At St Mary's Catholic Primary, we understand that a high-quality computing education is essential for pupils to understand modern information and communication technologies. We prepare our pupils for the 21st century to be safe, responsible, competent, confident and creative participants in an increasingly digital world, not just as accomplished consumers of technology, but also as skilled, enthusiastic and imaginative creators of technology.
We teach a curriculum that enables children to become skilled users of technology who can:
- Keep safe when using technology.
- Understand and apply the essential principles and concepts of Computer Science, including logic, algorithms and data representations.
- Analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems.
- Build knowledge of principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.
- Become digitally literate - able to use, express themselves and develop ideas through information and communication technology.
- Evaluate and apply information technology analytically to solve problems.
- Communicate ideas well by utilising software tools throughout all areas of the curriculum.
Our Computing teaching provides a wealth of learning opportunities and transferrable skills explicitly within the Computing lesson and across other curriculum subjects.
Wherever we can, links are made with “real-life” professions and contexts which rely on ICT to make Computing real, relevant and purposeful. We achieve this by providing a rich, diverse curriculum, underpinned by our school’s goal of enabling every member of our school family to have a ‘Love for Learning’.
Computing in the Early Years
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage separates learning and development into seven areas (three prime areas and four specific areas). The area that relates to computing and the use of ICT is in the, ‘understanding the world’ section and falls under the subsection ‘technology’ and it reads as follows:
‘Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes’.
At St Mary's Catholic Primary, we are big advocates of encouraging and developing ICT skills from an early age. Children have access to a range of technology in the early years classroom including (but not limited to) role play toys (hoovers, microwaves, tills, old mobile phones, washing machines etc), technology that is used throughout the school (such as photocopies, tablets, computers, interactive whiteboards) and resources that encourage children to develop programming skills (such as Beebots and remote control vehicles).
Although we do allow children to access technology as part of child initiated learning, we also plan for such learning opportunities. In our experience, we have found that the best practice is:
- Co-operative activity shared with another child or an adult
- Involves doing things together and giving opportunities to take turns
- Provides opportunity for talking and listening together -explaining, confirming, elaborating,
- Feeds the imagination
- Encourages further investigation and exploration
- Challenges and encourages solving problems
Children are taught how to use a variety of ICT equipment throughout the year and this knowledge is built upon in Year 1.
Cross-curricular links include: Pattern recognition, problem solving, data handling, the list goes on!
The National Curriculum states that children should “apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.” This allows pupils to see their computing skills come to life.
Instructional writing goes incredibly well with the teaching of algorithms. Working out how to break something down into steps, gives you the skills you need to write a successful algorithm.
Not only can pupils apply their Computing skills to create digital art, they can also explore the idea of abstraction; the removal of unnecessary detail, to view things in their simplest form.
The collection and organisation of data play a strong part in both Science and Computing and the subjects really complement one another. Not to mention the process of predicting, testing and reviewing in both subjects.
Free software and websites to help develop computing skills
Please see below a list of free software or websites that will help your child develop their computing skills.
Scratch Scratch is an increasingly popular programme that allows users to create games and animations.
Kodu Kodus is a free programme that allows users to create games. It is 3-D and is compatable with X-Box controllers.
Inkskape Inkskape is a free open source graphics editor. It is used in school predominantly as a design tool.
Sketch up Sketch up allows 3-D drawings to be created. It has been used this year in Computing lessons. It has also been used to support Mantle of the Expert lessons. As an example, Year 4 used this program to design and draw a new bridge linking Kent and Essex.
Terregan Classic Terregan is used to create realistic landscapes by controlling a variety of variables.
Audacity Audacity is used to create audio files. Children can record multi-layered mp3s. This is used in school to record music. It has been used to record audio stories with sound effects.
Isle of Tune Isle of Tune is available for both tablets and for desktop computers. Using this software children can create pieces of music with repeating patterns.
BBC Bitesize - Key Stage One BBC Primary Computing is an excellent website that discusses various topics related to coding.
BBC Bitesize - Key Stage Two BBC Primary Computing is an excellent website that discusses various topics related to coding.
Code.org UK is another excellent free website. Children are able to use this website to work through a series of tutorials looking at coding.
Scratch Great site for children to practise computing skills. Recommended for KS2
BBC Bitesize - What is the internet? Find out what the Intenet is...
BBC Bitesize - What is a computer? Find out what a computer is.
BBC Bitesize - How can a computer help you to learn?Find out more about using computers.
Blockly learn computer programming skills- fun and free
Idea Digital Awards Free mini online courses in subjects including computing
Hour of Code Learn to code with these short challenges
BBC Dance Mat Learn to touch type. Recommended for KS2