At Ernesettle Community School, we use Knowledge Organisers as a go-to document for each topic. The document identifies the key knowledge that children need to have learned by the end of a topic. It also acts as a tool to support children in retaining and retrieving knowledge for life-long learning.
Our teachers and subject leaders have developed our own Knowledge Organisers to support the delivery of our ambitious curriculum, with each one starting with knowledge children should already know from previous learning. Each organiser also has a quiz to help children recall the knowledge and a list of technical vocabulary with its definitions. They also contain a list of key ‘skills’ to be developed throughout the units including researching, observing, analysing and comparing. Teachers and subject leaders have ensured organisers are matched carefully to the abilities of each year group and follow the National Curriculum and coverage of learning for that topic. The Knowledge Organisers show clear progression in skills and knowledge year after year.
Why we do it…
In recent decades, cognitive scientists have confirmed the need for a knowledge-based curriculum for these 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 at once). For example, that is why we say learning your times tables by heart is helpful. Completing trickier calculations is made more simple if knowledge of tables is already ‘locked in’. In other words, the more your practise recalling information, the easier it will be to recall it quickly!
2. We learn new things by connecting them to old things
The way in which the brain stores new information and makes links and discoveries, is by connecting to existing stored knowledge (this is called schema). You cannot have skills without knowledge, because you cannot evaluate something you do not know anything about – in other words, you don’t know, what you don’t know! You also cannot come up with new ideas without connecting with existing ones.
At Ernesettle Community School we have made sure that our curriculum is grounded on this research to make sure your children learn in the very best way possible!