“Children have real understanding only of that which they invent themselves.” ~ Jean Piaget
Our practical and exciting Design and Technology curriculum engages all children enabling them to become designers by teaching them the skills to bring their imaginative ideas to life and is underpinned by our school vision and values. It gives them an insight into how products are made and how they are used within our society. At New Milton Infant School, our curriculum is ambitious for all children. All of our learners are exposed to a range of opportunities and life skills, from sewing to baking, whilst drawing on knowledge from other subject areas such as science, computing and art. Our aim is to encourage children to experiment, take risks, persevere and have ownership of their learning .We nurture a self and peer evaluative approach so children are able to improve their learning within a supportive environment, promoting self belief and respect. The high quality education at our school provides all children with the foundations to understand how Design and Technology contributes to the creativity, culture and wealth of the wider world.
In Early Years Foundation Stage children begin to learn the skills that will support them as they continue their Design and Technology journey in Key Stage One through the Expressive Arts and Design element of the Early Years curriculum:
- Explore, use and refine a variety of artistic effects to express their ideas and feelings.
- Return to and build on their previous learning, refining ideas and developing their ability to represent them.
- Create collaboratively, sharing ideas, resources and skills.
Teaching and learning also supports children in their physical development as they learn to use tools competently and safely. Adults model skills and techniques, such as different ways of joining materials and children are given the opportunity to explore and gain confidence in these new techniques independently during their continuous provision. The classroom environment encourages this by providing children with tools and resources they can easily choose as they create. Adults observe, support and encourage children where appropriate as they develop the characteristics of effective learning during the creation process.
In Key Stage One children continue their learning journey by following a design, make and evaluate cycle when teaching Design and Technology. Our carefully planned curriculum is sequential to provide opportunities to secure knowledge. Each part of this cycle plays a pivotal role in our children’s learning and enables them to achieve. Whilst our teachers model new skills, exploration is also vital, particularly for our children with additional needs who may need this valuable time to consolidate previous skills.
Children for whom English is an additional language will be exposed to new vocabulary prior to a class activity to allow them time to explore and understand new terminology. Our children will have a clear idea of who they are designing, making their product for and the functionality of it. They are given the time to experiment with existing products and various tools, techniques and materials and use their findings to inform their next steps, particularly in the design and making processes. This allows our children to practise making sensible choices independently to shape their own learning and provides them with the opportunity to have real ownership over their work. As with all high quality teaching, effective questioning helps our children to think carefully about their task and provides opportunity to challenge our more able pupils. Discussions are a valuable part of our approach to teaching and we encourage our children to evaluate their final products honestly. For SEND children who may find writing challenging, we provide scaffolds and other ways of recording evaluations, e.g. pictorially, in order to maximise all children’s learning and help shape reflective learners.
Our rigorous Design and Technology curriculum enables all children at our school to have the opportunity to experiment with various tools and mechanisms that feature in existing products they use and apply these to their own learning. Therefore our children make the best possible progress from their individual starting points, embedding new knowledge from EYFS through to Year 2. They learn the importance of choice and how best to approach a task in order to achieve the desired outcome. By teaching our children about food and nutrition they learn how to lead healthy lifestyles. Pupils’ progress in design and technology is assessed throughout each unit and these combined assessments contribute to an overall view of how well children are achieving in design and technology. This assessment is communicated to parents each year in the mid-year report. Evaluation is a key part of our curriculum and therefore Design and Technology at New Milton Infant School helps children to become reflective individuals with a sound knowledge of valuable life skills, ready for Key Stage 2 and beyond.