Progress with personal, social and emotional learning skills
Learning through VSE is also enhanced by the selection of quality resources for each individual child. Our teachers work closely with their Teaching & Learning Assistants to organise the contents of ‘Discovery Bags’ whereby children receive levelled reading books, library books, classroom materials or equipment for specific lessons or activities on a weekly basis.
Foundation 2 class teacher, Ms Dom, describes how she is clearly able to assess the progress of her children’s personal learning skills through the use of Discovery Bags: “Five months into VSE, the children are showing high levels of resilience and independence across all areas of their learning. All of them can access their Discovery Bag resources by themselves, fetch their snack independently and tidy up their learning space. When things are difficult, like cutting a piece of masking tape or folding paper into a card, the children have ceased asking an adult at home to help. They know that if they 'try and try again' they will likely achieve their goal. Resilience is the key!”
NAS teachers work very hard to build strong class communities online. Mr Gerald, Year 5 class teacher, reflects upon the community he has built during VSE: “We are now well into the second half of the year and the children are still smiling, engaged and clearly enjoying the discussions arising from the challenges that have been set for them. I keep these simple and open ended, with room for students to have fun and express themselves. They’re enjoying listening to each other’s ideas, and since the start of the year they have learned greater respect for each other’s boundaries.”
Our VSE ensures that children are not isolated in their learning at home. We have specifically designed Morning, Afternoon, Goodbye Circles, and Snack Together sessions for teachers to interact with every child in their care and to facilitate collaborative learning.
A Year 3 student shares his view of Snack Together: “You get to play fun games. The teachers also read stories to you. I like it!” His class teacher, Ms Emma, notes: “The children have developed in confidence during our daily circle sessions and Year 3 healthy snack, and are keen to bring their own ideas and stories to the group.” This then positively impacts upon the children’s learning in other areas of the curriculum. “I notice particular progress in maths lessons. The children are becoming much more able and confident to share their mathematical thinking and be risk-takers.”
Compared to the beginning of the year, teachers can see how much progress the children have made in developing essential social skills such as taking turns or contributing appropriately to discussions. The students have learned how to be active members of a community, supporting and caring for each other, celebrating the achievements of their classmates, listening to their peers’ contributions. Class teacher, Ms Hayley, describes the focus upon wellbeing in Year 1: “As a class, all children are now confident to talk in a whole class situation and even the less confident children ask questions when they are unsure of what they need to do. We have focussed a lot on wellbeing and the children now have the skills to deal with any unwanted feelings like sadness or anxiety.”