School Blogs

Growing values

1st May 2015 | School Blog

A considerable amount of time this year has been spent focusing on how we, as teachers, can ensure that all our lessons secure the best possible outcomes for our children and, most notably, are delivered in a way that puts learning in to real context; quite simply, making learning meaningful.At the start of each term we take the objectives of the National Curriculum, look in detail at the work children have already produced with support, in groups and independently, then plan learning sequences to ensure in depth curriculum coverage of the curriculum within a highly contextualised framework. What ensues is engagement and depth in learning.For children, the Easter holidays are a time to relax in readiness for the forthcoming term, a pivotal part of the teaching and learning cycle. For teachers, however, whilst there will inevitably be the time to relax, part of the holiday is often spent reflecting upon the previous term. At the end pf term, discussions were held surrounding what we value here at Wandsworth Prep. In terms of teaching and learning, we all agreed that our approach is very much underpinned by creativity, placing the child at the heart of learning and buttressed by a triangular approach and forward thinking attitude to change and development. What we identified, however, was a need to communicate to the children the values that we look for in them as learners, to reach their full potential. Careful consideration was given to effective ways in which to guarantee that children of all ages would understand the school’s values.The values, in child-speak, that we believe will enable our children to capitalise upon the opportunities the school offers are: kindness; perseverance; staying focussed; being patient; honesty and using initiative. We also believe that we learn from our actions and every day is a chance to improve. Yet how, does one make sure that such values are embedded within the every-day approach to life that we would like our children to adopt?We are a Forest School, an integral part of the curriculum with which the children identify. We are creative; we value approaching learning tasks with a fresh eye and encourage independence. We value children’s input. This term, therefore, has seen the sprouting of ‘values trees’ in each classroom, created by the children, for the children. At the start of each day, all children start at the trunk of the tree. When a particular value is demonstrated, the child’s name is placed on the relevant value branch of the tree. Once placed on a branch, you cannot fall. If, however, one sways in the wind, a thinking space is available with time to consider which value one might need to aspire to. What we hope to achieve, is happy, confident children, each and every one at the top of the metaphorical tree.Bridget SaulHeadteacher