At Coleridge, we place the arts at the heart of our curriculum, knowing that in doing so, we allow all children to thrive at school, not just those who achieve academically.
Throughout our curriculum, we give the utmost priority to children’s emotional wellbeing; we recognise that the arts provide a constructive outlet for stress and anxiety, whilst also helping to develop social skills and boost confidence, and therefore ensure it is a prominent part of what we offer.
We believe wholeheartedly that our full and rich art curriculum enables children to develop their individuality and sense of self, and that the creativity, problem solving and freedom of thinking involved also increases their cognitive ability. Furthermore, by being encouraged to constructively critique their own and other artists’ work, they learn to respect themselves and each other.
Our art curriculum is taught in Years 1-6, and planned for in the EYFS, by two specialists, and all classes receive a full morning or afternoon of this expert art provision every other week, in one of our dedicated art rooms.
From the outset, children are taught the technical skills and knowledge required to explore their imagination, generate and create original ideas, and make considered judgements about their own work, as well as that of others. During their time at Coleridge, they will learn how to draw, paint, print, sculpt, collage and use textiles to invent and create their own varied works of art using a range of materials. In doing so, they will explore the formal elements – shape, line, pattern, colour, form, tone, space and texture. All topics are linked to other areas of the curriculum, such as the Ancient Greeks in History, Coastal Areas in Geography, and Space in Science.
Another important aspect of our art curriculum is that it provides children with the opportunity to explore the world around them, to learn about and appreciate their own cultural heritage and that of others, and to study the work of a range of artists, both contemporary and historical.
Highlights of the school arts year include art exhibitions (both in and outside of school), the whole school play every December, and the wealth of arts-based clubs on offer, including a nurture group for those children most in need.
You can find a more detailed breakdown of our art curriculum here.
Music is an integral part of everyday life and learning at Coleridge. We believe passionately in the importance of giving all our children every possible opportunity to develop their love, enjoyment and understanding of music. As well as the intrinsic value of musicality, its important contribution to children’s phonological awareness, language development and reading skills, and its transformative power in personal wellbeing and emotional development, all lie at the heart of our commitment to providing an excellent musical learning experience for our children.
Our music curriculum is carefully designed to ensure that each year children build their musical understanding and skills. This is centred around four key activities:
- Listening and responding
- Instrumental playing and performing
- Composing and improvising
Our sequenced approach, whereby children regularly practise and improve their skills in these four activities, enables them to expand their understanding of the eight key elements, or building blocks, of musical understanding:
- Pitch – how high or low notes are; how big the ‘jumps’ are between notes
- Duration – pulse (a regular beat), rhythms, long and short sounds
- Texture – single sounds or layers of sounds played together
- Timbre (tarm-br) – describing the different qualities of sounds
- Dynamics – from loud to quiet to silence
- Tempo – speed or pace of music and how it changes
- Structure – how music is arranged, e.g. verse and chorus, call and response
- Notation – how is represented in written or picture form
This deepened understanding in turn progressively improves their skills in singing, listening, playing and composing.
You can find a more detailed breakdown of our music curriculum here.
Singing lies at the heart of music at Coleridge. From the early years through to Year 6, children learn and perform songs in class singing sessions, as part of their music curriculum lessons, and in weekly singing assemblies. Our Year 2 and Junior Choirs perform each year at our Carol Concert, and the Junior Choir has also performed at numerous local events, as well as at the O2 and the Royal Albert Hall. The annual school play provides further choir and solo singing opportunities for our Key Stage 2 children.
Children have the opportunity to experiment, play, improvise and compose using percussion instruments in their regular class music lessons. All children in Years 3 also learn the ukulele. In addition to this, through Haringey Music Service, we offer individual instrumental lessons in recorder, guitar, trumpet, flute, violin, cello and French horn. Children who have been learning an instrument for a year or more can join our weekly Tuesday morning orchestra, and our annual school play gives our more talented instrumental players the chance to shine in the accompanying band.
How music works alongside other subjects
Our approach to music at Coleridge is rooted in the intrinsic value of musical understanding and skills in their own right. However, there are explicit and implicit links with a number of other areas of the curriculum.
English, phonological awareness, language development and early reading
Learning songs and rhymes, and the impact this has on children’s phonological development, puts singing and music at the heart of our early years provision. However, we have early readers at all stages of the school and regular class singing sessions, singing assemblies, and music lessons ensure that all children continue to benefit from singing frequently and having regular exposure to written lyrics of the songs they learn too. In a number of composition and notation activities based around songs, pulse and rhythms, children focus on words and syllables to support both their musical and linguistic understanding.
The transformative power of music, and particularly collective singing, is well-known, and this very much informs the importance we place on singing and music-making. Furthermore, many songs learned throughout the school, e.g. Lean On Me, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel (To Be Free), I’ve Got a Grumpy Face, Sunshine In My Heart, reference the school’s core values and some of the subject themes addressed in PSHE lessons.
A number of our music curriculum units (e.g. Temples, Tombs and Treasures, The Earth Our Home, Victorians) link explicitly with History and Science units of work. However, the foremost priority of our curriculum design is very much on the development of musical understanding, with such links to other subjects being a secondary benefit rather than a principal consideration.
Black History Month
Year 6 study a unit based around a number of songs from different African countries in Autumn 1. All year groups pick at least one song by well-known black artists to sing, listen to and learn about for Black History Month.