Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Oi! Give it back! The terms of Nanny McPhee

My thoughts on September are well noted.  It often seems the longest month of the year.  We went through several Mondays this term that still seemed to be in September.  Each Monday briefing and assembly, I felt we could tick off another "M" box on the calendar, only to find that there were 3 or 4 more following in quick succession.

However, as we stand here on the brink of the end of term, I find myself desperate to claw it all back.  I feel we could do with another week or two.  We're just getting started on so many new and exciting things that, to stop us now would be to stop our race when we'd only made it around the first bend.

Take our new curriculum.  I saw our teachers' amazing ideas in their planning at the start of term, and, little by little, these ideas started to come to life.  Learning walls, here, displays there, books started to spring into colourful life and our environment went from cool to.... wow.  In the words of CP3O - "Oh My!"

I started to hear conversations between learners about googlemaps and how to use it to solve their current problem.  I started to see the most amazing art work appear from almost nowhere, and children selecting writing for a tool to help them learn.  I have seen the very youngest children designing and building the most complicated structures and towers.

At the start of last week, I was looking for a classroom to host our governors meeting.  I was spoilt for choice.  I stood in several rooms and looked around and thought: "How lucky".  How lucky am I to have such a creative team?  How lucky are we to have such creative practitioners, and such enthusiastic children?  All of those amazing ideas I had seen several (it seems like years) weeks ago suddenly on full display, making utterly clear our children's mastery of their learning, and the joy of our curriculum.

Added to this, how will we go a week without "the zone"?  For the uninitiated, the zone is an open space where we allow children to work and learn independently.  Where we say to children "Off you go ... and by the way, it's all yours".  Children teaching one another, children working independently, children working collaboratively, or even children simply thinking.  When was the last time we gave children space and time to think and breathe?  Today, actually.

Then there's the playpod.  This green beast descended into our playground and our collective consciences several weeks ago, but has only just opened. Through absolutely no-one's fault, our time has been curtailed primarily due to awful autumnal weather, and we haven't yet quite got the hand of it.  Quite.

However, we've had one hell of a go.  In just this week and a half, our playground has been adorned by swings, dens, jack-in-the-boxes, and, my personal favourite, mission control for a space station.  Look a little closer, what else have we seen?  We've seen collaboration, kindness, determination, sharing.  We've seen joy.

There's more.  Our friends association, the all new Buddies of Badock's, have run two brilliant events for our children, as well as uniform sales and such.  We have had not one but 2 hundred percent attendance weeks - we normally only get three in a year!

It's all gone a bit Nanny McPhee: when you've had enough of term 1, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, it will linger like the smell of year 6's feet.  When we're loving it, when we have a harvest festival packed hall, when we finally have the playpod we've been waiting for for ages and our curriculum is up and running, term 1 waves farewell with a tearful adieu.

We could whinge and whine, wring our hands with unmitigated woe.  Or, we could look forward to term 2.

Term 2 coming soon everyone! And well done on a great term 1.

That is all.