Creative and Critical Thinking


Active Learning, Creative and Critical Thinking At West Hove Infant School

West Hove school

Aims and Objectives

At West Hove Infant School we aim to develop children’s independence of thought, self-confidence and ‘learning how to learn’ skills. This leads to ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’ learning. It gives children a sense of ownership over their learning by being actively involved in decision-making.

The following principles underpin active learning, creative and critical thinking:

  • Children need to understand that they are not ‘stuck’ at a set level of performance – ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mind-set.
  • Children need to be able to verbalise their thinking in order to highlight and clarify the skills they are practising
  • Children need to learn how to work in ‘teams’ or ‘groups’ and learn the skills of discussion, debate, negotiating, persuading and co-operation
  • Children need to learn to understand that others may have different viewpoints, that sometimes there are no right or wrong answers, that people can change their ideas and opinions
  • Children need to know that it is ok to make mistakes – making mistakes is an important part of learning.
  • Teachers need to model the thinking process – they need to model the use of language, the thought and problem solving process, sometimes teachers don’t know the answers!
  • Teachers need to encourage children to investigate, explore and find out for themselves when appropriate


Actions/Strategies used

Since our last Ofsted inspection developing active learning, creative and critical thinking has been a key focus for Quality First Teaching.

  • Developing thinking skills is one of the key drivers in our curriculum (under the heading ‘Enquiry’).
  • Teacher’s use Bloom’s Taxonomy to promote higher forms of thinking, such as analysing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures and principles, rather than simply remembering facts.
  • Professor Prove It and a range of worthwhile question types are used to encourage confidence, explanation, discussion, reasoning and deeper thinking in a forum where there is no right or wrong answer and all ideas are valued
  • Children have the opportunity to work collaboratively as part of a group or with their Challenge Partners. When working with their Challenge Partner the children are encouraged to become an expert/teacher and explain their methods and answers
  • A focus on ensuring our feedback enables a ‘Growth Mind-set’ and is linked to the Characteristics of Learning.
  • Expectations for the environment agreed and added to environment audit
  • Staff promote 5 key characteristics which we want the children of WHI to develop – Perseverance, Independence, Imagination, Co-operation, Curiosity
  • Each characteristic represented by a ‘Learning Character’. Learning Characters are evident and used in every classroom
  • Whole school assemblies planned linked to Characteristics of Learning to coincide with classroom focus

Impact on Teaching and Learning

Lesson Observations:

 ‘Excellent use and reference to characteristics of learning’

‘Opportunities included for developing children’s thinking skills’

‘Excellent opportunities for AfL, self and peer assessment’

‘Lots of great animated talk and sharing between partners’

‘Great ideas for brain breaks that ….encourage the children’s thinking/focus’

‘Excellent challenge and high expectation for children’

‘Lots of opportunities to develop children’s thinking’


Creative & Critical Thinking 2

What the children say:

What does learning feel like to you?

‘Learning feels like….

‘…climbing up a really really tall ladder.’Leah

‘….swimming and getting to the end of the pool’. Zac

‘… going on a rollercoaster.’ Olivia

‘… going into space.’ Miller



Characteristics of Learning

Please click on the image below for a better view of our Characteristics of Learning.

Characteristics of Learning thumb