Tree of Life Vision and Values

The Tree of Life at Penn Wood School
The ‘Tree of Life’ visually represents the essence and vision of the school. We include all, celebrating diversity and minimising any barriers to learning. As the spirit of the school is totally inclusive, it is responsive to the varying needs and languages (approximately 30) of learners. The heart at the centre of the tree represents the all-important beliefs, attitudes and values of all learners. The tree is about the growth of the heart and mind - about a range of intelligences including emotional and spiritual intelligence.

Creative Learning at Penn Wood School
What does this mean?
Below tells you about our provision for children, what our teachers do and what our classrooms are like.
Our Vision is ‘Better Never Stops - Mastery Learning'.  This means knowing and respecting each child as a unique individual and building existing skills and abilities so that good  and rapid progress is made in all areas of learning.  The curriculum must be engaging and meaningful and prioritise the right things.   For example – language and literacy is at the heart of the curriculum and we want children to have good thinking and ICT skills for 21st century living.

First pillar: Communication, representation and expression                  
The children

  • The children regularly enjoy listening to stories, music and the views of others
  • The children have many opportunities to express their imagination (e.g. storytelling, drama and writing.)
  • The children regularly communicate in a variety of ways including the spoken word, a range of writing genres, art, dance and music
  • The children develop close observational skills that focus on fine detail in art work
  • The children develop spoken language and writing skills alongside the observation
  • The children use a good range of vocabulary in order to express ideas both verbally and within their writing
  • The children regularly draw upon a wide range of experiences in their work

First pillar: Communication, representation and expression
The teacher

  • Teachers plan opportunities for developing knowledge that allows for creativity
  • Teachers plan an opportunity to develop work from children’s needs or interests
  • Stories are used as starting points for creative projects
  • When working within the creative arts, teachers fully explore the links with literacy and numeracy
  • Teachers plan circle time and other discussion activities where pupils discuss feelings around difficult issues and each child's contribution is valued and built upon
  • Teachers have assessed in-service opportunities in order to promote high quality work within the strand of production, performance and presentation

First pillar: Communication, representation and expression
The classroom

  • The classroom has a rich range of resources which aid the development of high quality language work
  • Examples of creative writing are shared with pupils and are well displayed within the classroom
  • There is a wide range of children’s art and 3D work that is well displayed within the classroom
  • Where appropriate, there are well developed role play areas encouraging imaginative interpretation (including Key Stage 2)
  • Resources such as clay are provided to stimulate the imagination
  • There is sufficient space, time and commitment for potentially noisy or messy creative activities
  • There are also quiet times when children can reflect deeply upon their work and develop strategies for self-improvement

Second pillar:  Production, performance and presentation
The children

  • The children get regular opportunities to plan and present their own work to a wider audience
  • There are sufficient opportunities for children to fully develop their own ideas in an individual, original and imaginative way when producing and presenting their work
  • Children show high levels of independence, pride and perseverance within the process of a task
  • Children contribute effectively to discussions within the process of a task
  • There are opportunities for children to feel a strong sense of ownership in their work

Second pillar:  Production, performance and presentation
The teacher

  • Teachers use a variety of teaching styles and techniques to develop pupils’ creativity
  • Teachers have high expectations that allow pupils to take full responsibility for planning and presenting their work in a range of creative ways
  • Teachers regularly encourage children to share their ideas in learning
  • Genuine time is allowed for children to develop and modify their ideas
  • Teachers have assessed in-service opportunities in order to promote high quality work within the strand of production, performance and presentation

Second pillar:  Production, performance and presentation
The classroom

  • The classroom is a creative place where pupils regularly present and exhibit their work in a creative way
  • The classroom is designed for, and encourages, meaningful pupil collaboration
  • Displays in the classroom reflect both individual and group work
  • Examples of process are displayed (such as photographs, sketches or draft copies) which show the learning processes used by the children
  • These classroom displays are sometimes planned by the children and reflect the learning processes they have gone through
  • Displays and exhibitions of pupils’ creativity are labelled so that children, parents and governors are aware of the processes within the strand

Third pillar:  Thinking skills and problem solving
The children

  • Children regularly respond to problem solving challenges with enthusiasm
  • Children welcome new ideas and situations
  • The children persevere in order to find solutions
  • Skills and techniques are used in unusual ways
  • Children enjoy working with others to solve problems and also work through their ideas alone
  • Children evaluate and refine the ideas of others
  • Children regularly carry out mathematical investigations in a creative way
  • Children carry out their own scientific investigations
  • The children use ICT to help them to solve problems or refine their thinking
  • The children carry out high quality design technology work
  • The children express their ideas orally

Third pillar:  Thinking skills and problem solving
The teacher

  • The work is planned to encourage adaptability and so that children can transfer learning  from one subject area to another
  • Teachers provide a balance between closed and open-ended activities
  • Teachers provide encouragement for pupils who show exceptional ability
  • Teachers ensure that children are encouraged to take risks and that they feel supported on these occasions
  • Teachers have assessed in-service opportunities in order to promote high quality work within thinking skills and problem solving

Third pillar:  Thinking skills and problem solving
The classroom

  • The learning environment provides a secure basis for risk taking
  • Children can readily access appropriate mathematical resources
  • The classroom has a suitable range of science resources
  • The classroom allows for large scale construction play, designing and making
  • The classroom has interactive and thought provoking displays
  • The interactive whiteboard is used to develop thinking skills and problem solving in a creative way

Fourth pillar:  Universe, creation, awe and wonder
The children

  • Children draw upon aspects of the natural world to aid creative expression
  • Children draw upon aspects of the man-made world to aid creative expression
  • Children demonstrate aspects of creativity in different environmental settings including the classroom, playground and local visits
  • Children develop close observational skills including presenting in detail small parts of a larger object
  • Children develop descriptive language alongside these observations
  • Children demonstrate wonder, amazement and enthusiasm for learning

Fourth pillar:  Universe, creation, awe and wonder
The teacher

  • Teachers have freedom in the curriculum to respond to changes in seasons or the weather
  • Teachers regularly create opportunities for children to respond to the natural environment and to focus on plants and animals using multi- sensory skills
  • Teachers regularly create opportunities for children to respond to the man-made environment
  • Teachers plan cause and effect activities
  • Teachers develop children’s sensitivity to weather, mood and atmospheres; increasing their ability to respond emotionally and spiritually

Fourth pillar: Universe, creation, awe and wonder

The classroom

  • Teaching and learning frequently takes place in outside areas and away from the school site
  • The classroom reflects an appreciation of the natural and human world through its provision of resources, artefacts and visual imagery
  • Children are encouraged to use their creativity to develop their own local environments (classrooms, school grounds or community spaces)