"The things that make me different are the things that make me." (Winnie the Pooh)
Education holds children at its heart. We recognise the importance of a high-quality life skills education, from Early Years to Key Stage 2, that gives children the tools required to have the best possible life. As our children progress, they are equipped with relevant learning experiences and skills required to live happy and healthy lives. They develop the agency needed to make their way through the world and positive relationships with themselves and others. Through a strong emphasis on emotional literacy, building resilience and nurturing mental and physical health, children learn to understand and value how they fit into and contribute to this ever-changing world. At Chalklands, we have decided to call this subject Life Skills, instead of the traditional PSHE because it is more meaningful for the children, is all encompassing with RSE and SMSC, and strengthens the links children can make between previous learning through a holistic approach that runs through all aspects of school life.
By the time our pupils leave us at the end of Key Stage 2, the Chalklands Life Skills Curriculum ensures they:
- understand and value their sense of identity, and how they fit into and contribute to the world and wider community
- are well-rounded, emotionally attentive adults of the future
- are equipped with the knowledge and skills to advance their emotional awareness, concentration, focus and self-regulation
- are resilient and tolerant towards local, national, and global spiritual, moral, social and cultural challenges
- have built their confidence, self awareness, and self-identity whilst learning how to nurture mental and physical health
- are prepared for life and know and value who they are and understand how they relate to other people in this ever-changing world
- have thrived in a safe and respectful environment where all voices are heard and valued.
For those teaching Life Skills, supported by comprehensive planning resources, the Chalklands Life Skills Curriculum aims to develop the passion and knowledge needed to inspire the children they teach, confidence with both what they are teaching and how to teach it, the expertise required to establish meaningful relationships with their children, and the support to champion their children.
The PSHE/Life Skills Curriculum encompasses the DFE Personal, Social, Health and Economic education guidance, and the statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education guidance. The acquisition and development of PSHE/Life Skills knowledge and skills begins in the Early Years - in particular, within the area of learning entitled ‘understanding the world’. Here we create an ethos of curiosity, exploration, and a love of learning through purposefully planned responses to children’s interests, continuous provision, high quality interactions, real-life experiences and a stimulating, enabling, language-rich indoor and outdoor learning environment.
A well-delivered Life Skills programme starting at EYFS and continuing to the end of Key Stage 2, is based on the ‘Jigsaw’ scheme which has an impact both on academic and non-academic outcomes.
Life Skills planning at Whyteleafe is grouped into 6 units of work:
- Being Me
- Celebrating Difference
- Dreams and Goals
- Healthy Me
- Changing Me
We value our Life Skills Curriculum as a key method in supporting children’s development as human beings, to enable them to understand and respect who they are, to empower them with a voice and to equip them for life and learning. At Whyteleafe School, each class has a dedicated Life Skills lesson each week in order to teach the Life Skills knowledge and skills in a developmental and age-appropriate way. These are taught by class teachers or by other trained staff as appropriate to the theme, such as the school’s Thrive Practitioners who plan activities with children to support their mental health.
Our aim at Whyteleafe is for our pupils to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, teamwork and critical thinking in the context of learning and this links with our unique Whyteleafe wheel of learning and Whyteleafe behaviour sapphires (see diagrams below).