Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Parents as Partners Consulting Children

The staff at Cathkin Community Nursery are in the middle of planning and carrying out activities around the focus “Pets”. To add a bit of excitement to this context they are using the eyepet. We’re going to collect this planning so other establishments can see how the nursery goes about planning with the children, parents and all involved in the children’s lives. In May the nursery is holding an Open Doors Event which will have 8 workshops run by staff. It will be open to Early Years establishments and early stage primaries in the Rutherglen, Cambuslang and East Kilbride areas. This follows on from successful work done in EK schools trying out open doors events.

Couple of photos below show some of the planning under way. At the nursery they use a mindmap approach to planning – they listen and observe and list “buzzwords” that the children are talking about. The staff team come together talk about the buzzwords and discuss possible focus ideas and outcomes. Children work with staff to develop a mindmap of the kind of things they would like to learn, find out about, try etc. You can also see  the materials which go up on the wall so that parents can add in ideas and thoughts about the focus.

Asking for ideas from parents about the pet focus….

Information about the children’s pets from parents……

Ideas from parents about the pet focus on the sunshine display board……..

Wee bit closer….

Mindmaps written up after discussion with groups of children around the focus pets and the eyepet

The initial mindmaps are going off to Brian McLaren at the consolarium and he’ll put them up on the glow group somewhere in the future.

Saw this in Oakwood House Nursery this week. They are working on ways to record the children self and peer assessing their work. The children using individual self assessment cards and the staff record discussions with the children around learning experiensces using this format. Currently writing a follow through report on their HMIe visit a year ago. Lots of really great work going on in the partnership establishment!

Enjoyed a visit to Little Pets partner nursery who ran a health day recently – great to see them inviting down local primary 1s to visit. Good transition work going on.

Really enjoyed attending the HMIe dialogue session at the end of the visit to Calderwood primary on Friday. It has been a really positive week for the school, staff, parents and children. Well done everyone there. Looking forward to reading the report when it is published.

Enjoying learning new things. I have some additions to my remit and I’m having a great time getting my teeth into them. Have a strategic ICT role and am spending time with the IT Business manager learning about all things ICT, just great fun getting to grips with the whole picture. Also taking on primary staffing work and again loving getting my teeth into new aspects of work in the education department. Have had an invite to the official opening of one of the schools I work with – Loch Primary. They are awaiting the publication of their follow through HMIe report. The initial visit was carried out around two years ago and the HT had just taken up appointment at that time. Really pleased with the outcome of this too – and can’t wait to see it published. Amazing work done by the staff in the school. Big thumbs up all round to the impact HMIe have had working together with these and other establishments in the area!

Busy week ahead, particularly looking forward to class visits at Hallside Primary.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | education, ICT, learning, Parent Consultations, planning, teaching | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family time

Last session we introduced “Tea with the teacher” in p1. This is a weekly drop in and chat session every Friday with the P1 teacher. This session P2 have taken this on to weekly maths family time when a group of parents come to watch maths in P2 weekly. Next week we have our second P3-7 family time of the session. Parents/carers will come in during the afternoon on Friday to visit classes, watch teaching and see what the children have done for their Scots Book Studies. It’s also St Andrew’s day so we’ll be doing related activities when we have our visitors.

This is breaking down barriers between home and school. A real community of learning has to be open and welcome visitors/carers in to see what’s happening. It’s always interesting to see how work like this pans out overtime. I’ll be keeping an eye on how this develops and impacts on relationships.

The children are collecting backpacks and the contents for Malawi at the moment. The contents of these are always very touching, children often give up very treasured possessions for others less fortunate. Last time we had favourite teddies and books sent in because they were so special to the child. We have a gran who collected over 60 shoeboxes of donations last time. This is real citizenship in action. A favourite thought of mine at the moment is service and duty and how  this is about a state of mind where we aim to be selfless and to give/serve unconditionally. Sometimes in schools we can learn so much about this from little things our children and others around us do.

November 24, 2007 Posted by | learning, Parent Consultations, Scots, teaching, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Growing our children

I sometimes wonder what we are doing to our children as a society. As I look around I see children who have a very different experience of childhood to the one that I had. We (and I include myself here as a parent), often believe that our children can’t handle difficult situations and that danger lurks around every corner. We jump in and “help” when any difficulty arises for our children.

The very things which we think children should worry about are often things we’ve invented for them to worry about. Too often we invade our children’s lives, taking away any control for them to experiment, learn and overcome difficulties by themselves. The things which we have replaced “danger” with, are often more dangerous and less understood than the bogeymen we invented. Do we really know how to help our children? Is it better for a child to have no contact with mishap and learning by experience?

When I was little if the playground had a bumpy area and I fell and grazed my knee, I would jump up and remember to be more careful there in future. Today we replace these areas with rubberised surfaces. If I fell when I was climbing a tree, I either learned to climb better or decided that maybe cycling was a better option… When I went out for a couple of hours to play, I told my parents when I’d be back and got on with it, sometimes getting into scrapes, but gradually learning how to cope with life and the world. Whereas I learned to regulate myself and my behaviour when out of contact with my parents, today’s child can contact by mobile their parent all the time. Does this constant ability to be in contact help our children to learn self reliance? If you can get anything you want instantly when you are ten, what happens when you are in a marriage or relationship later in life? If you never learn to cut the tie with your parents when out playing as a youngster when can you learn to self regulate and really use the values/lessons which our parents try to teach us about how to be?

If every time you are at football training you can phone Mum at the end and say where you are standing ready to be picked up, when do you ever learn to organise and plan for the future? If you always have parents helping and jumping in to sort things for you and keep you from danger, at what point as a teenager do you stop communicating with them all together?

I worry about the mental health issues, anxiety, anger and lack of resilience we are building up for our youngsters in the future. P Duignan talks about the importance of callouses on our souls for leadership development. Often as we experience difficulties and sadnesses in life we learn huge lessons and grow as people. I can pinpoint times in my life which were difficult but I know that when I felt the hurdles were too big, those were the ones which once I jumped, helped me the most. Let’s not take the joy of learning through all life’s ups and downs away from our children. Yes let’s protect our children but we also need to give them a degree of assessed risk so they can learn to be fully functioning, independent adults.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | Parent Consultations | | Leave a comment

tea with teacher

We have parent groups every Friday. Our parents named this “tea with teacher”. The P1 and the P2  teachers now both do this. So during our star of the week assembly the P1 teacher holds this drop in session for about 45 minutes – they talk about anything which might crop up – basically how to help work in partnership. The P2 teacher is also our Pt2 and she holds her session during the same afternoon.

I’m really proud that these teachers are continuing this high level of parental input weekly. We may not be able to measure this in terms of a ticky sheet but we can measure it in terms of parental perception of school, parental involvement and input at home etc.

Introducing family time is our next development to work with parents and carers. We read about this in a school in Fife. We’re going to start small with a monthly family time – basically a monthly open afternoon linked to curricular areas going on within classes.

October 12, 2007 Posted by | Parent Consultations | Leave a comment

Things they say

At our parent consultations yesterday, we had our usual share of comments and feedback from parents. I loved the story a P1 Dad told me. His wee one had gone home and complained another boy had pushed him and hurt him. Dad asked why he hadn’t pushed and hurt him back.

Says the 5 year old:

“It’s not school policy to hurt other people back.”

Give that wean a job!

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Parent Consultations | Leave a comment