Children come to us as toddlers. They will leave school as young adults, their personalities and potential largely determined by their experiences in school. The primary school years are perhaps the most significant. By the age of eleven the child has learnt how to read and has grasped the rudiments of number and quantity. But more than that she should have learnt to love reading, to be fascinated by numbers, and to enjoy finding out things in answer to her own questions. At Cambridge Primary School we believe that a successful child is one who wants to learn and that exploration is easily the best way to learn.
Nature study is quite literally the study of nature by growing flowers and vegetables, or bird-watching; mathematics is understood by actual measurement and estimation as much as by solving sums on paper; communication or language skills are developed through story telling, story reading and eventually the writing of original stories and poems; drama becomes a way of exploring relationships, and even resolving problems; the joy of music is discovered in full-throated song as well as by listening to tapes, videos and live concerts; and other regions and cultures are discovered as much through stories as by project activities.
Underlying our curriculum is the objective of developing character. By making friends or playing as a team, our children learn to love and trust. With the appreciation of cultural diversity they learn to accept other points of view. Through mathematics and science they learn the rigour of logic and discover their own place in the world of living things. By setting deadlines or goals for themselves they learn responsibility. In success, they learn that hard work is as important as talent and skill, and from setbacks they learn that success is never easy.
Eventually, the experience of school must be a happy one – a bored and listless child, an exhausted and overworked child, an aggressive and angry child or a frequently scolded child is not happy. We attempt to provide an environment where learning happens in response to an awakened interest and curiosity. This takes away the burden of study. We try to spark the child’s imagination with the best in art and nature, giving her the opportunity to express her own thoughts and feelings as well. This dissipates frustration and anger. And last but not the least, we keep our testing to a minimum: assessment is meant to find out how well children have learnt and not to scare them into doing what they otherwise dislike!