.
We have implemented the teaching of Prime Maths (based on Singapore Maths), from grades one to five, as a way of facilitating deep conceptual understanding within a problem-solving framework.
Kingsmead has been acknowledged as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in its endeavour to develop and integrate the explicit teaching of thinking skills and dispositions towards learning. It was under the auspices of the University of Exeter, in England, that we were granted our international ‘Thinking School Status’. As a consequence, we are active members of a global approach to learning; with the ultimate goal being our learners’ growth as independent and skilled problem-solvers, who love learning and have fun while asking questions and searching for answers.
The awarding of our ‘Thinking School Status’ was the culmination of four years of rigorous work in developing our school as one that is focused on this whole-school approach. Our staff has had extensive training and the teaching of ‘Thinking’ is now an integral part of who, and what, we are as a school. Our approach is informed by the ‘Growth Mind-Set’ philosophy- believing that, through deliberate practice, effort and good teaching, we continue to grow our intelligence throughout our lives and effectively become smarter.
Our growth as a mindful school community has been based on:
Some suggested reading:
Exeter University: Becoming a Thinking School
16 Habits of Mind
Mindful by Design
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
Head of Academics Junior School