Our Harmony Curriculum
Principles of Harmony
Our Harmony Curriculum - Intent, Implementation and the Impact
God’s Nature of Harmony provides the context for all our learning enquiries and has a clear purpose. We want our children to be passionate about learning and to understand the wonders of the natural world around them as they journey through life.
Intent: What are we trying to achieve here with, and through, the curriculum?
At its core, our Harmony curriculum is about enabling a better understanding God's world and of how life works interdependently and how everything interconnects in a complex web of relationships that work in ever changing, awe-inspiring ways.
Implementation - So, how are we going to deliver this?
Our curriculum is delivered through values based learning enquiries with the six principles of Harmony at the heart of each: Principles of Diversity, Cycle, Adaptation,Diversity, Interdependence and Oneness As children seek truth and develop the skills to question, research and generate knowledge, they are encouraged to find resolutions to the questions raised. The Principle of Geometry is weaved across the curriculum, . High quality teaching and learning experiences with half-termly visits, discovery lessons and outdoor learning, with Jolly John’s Farm an integral part of the curriculum, ensure that children are immersed in their enquiries and demonstrate their understanding with a great work outcome which we are always keen to share with parents and visitors.
Impact - What difference is this curriculum making to our children?
With nature at the heart of our harmony curriculum, we aim to give children the ability to think for themselves, be resilient and face future challenges. Ultimately, we want the children to see that the principles can teach us how to live more sustainably and to apply these skills in a meaningful way.Children will be motivated and empowered to learn and apply their understanding effectively, using core skills to apply them in meaningful ways that will enhance both their life and others around them.
Our hope is that by revisiting each principle each year, the children will start to embed these principles into their thinking and way of living. Ultimately, we want the children to see that the principles can teach us how to live more sustainably. They are a constant companion and reference point on our life journey.
Principles of Harmony – Learning through God’s Nature
There are seven principles of harmony that we reference in our work and they are:
The Principle of the Cycle – God’s Nature works in cycles
God works through cycles of creation, cycles of growth, cycles of increase to bring us into a place of blessing. God uses cycles to move you from a lower place to a higher place. Over the course of time you see Him do incredible things in your life
The principle of the cycle teaches us that God’s Nature works in self-sustaining, self-limiting cycles. When we learn about God’s Nature’s cyclical systems, we learn that they are never-ending and create no waste or pollution. This is a model for us to replicate if we are to reduce and ultimately eradicate our wasteful ways. So, we teach about cycles because the more our children understand the cyclical God’s Nature of life and learn about God’s Nature’s cycles in their different forms, the more they are likely to think about how to align their own practices to the idea of the cycle. This approach to learning also helps them to see that to live well we don’t need to consume and throw away more and more. Rather, we need to create cyclical systems that work.
The Principle of Interdependence – Everything is connected
From the very beginning, humans were created for relationship and
interdependence. The first man, Adam, had a close relationship with God, but
he did not have a companion who was like him. “The LORD God said, ‘It is not
So God put Adam to sleep, took a rib out of his body, and formed a woman
from the rib (Genesis 2:21–22). He presented the woman to Adam as his lifelong
companion, the one to share Adam’s dominion over creation and with whom Adam
could fulfil God’s plan for reproduction (Genesis 1:26–28). With these first two people, God set the pattern of interdependence for all future mankind.
The principle of interdependence helps us to understand that everything is connected. We see these inter-relationships at work through ecosystems where every element of the system has a value and a role to play, and also in our own communities when they work well. So, when we plan out learning, the starting point is to see how we can link learning together to give it greater meaning, rather than teaching through separate subjects with little or no connection from one subject to another. We can still teach subject specific skills and knowledge, but the application is to something much more joined up. The principle of interdependence also reminds us of the importance of good relationships if we are to work well together and the values culture we need to create to enable a collaborative approach to learning to be successful.
The Principle of Geometry and Beauty – God’s Nature has a geometry
“to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
The principle of geometry and beauty is about learning the patterns and geometry of
God’s Nature that exist in us and around us. This study of the patterns of God’s Nature
and how they are replicated, for example in traditional architecture, is the way into our
learning each week at St John's C of E Primary School. It provides a new way of looking
at and learning about the world. Interestingly, when our children develop the skills of
sketching and geometry, they become much more observant, they concentrate better,
they pay closer attention to the detail of things, and they are calmer. The work on geometry leads to a wider conversation around beauty and what makes something beautiful. In developing a greater appreciation of beauty, the children, too, begin to consider ways to make their own work more beautiful and of a higher quality. There is a strong sense of well-being when we create or recreate beauty.
The Principle of Diversity – Diversity is a strength
In the diverse array of the products of culture, God gets more
glory than if we were all one, single society. In enjoying and
celebrating multiculturalism, our greatest and highest joy
should not be different types of food or clothing, or even
different types of people who are unlike us. These are gifts
from God for us to enjoy, but in every culture and every
diverse ethnicity, the people of God take their highest joy in seeing God’s glory reflected and imaged in new and beautiful ways.
The principle of diversity is about celebrating difference and realising that diversity is not just a good thing, it is a strength. So, we consciously promote diversity in what we do; diversity in one another, in our cultural heritage, in our learning outcomes, in the food that we grow, in the wildflowers and fruit orchards we plant, in the uniqueness of all forms of life. If we want our young people to grow up able to appreciate difference, we need them to understand that diversity is the essence of life and it is something to cherish. In addition, we are looking to nurture diversity in their leadership so we actively promote ways for them to lead different aspects of our school such as managing our energy and water use, monitoring our food waste and recycling, and developing their own projects of change.
The Principle of Adaptation – Adaptation is essential for us to survive and thrive
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in
whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how
to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and
hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:11-12
The principle of adaptation teaches us that just as God’s Nature has been brilliantly
adapted to its place through millions of years of refinement, so it makes sense to
adapt our learning or at least key elements of our learning to our place. Through
this idea of adaptation, we can find ways to connect learning more fully to the idea
of local and the communities in which we live, to learn more about their history and traditions, what it is that we value about them and what we might want to change. It opens up opportunities for our young people to be designers, to consider how our place might be adapted into the future to make it a better place to live. Importantly, it provides opportunities to connect to those in our communities who have wisdom, knowledge and expertise to share with our young people. When this approach works well, it builds a real sense of belonging.
The Principle of Health – We all need to be healthy
"I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your
soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:2
God’s Nature teaches us health. It is inherently healthy. We all need to learn what it
means to live healthy lives. It therefore makes sense to put health at the heart of all
that we do. We can learn about health in our play, in our relationships, in the food that
we eat. We can also learn about health in terms of the air, water and soil and what that
means in terms of how we run our school. So, for example, in thinking about healthy soil we have made a commitment to growing and procuring nearly all our food from organic sources. When considering the health of our water, we only use plant based cleaning products to minimise any pollution to our water systems. If we believe health is fundamental to a good life, we need to find ways to teach health and practise health as much as possible.
The Principle of Oneness – We are God’s Nature
"In them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will
know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:23
The principle of oneness reminds us that in all that we do, we also need to learn how to be, to find a sense of peace deep within us that enables us to live with well-being at the centre of our lives. In nurturing an ability to be still and present, to connect to something deeper, we are building a sense of oneness with the world. In school, we do this through daily mindfulness sessions and it is having a really positive impact on our children. When there are so many reports of stress and poor mental health in our young people, it is essential that we help them to learn how to cope with the challenges of modern life through times of quiet, peacefulness, prayer or meditation. We need to nurture them as spiritual beings.
This work has been inspired by by HRH The Prince of Wales' book 'Harmony' and in partnership with Ashley C of E Primary School.