At Our Lady & St Patrick's, our key intention is to use our local area as a starting point for learning:
We recognise that many of our children have life experiences that are quite limited, and restricted to the immediate vicinity where they live. To make our topics and learning themes relevant, and to get the most from the amazing area in which we live, we try to explore important local places and events wherever possible. For example: the beauty of the Lake District; the poetry of Wordsworth; the magnificence of the Titanic and our maritime links, the impact of the Romans in our area; the Victorian heritage of our town.
From these local starting points and experiences, we strive to expand children’s knowledge and understanding more widely as they grow through school, allowing them opportunities to make links to national and international places, people and events.
As a Coastal area, we also try to optimise this unique location as much as we can, to enhance the children's learning. This can be through visits to our local beaches and to the shore-line to hunt for fossils. It can be through train rides up and down the coast for our younger children - for example Early Years have a holiday on the beach at Silloth and our Year 2 children travel down the coast to St Bees by train, to enjoy a day on the beach.
We also visit other local coastal harbour towns such as Whitehaven to find out about their geographical features, such as their harbour. We also visit their museums to discover their historical links; for example by visiting The Rum Story, which teaches our Year 6 children about local links to the Slave Trade. Children across all year groups also visit our local Aquarium to study the marine life of our Coast.
In Geography, when considering why people enjoy visiting the Seaside on holiday, our younger children begin by travelling by train up and down the cost to our local seaside resorts of St Bees, Allonby and Silloth. As they move through school, children then begin to compare and contrast these local resorts with holidays in places further afield, studying Italy and Greece as popular Mediterranean holiday destinations.
Likewise, in History, our younger children begin by finding out about their own town through history walks.
An example of this is Key Stage One children visiting the local harbour, houses and Maritime Museum, discovering first-hand the town’s maritime history, as well as its links to The Titanic. Moving through school, when considering how the town has changed over time in greater depth, the children carry out field trips and visits to look for signs of the past in the buildings and architecture around us.
Another example is when Year 4 learn about the Romans and visit our own Local Roman Museum to find out about the impact these people had on our own town and local area, as well as branching out to discover their impact nationally and globally. This is further reinforced in Year 5, when children have the opportunity to stay in a Youth Hostel on Hadrian’s Wall and visit the Roman Ruins at Vindolanda.
Our Residential Visits, which begin in Year 3, also start off locally, with a visit to Castlerigg and its amazing Stone Circle, as well as the opportunity to visit the town of Keswick, which offers a vivid contrast to our own local town of Maryport,