The power of a partnership
This week, the teaching teams have met with the parents at the bilingual setting to provide an update on each unique pupil and their progress to date. For some parents this can be a time of worry as their child is ‘measured’ against a pre-defined set of expectations. I’d like to use this week’s Week Ahead as an opportunity to reaffirm why we consider the chance to provide feedback so important in affording every child the chance of personal success and growth. I write this not only as an educator but as a parent, the mother of two amazing boys who are as unique as I would wish them to be – not through my design, but through my acceptance of them as exceptional human beings (more on them later!).
Educators are fuelled by an inherent desire to give every pupil the chance to be the very best version of themselves – this is not the best version of a copy of a sibling, cousin, friend or a classmate; it is the best version of themselves complete with their own personal quirks, unique characteristics, interests, preferences and challenges. I’ve added challenges as our own personal challenges can underpin how we behave, how we react and how we manage our feelings and behaviour. Our challenges make us who we are; being human is not all rainbows and picnics, we have our own storms too and these emotions and feelings are not confined to adulthood. Children have fears, worries and concerns. They are afraid to take risks without the encouragement of a supporting adult, they are continually presented with situations and experiences that are new to them – sharing, taking turns, waiting, listening to others before speaking, following routines, learning new ‘rules’, getting messy, being quiet, being loud, speaking new and unfamiliar words (in a new language), singing, dancing, being silly……. the list is endless. These challenges are often the driving force behind a child’s observed behaviour and can become the basis of the conversations between a teacher and a parent.
As a parent, I am fuelled by an inherent desire for my children to be happy, healthy and secure in their own skin. I’ve no idea who they will become as adults, however I believe that if I lay a solid foundation of love, security and support then they will flourish and thrive regardless of where we are in the world. My sons are very different – chalk and cheese, we would say back in the UK. One is exceptionally creative and imaginative, an ‘out of the box’ thinker who loves to write stories, comic strips, movie scripts and dress up in his own fashion design creations. An exuberant character who loves to perform, however not in front of a public audience, as here, his confidence crumbles somewhat. He also avoids sports as if they are a contagious disease. With this creative mind comes the challenge of sticking to the rules, following orders and instructions, maintaining attention and sometimes just sitting still and listening. There are also the challenges of the reactions of a creative nine-year-old; heightened and as exuberant as the character himself. However, this is my son; he is who he is.
My other son, a sports fanatic, is in the football team, rugby team and athletics team. He attends after-school training sessions, plays sport every weekend and attends football Academy. He loves being a part of the choir and auditions for just about any drama part that he can. Keen to try and have a go, he deals with disappointment with a shrug of the shoulder and a ‘next time’ attitude. Challenges with memory due to a complicated medical history result in the perpetual purchasing of water bottles, PE kits, school jumpers, lunch passes and football boots to replace those continually lost. Following instructions, absorbing new information and general organisation (executive functions) of life are challenges faced every day. An obsession with dates is ever-present as we count down to events on our calendar – I’ve been told multiple times a day this week that we need to be at school by 06:30 on Saturday to go to Suzhou with the football team. Each time I’m told, my acknowledgement is positive yet doesn’t prevent the next reminder. A previous aversion to reading and writing is only now, after six years of schooling, being overcome thanks to an amazing English teacher and continual in-school support. Reactions of this placid and happy-go-lucky10-year-old are only ever out of frustration because his ‘brain doesn’t always work properly’. However, this is my son; he is who he is.
Why is this important to a partnership between the teacher and parent? In the most basic terms, because they care. They acknowledge the strengths, weaknesses and challenges that each child faces and they present a way forward – what can be done within the setting and at home to support each child to be the very best version of themselves? The partnership is based on a shared desire to see every child flourish and this doesn’t necessarily happen without agreeing common goals, routines, boundaries and vision. By understanding how a child behaves at the setting (this can be different to how they behave at home) and the challenges they face, parents can consider how best to forge a path forwards together with the teaching teams. Whilst we all love to hear positive comments about our children, it is okay to hear that it is not all rainbows and picnics, it is okay to hear about the storms. What needs to happen next is to negotiate how to calm the storms, how to support a small human being as they grow in to the best version of themselves. Trust that the motives of those offering the partnership are true, communicate together and discuss the way forward. Most importantly, don’t compare. We are all unique, and in that, we are all the same.
A musical note from Sarah Peel
Many thanks to the families who sent in bits and bobs from their kitchen cupboards for our Music Kitchen project. Your worn-out pots, pans, spoons, chopstick and more have found a new home on the balcony outside the Music Room. It has been an absolute delight to see the children work in small groups to create a truly joyful noise filled with rhythm, laughter, and bursting with creativity! Here’s a peek at our children hard at work cooking up some music this week!
Based on the children’s enthusiastic reaction to this new learning space we’ve decided to expand our Music Kitchen project to the outdoor areas so they will have more opportunity to bash, bang, scrape, and stir up sound play. If you have a pot, pan, or utensil at home that we could reuse, please drop it off to the box in the reception area.
