A curriculum is considered to be at the “heart” of any learning institution, therefore as a school, we view our curriculum as the core framework around which all aspects of our pupils’ education and development revolve.
At Eden Village Prep, we have focussed our curriculum on cultivating learner agency. When pupils realise their actions have the power to make a difference, they become more confident, engaged, and effective learners. This in turn motivates pupils to become the masters of their own learning, and so begins their exciting journey of seeking and mastering new skills, and developing self-belief in their ability to make effective choices which have the potential to make a difference in the world.
In order for our pupils to graduate as intrinsically motivated, independent learners who are well-rounded, forward-thinking, competent, adaptable, authentic, resilient and innovative global thinkers, it is essential that their 21st century skills are instilled and honed.
In the development of skills, we place a focus on the following seven key 21st century capabilities: problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, growth mindset and ubuntu. The balance of our pupils’ education will evolve as a product of how they are being taught in the classroom, together with their social interactions on the playground, sports field and organised social events.
21st century skills refer to a wide range of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed to be critically important to succeed in today’s rapidly advancing world.
The importance of these skills is summarised below:
1. Problem Solving
Teaching and conditioning our pupils to embrace and solve problems “on the fly”.
Why it is important:
In the future, with an ever-increasing rate of change, challenges that we cannot even make sense of will be present in all spheres of our existence. The more we focus on our pupils’ ability to think on their feet and respond with effective solutions to real-world problems, the more successful those pupils will become. Developing a range of practical problem-solving techniques at a young age, will result in these skills becoming innate abilities, that can be quickly and instinctively applied to problems as they are encountered.
2. Critical Thinking
Conversely, we also believe in exposing pupils regularly to opportunities where they are taught to gather relevant information, sort through the data and then reach a conclusion or make and explain a decision without supervision.
Why it is important: We believe that constant exposure to situations where our pupils are called upon to analyse a situation in order to deeply understand the factors that cause, aggravate or perpetuate a problem, will provide them with a firm foundation from which to embark on creative problem solving and the development of innovation solutions. Furthermore critical thinking has been described as the lifeblood of the most essential workplace skills, including problem solving, decision making, good judgment and sound analysis. Organisations that can attract, retain and develop the best critical thinkers have a significant and measurable competitive advantage in the business world.
Pupils need to be able to dream, think freely and work creatively in a variety of different environments to develop unique and useful solutions.
Why it is important:
A rapidly evolving landscape generates a range of problems and opportunities, that will be addressed by those members of our society that are confident, prepared and able to think creatively (laterally / out the box). At EVPS we believe in encouraging our pupils to step off the path of linear thinking to ask “Why?”. We teach pupils to embrace their imagination, to challenge assumptions and circumvent the trap of always confronting a problem head-on, and in so doing enable them to seek, test and implement innovative solutions to unconventional problems.
Crucially important for pupils, is the ability and appetite to analyse, problem solve and create solutions as a team. At EVPS we teach pupils to accept collaboration as an important and necessary habit, thus priming our pupils to eventually lead or become part of a team that impacts their communities in a positive manner.
Why it is important:
Often a solution or an opportunity will be addressed more effectively and at a faster rate, when there is active collaboration amongst a team of individuals each possessing qualities, skills, experience and talents that are not present to a single person. Similarly, by embracing diversity in the form of race, ethnicity, gender, etc., there is a strong possibility that the end solution will more likely address the problem or opportunity in a far more effective manner.
Connection and collaboration with others are essential not only to a pupil’s learning, but also to their mental and emotional health. This kind of interaction goes hand-in-hand with the mindset of global awareness. In other words, better collaborators make better pupils—and better citizens.
At EVPS we believe that pupils must be able to communicate not just with text or speech, but in multiple formats.
Why it is important:
Teaching our pupils to become good communicators sets them up for success when it comes to engaging with other people. Whether investigating a problem or an opportunity, collaborating on a solution or making an effort to create change or effect an outcome, being a strong communicator will smooth the way. Throughout our pupil’s tenure at EVPS we work hard to embed the following traits into their style and skillset: to be approachable, to listen actively, to respond in a clear, specific and succinct manner – only when you are sure of your answer. We look at communication across multiple platforms and how to adapt accordingly, setting them up for more sophisticated modes of interaction as they move closer to high school.
6. Growth Mindset
A growth mindset drives motivation and achievement.
Why it is important:
By teaching our pupils to develop a growth mindset, they understand and believe that their knowledge and abilities can be developed through dedication, effort and perseverance. They will become more inclined to not only make an effort, but to stay the course when the going gets tough. As children realise that they become more capable of dealing with obstacles, the more they learn and apply themselves. At Eden Village Prep we teach our pupils to ask questions, develop strategies, to take measured risks and rebound quickly after a setback.
Inspiring and instilling a strong sense of Citizenship remains a high priority at Eden Village Prep.
Why it is important:
In a world that is often characterised by corruption and greed, a shift in societal mindset is required to ensure personal and commercial motives include a proactive, positive focus on the upliftment of our local and global social environments. We believe it is our responsibility to teach our pupils to investigate and understand complex global challenges, and be motivated to identify opportunities to make a positive impact on society wherever possible.
Positioning our Curriculum to develop 21st Thinking Capabilities
CAPS is our foundation curriculum which we tweak and expand on, and this ensures that our country’s diversity and national cultures are embedded in all that we teach.
At EVPS we make every effort to ensure that both our teachers and pupils are developed in sync with our constantly evolving world. For this reason, our curriculum is a “working document” and this allows us to ensure that we are not only reviewing what works and what does not, but that we are making room for the relevant and current global topics. It allows us to keep up with the constantly changing trends in education, technology and the skills our children will need to become independent and meaningful global citizens. We want our pupils to be mentally, emotionally and intellectually prepared and capable of making a difference in the world, and not merely exist.
As we develop our school curriculum, we intentionally seek input and collaboration from all our stakeholders (teachers, pupils and parents), thus ensuring we identify strengths and weaknesses, gaps and opportunities to introduce relevant and appropriate material into our curriculum.
Starting with our teachers, we invest in their development in the latest research in education. We also invite the team to share their best practices, knowledge and resources with one another, and during this process we sample, test, tweak, validate and gain alignment across the various phases of the teaching faculties.
A good curriculum allows teachers across all grade levels to focus on the bigger picture of learning. This allows for the reinforcement of knowledge which will ensure that our pupils are prepared for what is coming next. It also allows for us to collect data by setting specific goals for our pupils, which helps us as a school determine whether our routines and strategies that are in place are allowing for successful learning to take place. A good curriculum also ensures that teachers are able to get a better understanding of what is happening in their classrooms, pupils know where they stand, and parents are kept up-to-date.
Subject integration also plays a vital role in any curriculum, as this allows for a deeper understanding and consolidation of knowledge to be acquired. In real life, nothing is done in isolation and we need to ensure that our children are adept at integrating and using their skills holistically.
Pivotal to our curriculum and teaching objectives at EVPS is STEAM, an acronym that describes our approach to teaching that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to guide student inquiry, discussion, and problem-solving.
This bold approach to education intends to erase the lines that traditionally divide academic subjects and provides pupils with the opportunity to combine concepts and knowledge from across different disciplines to create deeper understanding and solve real world problems through meaningful, engaged learning.
We are confident that our approach to continual curriculum development and implementation, blended with the talented teaching team who deliver our learning programmes, guided by our positive school culture and highly experienced leadership team, will ensure that we prepare our pupils for their future by providing an engaging learning environment that grows them academically, emotionally, physically and attitudinally.