Mount Hawke Academy – a knowledge-based curriculum for all
What we do...
At Mount Hawke Academy, we are proud to have a knowledge-based curriculum which stimulates our children into asking searching questions, shapes their learning and enables them to develop into independent thinkers and learners. Our curriculum is engaging, exciting and innovative, encompassing and celebrating all curriculum areas, helping to ensure that our children develop the knowledge and skills they need to excel, and become creative and curious citizens.
We have designed our curriculum ourselves, in the Mount Hawke way, following the National Curriculum to encompass knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live, and also to consider the events that have shaped it in the past to make it what it is today. Our learning has been designed to complement and build on past learning, with clear progression and links so that in subsequent year groups our children will be able to explore concepts more deeply, applying their knowledge in different contexts.
Our community is at the heart of our teaching and learning, and topics have been selected to embrace the wider community in which we live - celebrating our diverse family, our links with our area – as well as expanding children's knowledge of events and places they wouldn't ordinarily visit or know about.
Why we do it...
In recent decades, cognitive scientists have confirmed the need for a knowledge-based curriculum for two reasons:
1. Knowledge frees up your brain's capacity for thinking
Cognitive scientists have found that our brain works at different speeds, depending on whether we have learned something already, or whether we are relying on "working memory". Working memory is new information you can keep in your head and is very limited (holding between three and seven pieces of new information). That is why learning the multiplication facts by heart is useful. Completing more complex calculations is made more simple if knowledge of these is already 'locked in'.
2. We learn new things by connecting them to old things
The way in which the brain stores new information, and makes inferences and discoveries, is by connecting to existing stored knowledge (schema). You cannot have skills without knowledge, because you cannot evaluate something you do not know anything about. You also cannot come up with new ideas without jumping off existing ones.