A kind reminder that our weekly year group choirs run from 8:30 – 9:00 am. This session to be filled with joyful noise as we sing a mix of songs in English and Chinese, from both classroom favourites and what we offer in Music.
Tuesday: EY1 – choir takes place in the Garden Space in Building C 8:30 – 9:00 am
Wednesday: EY2 – choir takes place in the Library in Building B 8:30 – 9:00 am
Thursday: EY3 – choir takes place in the Gym in Building C 8:30 – 9:00 am
Friday: EY4 – choir takes place in the Gym in Building C 8:30 – 9:00 am
Thank you again for your support of your children’s learning!
Classroom News for week beginning Monday 18th September 2017
EY1 – Erica Ni writes about the theme Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?
We are reading:
Brown bear brown bear what do you see, No No Yes Yes
We are singing:
If you are happy and you know it, Pat Your Head, Big and Small, Lions and Tigers, One Little Finger, Five Little Ducks, 两只老虎，小星星, 找朋友，一根手指变变变, 手指谣
A note from the EY1 team:
20th October -21st October Wellington college festival of Education
EY2 – Vivian He writes about the theme 10 little fingers, 10 little toes
We are reading:
One to ten Animal Mayhem
10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes
Ring O’Ring of Roses
We are singing:
5 Little Monkeys
Good morning song
Alice the camel
EY3 – Even Chen writes about the theme All About Me
“Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one.”-Astrid Alauda
This week children will start to look at the food that we eat and we will be asking questions like “What is a healthy food?” With the use of such books as Oliver’s Vegetables, the children will look at different types of food, and ways that we could categories them, whether that is by colour, smell or texture, we will let the children decide. Before we open up our green grocers store in our role play area later in the week, the children will look at weight, comparing the different foods as well as other items from around the setting. Once our green grocers store is open we will starting shopping for food and creating our own healthy lunchboxes. With the use of such books as Three little Pigs, the children will look at different materials of house.
We are reading:
Oliver’s Vegetables – Vivian French
We are singing:
I Like Food、健康歌
EY4 – Emily Gu writes about the theme Me and My World
In EY4 we will be talking about healthy eating. We will introduce the 5 categories of different food, and to know the importance of eating healthy food. We will do some hands-on activities, such as sorting out different types of food, and also to design our own healthy menu. We will talk about foods that we eat often, sometimes and rarely. To deepen our learning, we will also talk about the nutrients from the food so that children can extend their knowledge. Child will analysis what nutrients are provided by different food.
We are reading:
Supertato Veggies Assembly
We are singing:
Do you like broccoli?
A note from the EY4 team:
Please make sure that your child has a set of the rain coat and rain boots at setting, as we encourage children to continue their outdoor play despite of the wet weather. Please drop off your child on the playground in the morning before 8.30, we hope children can have a good exercises before they enter the classroom. Also, if you have any recycle things such as box, empty bottles, jewellery, fabrics anything that you don’t need to the setting. We can try to recycle and recreate new things and support our children’s role play.
Music and Movement – PeiHua and Sarah write about life in the music space
EY1 – EY1 will continue playing with creative animal movements to music and practice our focused listening and vocal play with the book Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle. Exploring the timbre of different instruments will be a highlight of this week’s session.
EY2 – Autumn is on its way and we will begin to explore this through music, movement and sounds this week. Our number songs will continue from last week, and have an opportunity to explore the sounds of our exciting new Music Kitchen!
EY3 – Our All About Me theme continues with Go Into the Kitchen, a very active and exciting circle game. We will continue our songs to support self-care and healthy eating. The children will also explore creative yoga set to music to help connect our healthy bodies and minds!
EY4 – This week our EY4 children will begin to connect rhythm and symbols as preparation for the introduction of basic music notation in the coming weeks. Expect to hear taa, ti-ti, and rests from your children at home soon! The Chinese musical story玛丽的新家 and song will continue. We will introduce “found sounds” with our new Musical Kitchen in preparation for making our own instruments during the coming project week.
We are reading:
EY 1 – Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle
EY 4 – 玛丽的新家
We are singing:
EY1 – I See You, 颜色歌
EY2 – 数字歌, Shake the Apple Tree, Autumn Leaves are Falling Down
EY3 – Go Into the Kitchen, 悯农
EY4 – 四季歌, Hello to All the Children of the World
Special dates: Reminder! Every week we will join together to sing and share the songs we have been learning. Please be sure your child arrives in time to participate in this very special year group activity.
EY 1 – Tuesdays 8:30 – 9:00 in the Garden Space, Building C
EY 2 – Wednesdays 8:30 – 9:00 in the Library, Building B
EY 3 – Thursdays 8:30 – 9:00, in the Gym, Building C
EY 4 – Fridays 8:30 – 9:00, in the Gym, Building C
A note from the Music team:
Are you a musician, dancer, or creative performer? WCCBS needs you! Our children are an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, and we would love to share your talents with them as we learn about music. Grandparents, family friends, and community members are welcome too! If you have a talent you would like to share, please e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we may be able to include you in our upcoming activities.