A Blog Post by Depute Rector Mrs Wilson
As the Christmas decorations go up and the Nativity rehearsals begin, the Primary 1s are full of excitement and wonder, very similar to their arrival at Kingarth Street in late August…full of enthusiasm with a thirst for knowledge. So after 100 days of school what have they learned?
Finding the balance between the structure of school and a play-based approach to learning takes careful planning and an understanding of early years education. Mrs Heywood and Mrs Ross have many years’ experience of teaching in infants and recognise the key role they play in supporting all aspects of each child’s development. High quality early years education is about the cognitive yet also the physical, emotional and social development of the child. Children learn best in a happy, safe environment where they can ask questions, explore ideas and make mistakes. ‘Giving meaningful and specific praise motivates children who are learning from mistakes’.
This year the Primary 1s progressed to full days in their first week of school. Full days enabled friendships to develop more quickly, with more time in the playground. The positive effects of a school playground go far beyond the obvious ones, like physical exercise. Playgrounds provide essential experiences and development for children in areas of problem solving, creativity and social skills. The children are learning to get along, understanding their own feelings and beginning to recognise others’ feelings too. We use restorative approaches encouraging children to take responsibility for their behaviour by thinking through the causes and consequences. An interesting article on ‘saying sorry’ shows that talking about the impact of a child’s behaviour on others is much more powerful than forced apologies.
The P1 parents play a huge part in their child’s education. Homework allows for consolidation and ensures the acquisition of key skills in both numeracy and literacy. We promote independence from day 1 and the children are gradually developing the confidence and skills needed to do things for themselves.
The pupils learned about the school community and their place within it. P4 buddies joined them on induction day in June and these connections continue throughout the year. Visits from Fred the Lollipop Man, Mrs Philips our school nurse and Mrs Monaghan from the school office develop strong relationships and provide the P1s with a deeper understanding of their school. Primary 1 children are already very proud to be Hutchesonians!
This week the P1s experienced their first outdoor learning adventure to Pollok Park. The boys and girls had a wonderful afternoon in the winter sunshine building shelters, studying trees, creating nature inspired art and exploring the woods with a wildlife treasure hunt. ‘Contact with nature has been shown to have important benefits for both mental and physical health and well-being.’ The Let’s Explore campaign by the Woodland Trust environmental charity and clothing brand Joules, aims to get more people outside all year round. According to their survey today’s children spend less time in the outdoors than their parents and grandparents. Whilst the title was quick to blame screen time, there were several reasons for this worrying trend.
Visiting Pollok Park will be the first of many outdoor learning activities focusing on teambuilding, problem solving and creativity.
So what life skills have they developed?
To learn from mistakes, to think of others, to explore the outdoors and to be a Hutchesonian! Not bad for 100 days.