There are two main aspects of the languages area of the curriculum. The first covers experiences and outcomes in the language a young person needs in order to engage fully with their learning and in society; whether that is English or Gaelic. The second covers experiences and outcomes in a Modern language. At St Mary’s, Spanish is taught throughout the school.
Language is at the core of thinking. We develop our ideas, communicate and reflect through language. The acquisition of language and the development of literacy skills help young people achieve their potential and become active members of society who can contribute through their ideas and work.
At St Mary’s, we foster a love of reading and an appreciation of poetry and literature. Through our language programme, we also offer our pupils opportunities to use new technologies to communicate and share ideas.
Scotland has a rich diversity of language, including Scots Language. The growing number of immigrants to Scotland bring a rich cultural diversity and enables our pupils to experience different cultures and become global citizens.
Learning through the languages area of the curriculum enables young people to:
develop the high level of skills in listening, talking, reading and writing which are essential for learning, work and life
develop their ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings and respond to those of other people
use different media effectively for learning and communication
develop their understanding through questioning and critical thinking
enhance their enjoyment and their understanding of their own and different cultures through literature and other forms of language
develop competence in other languages so that they can understand and communicate
In St. Mary’s, we endeavour to make sure that each child is successful when first learning to read and, to do this, we make the early reading work at Primary 1 as thorough as possible, with each child progressing at his own rate. Our core reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree/New Ginn 360 readers (P1 – P3) and Kingscourt/Big Cat Readers/Novels in P4 – 7. Non-fiction texts are also used throughout the school, particularly in relation to class topics.
Active Literacy is our new Phonics and Spelling programme, and Talking and listening is developed across the curriculum.
A variety of additional resources are used to develop language skills. Teachers assess reading continuously and keep careful records of progress though phonic skills and reading schemes.
In writing, we build on the early skill of drawing and scribing first sentences to developing punctuation, vocabulary, writing in paragraphs with more detail and writing for different purposes. Our main resource for teaching writing is Write to the Top, the West Dunbartonshire project supplemented by Collins Literacy, Scholastic Writing and other materials. We encourage children to develop a legible, fast, joined script, style of handwriting.