What a week, there is so much happening around the school!
The children have been very excited as they watch the progress on the new playground. The playground was designed by a group of children who worked with Alison Laxon last year. A huge amount of work went into deciding on the design and the colour and through this exercise those children learnt a lot about the design process, including surveying stakeholders, interviewing various playground manufacturers, feasibility study of the area, types of equipment and consideration of safety aspects. Mind you, the children didn’t know that the skills they were learning were called those names, all they knew was that they were designing a playground!
It will be ready for use on day 1 next term. There will be about 500 children who will want to play on it immediately so we will have to stagger the use for a few weeks. My experience is that after a couple of weeks, children move back to other games and then the number of children on it will be more manageable.
This term, all the inquiry topics were centred around the theme of ‘enterprise and creativity’. In all the planning meetings (I go to all of them), the first thought was that we would have a market day where children could make things to sell. I asked teachers to extend this to using children’s creativity to come up with ways to use their enterprise to help others. It was such a great theme as it was based around our value of caring and made children think about what they could do to support people outside of the school community.
Year 1 students’ inquiry ‘Discovery Time’ enabled children to develop their own creativity through a wide range of open-ended learning experiences and activities.
Year 2 students’ inquiry ‘Enterprise with a Difference’ was based around the notion of ‘being part of a community means helping each other and solving problems together’ and they reached out to KidsCan.
Year 3 students’ inquiry ‘Helping Hands’ was also based around ‘how can we as children help other people?’. They looked at the needs of Tongan people following Cyclone Gita. They investigated various agencies and each class chose a different agency to support – Habitat for Humanity, World Vision, Amnesty International and the Water Project. They designed and made tea towels which they offered for sale with the proceeds going to their chosen charity.
Year 4 students’ inquiry ‘Super People Care for Animals – SPCA’ was based around the notion ‘children will understand the steps they need to go through to solve a problem’. Through research and having a person from SPCA talk to them they decided to support SPCA through making and selling cupcakes next term.
Year 5 students’ inquiry ‘Enterprise and Creativity’ was based around the notion ‘we can make a difference to our community through creativity and taking action by understanding and applying a business model to pursue a solution’. They have chosen a number of charities to support and their outcomes showed considerable creativity from donating a can of dog food in exchange for petting a dog to making dog biscuits and making toys and presents.
Year 6 students’ inquiry ‘Enterprise/Pay it Forward’ was based around the notion ‘year 6 students will endeavour to follow the inquiry process by identifying a need for the community. From this process we want to develop empathy for others and the community. They will take action to make an impact’. Again, a number of charities have been chosen and the children have made things to donate to the charities to be passed onto those in need.
I am so humbled by our children’s enthusiasm and skill in using their creativity and enterprise, not for their benefit but to help others.
Have a relaxing holiday, please don’t run around all over the place taking your children here and there. Let them play at home or with friends and let them have some down time (it will be good for you too!).
Annie Wills, teacher in room 21 has given birth to a gorgeous wee boy. All are doing very well.
We say goodbye to Tessa Fastnedge in room 4. She heads off on maternity leave and starts a whole new chapter in her life.
Victoria Taylor leaves us to head overseas for her OE. I don’t know who is more excited, Victoria or the rest of us living vicariously!
Aniel Smith leaves us to resume his employment at St Cuths. Aniel has been an outstanding PE teacher and through his great teaching, PE and sport have been identified by a majority of years 3 – 6 children as being their favourite thing to do at school.
All three of these teachers have given of their very best at VAS and our children are the richer for it. We wish them all the best.