This week I saw inventors making rockets from junk material with great care, planning and precision; I saw artists amazed at discovering that paint on your hands changes colour if you add soap to wash it off; I saw young engineers working out how the train track was going to manage to go up to a higher level without breaking; I saw reporters writing from a space cave about their experiences among the stars - and that was only a few examples from walkabout that lasted less than 10 minutes.
Our youngsters understand that when they play they learn and they are expert at creating the exciting experiences from which to optimise this. You only have to see a child who has just mastered sliding down the climbing frame, taking control of their learning and independently practising time and time again so they perfect their technique; or another who has just learned to write their name, seeking, independently, all sorts of opportunities to practise with different pencils, colours, paint or chalk – hopefully not on their bedroom walls!
In our Early Years classes we encourage children to be creative learners but of course our talented teachers are planning the environments and using the resources that stimulate the children’s interest. They motivate them to experiment, invent and problem solve. Our staff are also carefully assessing and tracking the children’s experience through careful observation and the skilful questioning that challenges thinking and ensures they progress. It is always amazing for parents and teachers alike to realise just how much children have learned after a short time in the Cubs classes.
Often the teachers don’t know at the beginning of the week where the learning will go and that is why the experiences can be so different in the various units in Early Years, even with the same stimulus or provocation. And of course this creative, motivating, stimulating approach today is what ensures the confident, independent learners of tomorrow.
Eleanor Jess, Head of Primary