Design and Technology
Early Years: Year R
The teaching of Design & Technology begins within the early year’s curriculum framework, “Development Matters”. Children within Year R will engage in learning opportunities that link to the following curriculum areas:
- Physical development:
- Moving & handling
- Health & self-care
- Understanding the world:
- Expressive Arts & Design:
- Exploring & using media & materials
- Being imaginative
Reception age children have taught sessions called teacher directed sessions, where activities are provided to develop and extend the children’s skill sets. Children then engage in child initiated sessions where they can revisit the skills learnt and consolidate their learning. The above curriculum areas combine to form the foundations of the Design & Technology skills. Once children get to the end of Year R, they then move on to the skills and outcomes laid out in the National Curriculum.
We are also very lucky, in early years, to have access to a woodwork bench. Here, children have real life opportunities to design and create using a variety of real tools and equipment. All children within early years have the opportunity to access the woodwork bench in a safe and structured environment. This not only supports their Design and Technology learning, but also supports their physical development too. Building strong gross motor movements in their shoulders and elbows and then supporting fine motor movements in their writs and hands/ fingers! Physical development is also such an important part of the early year’s curriculum, as gross and fine muscle building activities leads to strong and independent writers.
Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject.
Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.
The national curriculum for design and technology aims to ensure that all pupils:
- develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world
- build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users
- critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others
- understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.
Key stage 1
Through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils should be taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. They should work in a range of relevant contexts [for example, the home and school, gardens and playgrounds, the local community, industry and the wider environment].
When designing and making, pupils should be taught to:
- design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria
- generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology
- select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing]
- select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics
- explore and evaluate a range of existing products
- evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria
- build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable
- explore and use mechanisms [for example, levers, sliders, wheels and axles], in their products
Key stage 2
Through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils should be taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. They should work in a range of relevant contexts [for example, the home, school, leisure, culture, enterprise, industry and the wider environment].
When designing and making, pupils should be taught to:
- use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups
- generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design
- select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately
- select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities
- investigate and analyse a range of existing products
- evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work
- understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world
- apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures
- understand and use mechanical systems in their products [for example, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages]
- understand and use electrical systems in their products [for example, series circuits incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors]
- apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.
Cooking and nutrition
As part of their work with food, pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.
Pupils should be taught to:
Key stage 1
- use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes
- understand where food comes from.
Key stage 2
- understand and apply the principles of a healthy and varied diet
- prepare and cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques
- understand seasonality, and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.
Chartwells, the catering company which cooks all of our school meals, has also worked closely with us in the past, providing practical workshops for different year groups to support their learning in school. This has included smoothie workshops and ‘waste not’ workshops.
Extra-curricular activities & competitions:
We have focused on the key skills of DT within our club and have spent some in depth time looking at the design, make, evaluate and technical knowledge aspects of DT. This has helped to deepen children’s knowledge and understanding of these different aspects and take this further knowledge into the classroom and into their future sessions at school.
This club has always been very popular. Not only does it allow children to gain a deeper insight into the fundamental skills of DT, but the creative aspects enable them to take control over their own learning and make their own decisions.
Our cooking club is another popular extra-curricular activity. We have always included recipes and cooking experiences for children with a wide range of dietary requirements including, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free.
Our cooking club provides children with fundamental skills on how to not only use basic kitchen equipment safely (e.g. child’s knife for chopping), but also more specialised equipment safely (e.g. whisks). Cooking is a vital life skill and at Reculver we really do wish to instil a love of cooking and hopefully create new hobbies and passions for the children.
The adults and children work together to think of recipes and ideas of to make, ensuring to get a balanced variety of recipes and discussing the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. The children then work through the recipe, discussing the ingredients needed, the equipment needed (and how to use this safely) and the step by step instructions. We also discuss the different measurements, what they mean (e.g. g means grams) and how to use the scales to get accurate measurements. The children take an active part in all of these steps and, again, lead their own learning in a safe and structured environment.
Once we have completed a recipe, the children take home what they have made and a copy of the recipe so this can all be shared with their adults at home!
As previously stated, at Reculver we wish to instil a love of cooking and hopefully create new hobbies and passions for the children. We also wish to educate children on the fundamentals of cooking and nutrition. Therefore, we have provided additional opportunities for the children to showcase their skills and talents in the form of competitions.
Belling cookery competition:
Children were able to enter the Belling cookery competition to try to win an additional £2000 worth of cooking appliances for the school. As part of this competition children had to produce a picture of their favourite nutritionally balanced meal, along with a description of why they like it so much and why it is good and healthy for you. Children were encouraged to be as creative as they wished! This ended up being a popular competition within our school and we had many applicants and entries sent in.
Young cooks is a very exciting opportunity for children and their families. Children can enter the competition independently (primary category), or under the ‘family’ category, including a member of their family from home.
Primary category: the child is asked to create one dish using a budget of no more than £2.50. The child then needs to cook that dish in up to 90 minutes.
Family category: the child and accompanying adult are asked to create two dishes using a budget of no more than £5. The child and adult then need to work together to cook the dish in up to 120 minutes.
Photos of the dishes are submitted to the Young Cooks website and their finalists are announced. Finalists are invited to a MasterChef style cook off where winners are chosen by food industry experts. Numerous prizes and certificates are awarded to every finalist. There is also a £500 cash prize which is shared between the three category winners and overall champion.
This has always been a very popular competition and Reculver have managed to get to the finals before with an entrant who applied in the family category. The final MasterChef style cook off was a fantastic experience for all, with the child, their accompanying adult, additional family members and a member of school staff were all invited to come along and support.