Science here at Whitehall is taught with the aim to help support, guide and encourage our young budding scientists to develop enthusiasm and a lifelong love for the subject. Young children are naturally curious and inquisitive about the world around them and at Whitehall we want our children to continue to develop enthusiasm for science discovery that will stay with them into the future.
We want science to provide children with exciting and engaging first-hand experiences that encourage discovery through play, asking questions, exploration and simple problem-solving skills.
Our broad and balanced curriculum builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children is delivered through half termly Cornerstones topics. During each lesson prior learning is revisited and built upon to deepen children’s scientific knowledge. Although Cornerstones topics are used to aid the delivery of science, staff use assessment for learning after each lesson to ensure that learning knowledge and skills are embedded and adapt planning where necessary.
The delivery of the science curriculum supports children to develop skills in other areas of the curriculum e.g. D&T skills when children use their knowledge and understanding of materials to design items for a specific purpose and maths skills when measuring during investigations and then recording and analysing results.
In order to enrich our science curriculum we offer extra-curricular science clubs where children have weekly practical investigations to complete at home. These also encourage parental engagement in science activities with children at home. We develop partnerships with external providers that extend children’s opportunities for learning, hold special science days, offer offsite learning opportunities and provide opportunities for children to develop their science learning using the outdoor school environment.
In Early Years, children are introduced to a wide-raging vocabulary that categorises and describes the natural world. These words provide the ‘seeds’ for developing scientific concepts that will be built on in later years. In Nursery and Reception, through mainly child led discovery we encourage children to be curious and ask questions about what they notice.
Through their play, opportunities are found to support children to explore the natural world around them, problem solve, make observations, predict, and talk about they notice. They are also supported to understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter. These opportunities are further developed through teacher led topic based planning.
In Key Stage One, children’s understanding of scientific ideas are further developed when they are supported to use different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They also begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out.
Our curriculum enables children to have fun, engaging, first hand experiences of science which lead them to be enthusiastic and eager to question and make new discoveries about the world around them. Children learn to understand that science is something they experience everyday and they develop the confidence to use and apply their knowledge and skills to their daily lives, local environment and the world in which they live. We want to foster a life long love for science and through community links we want our children to be introduced to the possibilities for careers in science.