You can learn without being in a classroom; you can be in a classroom and not learn

Children go to school to learn. If you have read the posts about the curriculum and teaching, however, you will know that MBAT has a distinctive approach to that learning. We do not suggest that all learning takes place in front of a teacher in a classroom. Play, the Community and Nature are as important as Subject Lessons.

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Not everything that is learnt is taught.  We accept that children learn naturally through play.  There are materials and resources in the classroom and outside that children can use for play.  Sometimes play develops into something approaching a project- for example, dressing up might lead to performing a play.  Teachers are sensitive to the value of free learning.  They may take evidence from free learning to add to online portfolios or to note in the Tracking Mechanism.


Much learning goes on through the community.  Children learn how to resolve disputes peacefully through dialogue.  They learn how to take positions of responsibility in the community, how to propose laws and what to do when laws get broken.  The community organizes festivities at half term and end of term and children are directly involved in the whole process from beginning to end.


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The focus on Nature and the farm means that children come into direct contact with the soil, living plants and animals.  They learn respect for Nature, which grows over the years as their knowledge and experience deepen.  We do not assess this learning as we think it is important that children do not think that they are “not good at” Nature due to marking.  The experience of Nature is a Core value at MBAT and is a part of our Mission to ensure that children grow up feeling that they can be good custodians of the Natural world.

Subject lessons

The teaching and learning in subject-focused lessons are driven by the standards and objectives in the National Curriculum documents.  We recognize that many of the objectives of the curriculum can be met by free play and activity and through project work.  We do not insist that children sit through subject lessons if they have already mastered a subject.

General Learning Goals

  • Give children direct contact with Nature
  • Focus on children’s learning strengths
  • Offer hands-on learning activities and through observation activities
  • Collaboration through group activities
  • Free play to promote language development, fantasy and problem solving
  • Allow children to make decisions about their own learning
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Published by Jason Preater

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