The Junior School curriculum at Watson’s is based firmly on the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. Central to this are the three pillars of Health and Wellbeing, Literacy and Numeracy.
We have strong links with the local community which allow our children to access professional expertise.
These along with the other areas of the curriculum are woven together by our programme of cross-curricular themes, providing children with opportunities to learn in depth about people in different times, places and cultures, and developing their understanding and skills in science and the technologies. We also have strong links with the local community which allow our children to access professional expertise.
Health and Wellbeing
Programmes of study for Personal and Social Development and Health Education throughout the Junior School seek to increase our pupils' awareness of their growth both as individuals and as members of society.
Physical Education is taught from Nursery to Primary 7 by specialist PE Staff. Hockey and Rugby begin in Primary 6 and matches are played at home and away against other schools. Swimming is part of the curriculum from Primary 3.
Programmes are in place to tackle sensitive issues, such as relationships, bullying, loss, child protection and digital safety.
Skill in Literacy is fundamental to children’s learning across the curriculum. In the early years, we use reading schemes which ensure our children will engage confidently with a range of styles of text. Our programme of cross-curricular themes provides contexts for children to develop listening and reading skills, and to build their confidence and capability in communicating their ideas both orally and in writing.
Underpinning our work in Numeracy is a belief that, if children can really understand how numbers work, they will be much more confident in their use of Mathematics. There is a strong emphasis in the early years on investigating and exploring number concepts through practical experience. This provides the children with the essential foundation for the following programme of progressively challenging experiences in which they apply their numerical thinking and develop their problem-solving skills.
Sciences, Social Subjects and the Technologies
Cross-curricular themes throughout the Junior School are chosen to provide a balance between Science, Social Subjects and Technology. We seek to enhance these studies by organising visits, both local or further afield. The work is structured to provide a continuous, coherent and progressive syllabus, developing our pupils' knowledge and understanding, and the skills they require to investigate the world around them.
Modern Foreign Languages
Watson's recognises the importance of Modern Foreign Languages within our global community. The teaching of French begins with gentle exposure from Nursery onwards, with more formal teaching being introduced in Primary 3. In Primary 4, Spanish is introduced in addition to French and, as the children’s skill level develops in subsequent years, they are encouraged to see the parallels between the two languages.
Throughout the Junior School, both French and Spanish are taught by native speakers, which is invaluable in helping pupils to develop an authentic accent. There is a strong emphasis in both languages on building the children’s confidence in using the spoken language to communicate, and skills in reading, writing and grammar are introduced progressively. Pupils joining the School at later stages are given additional support as necessary.
At Watson's we place a strong emphasis on the Expressive Arts – Music, Art, Drama.
Music is taught by specialist staff from the Nursery to Primary 7. Through a varied programme of class and group activities, children are encouraged to develop their musical skills in singing, listening and the playing of percussion instruments.
Individual tuition is available for all orchestral instruments, piano, recorders, guitar and pipes and drums. The age at which pupils can start to learn is dependent upon the instrument.
Specialist tuition in Art begins in Preschool. As they progress through the Junior School, pupils are encouraged to develop their abilities in recording from observations and personal experience. Pupils express and communicate through drawing, painting, collage and printmaking. Three-dimensional work is also explored via the construction of models in clay and a variety of other materials.
Learning through and about drama in the early years enables children to develop important skills, such as self confidence, problem solving, getting on with others, and leadership, which are transferable to other areas of the curriculum and to life. Each academic year the children all have the opportunities to present and perform to others.
Class teachers teach Drama from Nursery to Primary 2, and Drama specialists work with our pupils from Primary 3 to Primary 7. A member of the specialist Drama team also works regularly with our Primary 5 pupils in small groups to develop their oral speaking skills.
Religious and Moral Education
Religious and Moral Education is supported our Junior School Assembly programme, which is built around the Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals. During the course of a session each class will take the responsibility of leading an assembly and delivering it to their peers (Primary 1–3, Primary 4–5, or Primary 6–7). Class lessons focus on Christianity and other world religions under three headings Beliefs, Practices & Traditions and Values & Issues. Resources are used to stimulate discussion, to develop questioning skills and to encourage children to begin to form their own opinions around wider issues in life.