Fifteen years after providing a supportive, exploratory, enjoyable and educational experience at Acorn House from nursery to primary, three years ago we decided to accept the challenges of creating a balanced middle school dual curriculum, extending the work done in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 to KS3 learning cycle. Working in conjunction with well-prepared colleagues, supported by trustful parents we were able to provide the fusion of two systems: Anglo-Saxon and Italian. We propose two distinct curricula, with similar methodologies, yet still differentiated. Two curricula that run in parallel helping students to gain a larger vision of the knowledge. Helping them to gain analytical abilities, promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural development and preparing pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of their later life. At Acorn House teachers develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote students’ understanding and skills development as part of the common aims of both curricula, setting high expectations for every pupil. At Acorn House we believe that it is extremely important for students today to be exposed to a high-quality education both in English and in Italian. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development and at Acorn House the learning time dedicated to this core subject when considering both curricula is doubled. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know in any other subject. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
One of our major aim is to support young students with the necessary skills to become the adults of tomorrow – free and prepared to face the world with curiosity. It is this same curiosity that guides the planning of the Italian Middle School cycle: the subjects and teachings are, in this respect, enriched by field experience. For example, the Project on Journalism which run through the length of the three years’ cycle sees the children as protagonists and detainers of Information that are then delivered through TV News, a school newspaper or a web journal depending from the age of the students belonging to different classes. The workshops, the yearly participation to Bocconi Math games, the daily use of digital tools, school field trips and group activities are all aimed at supporting students interest and challenge as well as creating team building skills in an international and forefront teaching method. Another strong point that characterises the Acorn House philosophy, shared by all our KS3/Middle school teaching team is based on the idea that each student is unique and expresses him/herself in a different way, needing to be challenged and stimulated or supported in order to be successful and fully involved in the learning. Teachers at Acorn House stretch the work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard, but they also plan an appropriate challenge for those ones who may have a lower level of attainment, supporting each of their students towards setting and reaching personal targets in every subjects, nurturing their desire to learn and deepen their knowledge. With a view of sharing cultures and ideas, the educational offer of the Italian curriculum takes shape and following the Italian Educational Minister guideline Acorn House Italian curriculum in middle school includes the study of educational disciplines such as Science and Technology, Mathematics, Italian Literature, Myth and Epic, History, Geography, Art History, Music, Spanish and Grammar. These subjects have various point of contact with the Anglo-Saxon curriculum, thus creating an open and formative dialogue between the two systems and cultures, strongly enriching each student who is exposed to two different way of approaching topics that are complementary. Below are charts outlining and summarising the division of annual objectives for those courses belonging to the Italian Curriculum. By the end of key stage 3, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study. Details of each subject yearly planning are made available to families and students before starting a new school year.
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