“I’ve had a rum day” and the science behind mixed classes explained!

Children are very honest. That is why I spend a lot of time asking our children if they are happy and what they like/dislike about school. Every now and then, they will freely give their thoughts and opinions. I didn’t expect to hear one of our Pre-School children tell her parents that she had a ‘rum day’ as she sighed and shook her head! I thought the day had gone well but it just goes to show-you can’t please everyone! Miss. Taylor won’t mind me telling you that it was her little one who had expressed such a sigh. Luckily, the turn around of this was very quick and it was nothing a that trip to the office to look at ‘Barry the Fish with Fingers’  couldn’t solve. We look forward to Miss. Taylor’s return to school as bursar in March. We will have much to do as it looks highly likely that the Government are extending the free 15 hours childcare places for 3-4 year olds to 30 hours. This is great news for working families.

Spending time in Pendle Class has been wonderful. In Reception Class, the first exciting moment to bottle and keep forever is the happy smile on a child’s face as they want to learn more. Through active play- based activities, both indoors and out, the children soon thrive by their natural curiosity and inquisitive nature. The children are gathering all of the foundations for learning. These need to be secure and ready to prepare them well for life in the future years to come. The Early Learning Goals are broad and balanced and spread over 17 strands within 7 areas of learning. The classroom is laid out and carefully planned for in order to provide rich and purposeful learning opportunities that the children can access with or without an adult. Activities are tailored to your individual child’s needs as we track progress and plan for next steps using ‘Development Matters.’ Each Reception child has a ‘Wow Work Book’ and this contains pictures, pieces of work and observations specific to your child’s development. You are invited to see these after school on Thursday 9th February and your child can show you around the classroom as they show you their ‘Wow Work Book.’  This will be an informal opportunity to get together and celebrate learning so far.  Your child will be able to tell you all about it.

After much thought last year, I decided that it was best to merge Reception and Year 1 children because they are still so young and interested in the same things. The children all have access to sand, water, junk modelling, malleable, creative and construction areas-to name a few. Naturally, in Year 2, the interests and personalities of the children start to change with a more mature outlook, especially if a child is on the older end of the year group! Their conversations and games are more mature.  Their work is still exciting and creative, but they can focus on topics that are specific to their level-don’t forget, they have their own goals to work towards by the end of the year and need quality teaching and learning-especially in preparation for the Year 3 transition. Some of our Year 1 children missed being in Reception Class by only a couple of days. Some Year 1 children may still be working towards the Early Learning Goals, which is why the environment lends itself best to this mixed year group. We have some children in Reception Class who just missed being in the Year 1 class. We really do understand how ‘Summer born’ can make a difference because the difference between a new born baby and a 1 year old child is very different-they have had nearly an extra year of exploring the world! Over the years as an Early Years teacher, I have found that even when you get a cohort of 30 children who are in Reception Class, there are always many who achieve Early Learning Goals quickly and they are working on a Year 1 curriculum. There are always children who need a couple of years to develop and achieve the Early Learning Goals and this is absolutely fine. We all develop at different rates and the key to any standalone year group or a mixed age class is differentiation. We know what the individual child can do and we facilitate learning through our learning environment, questioning, teaching and time given for the children to use, apply and explore knowledge, skills and understanding. In any year group, children are all different and are all working at different levels. We recognise what our children can do and build on this.

It has been incredible to observe the children in Pendle Class learn, out of their own choice, from the Year 1 children. I witnessed a little girl write a full story, which was on the child initiated writing area table top zone. Nobody asked her to do this but she had seen a little boy in Year 1 write his version of the story and she couldn’t wait to get to the area and create her own. She even took the little booklet to the Art Studio, where she decorated the front cover in her own way.

Parlick Class have amazed me with their Tiger stories. Their use of punctuation and choice of language is just inspiring. We also have some very sensible milk monitors who are keen to organise the infant department!

Mrs. Kerr’s class are well on the way with the ‘Romans’ topic, fencing and ukulele lessons. They are always so busy and creative. The room is full of cardboard boxes but I know there will be exciting reason for this. I am sure we will find out on their class page soon.

Beacon Class visited an Author today at Our Lady’s Catholic High School. They had a great time and their behaviour was exceptional. When I walked into their classroom today, I looked in their art books and I couldn’t believe the skills of our children. If you have a look on past posts, you will find a short SATs video to explain about the papers Year 6 will be undertaking in the Summer Term. The government raised expectations in all year groups and we have an obligation to follow curriculum requirements. The trick is to find how creatively we can teach them in all year groups!  We want our children to be happy and we want them to shine in their interests and skills. We are looking forward to performing in the ‘Showtime’ concert this Sunday at Goosnargh Village Hall. The concert begins at 2.30pm and involves our band and choir. We can’t wait. You are all welcome to come and watch.