I was asked to write a half-term round up and it’s given me the opportunity to reflect. I’ve come up with two words to summarise this half-term - it’s been industrious and full of blossoming children. As a result of our industrious endeavours, just like our beautiful cherry tree in May, there’s been a lot of blossoming going on…
It is the time of year when pupils and teachers feel really rewarded for their efforts. This progress can be across all areas of their learning...And it can seem to happen overnight. Just like that. As a teacher, you suddenly take a step back and realise what your pupils are now able to accomplish compared to the beginning of the year.
It’s wonderful talking to teachers and hearing them praise the learning in their class and the progress of their pupils. “You wouldn’t believe X’s writing; it’s like something has suddenly clicked! So wonderful to see X so engaged in their learning’. Sometimes it’s as a result of some inspiration and they’ve taken it upon themselves to practise at home. Having had the Horrible Histories’ illustrator, Martin Brown, inspire the children, we’ve had some beautiful artwork coming in from home. If you’re noticing your child has a particular interest or talent, make sure we know about it; we might be able to invite in a speaker or expert to nurture that interest.
It’s worth taking time as a parent to celebrate your children’s achievements. ‘Do you remember at the beginning of the year when you couldn’t do X? Now see what you’ve achieved!’ Our job as teachers is to find development points for children to work towards so we find the right level of challenge, but we’ve got to be careful that it’s also about celebration.
I like to celebrate the fact that Reception children, who found it hard to even introduce their name to the drama circle at the beginning of the year, are now confidently shouting out their name with a bold, expressive action. We were visiting Aunt Lucy in Peru this week and those quiet September children were now swinging from the trees and making Paddington some marmalade as if they’d been doing it all their lives. Progress is so often measured in a linear academic form, yet you can also just look at how children hold themselves at the end of a school year and ‘see’ that progress.
Sometimes it’s all about spotting blossoming talents, as these come in all shapes and forms. In our Bubble B Star of the Week assembly on Tuesday, Ella in Year 5 was awarded Star of the Week for showing fantastic curiosity at The Science Museum. As Einstein said, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." I think we all know where Einstein’s curiosity got him, so Ella’s learning will most definitely be enhanced by having this inherent quality.
We have also been industrious in our special project: OPERATION HANDWRITING which gave children more opportunities to practise their handwriting after the extended time spent on keyboards in lockdown. We can really see the positive results of their concerted efforts. Not everyone makes the same dramatic progress but handwriting is one of those areas that if you keep chipping away at it, you will definitely get there…
And there’s been some industrious charity raising. The Book Bring and Buy Sale was so well supported by the community and our Year 6 reading leaders were fantastic at organising the event. There were genuine skips down the corridor with nearly new books in hand. And that wasn’t the only event where WPS parents and families were generous, the Easter Eggsercise raised more than we could have imagined - how thrilled the London Air Ambulance are going to be when they visit us in June.
And finally, just like a flower opening up in Spring, so is WPS opening up. Getting out and about is definitely a theme for this half-term - Year 6 made sure they were secondary school ready and safe on the roads by passing their 4 day course in Cycling Proficiency and the whole school community got into the fresh air for our Walk/Cycle/Scoot to school week (even if it was in the rain).
And now Years 3 - 6 are finally on their residential trips away - life appears to be getting back to normal. The teachers and I were talking about why residential trips are so important for children’s development and we all agreed that the ‘magic’ of a residential trip was seeing a different side of children or finding a talent that we didn’t know they had. Perhaps the quietest child in the classroom is the roaring lion of the highest zip wire, or the most confident and independent child in the dormitories. It always surprises us and I imagine all of the parents in Years 3,4,5 and 6 will find their children walking a few centimetres taller after their experience.
So onwards and upwards towards our last half-term and let’s keep this industrious and blossoming spirit going...