A Week of all things Wellington
This week, I’m writing the Week Ahead from my hotel room in Tianjin. I’m here with Yuki to attend professional development on ‘Leading for Impact’ held at Wellington College International Tianjin. We travelled with our colleagues from the International School in Shanghai and have received a very warm welcome from our extended family here in the north. The College in Tianjin was the first Wellington College in China and has a wonderful spirit of community; the pupils, staff and the setting imbue the Wellington values and the identity, and the ambience is something that is echoed throughout the other Wellington Colleges. Add in some first-class professional development and I’m feeling rather inspired.
Leading for Impact
Impact: To have a marked effect or influence on someone or something (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/impact). As a leader, I have a clear vision of who and what we are, and this is shared by the team who strive to offer learning opportunities steeped in an educational experience which is:
- HOLISTIC: Pupils grow and develop around a play-based model of learning rooted in the characteristics of effective learning in a context which is personalised and fulfilling to everyone.
- PUPIL-CENTRED: We apply the very best research-based practices for early childhood development that are embedded in the philosophy of intended learning, with the Wellington Values and Identity at the heart of our practice.
- FUN: Children learn best when they are surrounded by meaningful learning opportunities. Learning spaces are designed and adapted to the themes and the pupils’ preferences to maximise ownership of their learning journey.
- PROGRESSIVE: Like young children, early years’ education evolves constantly. We rise to this exciting challenge, maintaining our moral purpose and delivering current best practice whilst preserving the highest quality in education service provision
As educators, if our practice ultimately does not impact on pupil progress and achievement, we must question the purpose of what we do. As a leader, if my practice does not impact on all stakeholders, I too must question what I do / how I do what I do. Leading for impact is a very powerful strategy of reflection, focussing of the mind, strategic priority planning and identifying the tools for maximising impact in practice at all levels. This supports a cycle of monitoring and evaluation as we strive for continuous evolution. Early Years’ education never sits still (rather like a young learner); it is fluid, ever-changing and dynamic. To support it, we need to be just the same.
A visit from Felicity Kirk, Governor, Wellington College
I was delighted to welcome Felicity Kirk to Wellington College Bilingual Shanghai on Monday. Felicity is international pro-bono director at US law firm Ropes & Gray, as well as being a governor of both Wellington College and Eagle House. During her visit, Felicity was afforded the opportunity to tour the setting, meet with some of our Wellington parents and the teaching team. In the ten months since her first visit, Felicity could see the evolution of the setting and experience it alive with young Wellingtonians, the evidence of their learning and witness the interactions between the members of our Wellington family. Felicity was impressed with the relationship formed with the parents and found their commitment to a holistic education for their children very inspiring. This was mirrored throughout the conversations with the teaching team, who shared their stories of a collective and collaborative journey.
A Warm Welcome to Wellington College Bilingual Hangzhou
On Wednesday 11th January, Wellington College and China Xiaoshan Science and Technology Polis launched their strategic education partnership to open Wellington College Bilingual Hangzhou in Xiaoshan, Hangzhou, marking another major achievement in Sino-British education and co-operation. Wellington College Bilingual Hangzhou, the fourth Wellington College in China will provide a world-class, all-round education for pupils aged between 2 to 18 years of age. On behalf of Wellington College Bilingual Shanghai, I extend a very warm welcome to the founding British Headmaster, Mr Paul Rogers and wish him and his founding team much success as they embark on what will be an exciting journey ahead. More information on the launch event can be found on our WeChat feed.
The week beginning 16th January 2017 is all about Chinese New Year
Early Years 1
Miss Karina informs me that next week EY1 will be focusing on the celebration of the Lunar New Year. “Our classes will be making beautiful and elaborate decorations such as Chinese New Year Cards. The following cards will then be sent to our children’s family members. Chinese Lanterns, Handprint roosters and craft fireworks will be made during activity time! Chinese New Year is the most important celebration of the lunar calendar, where families get together to celebrate, dine, reconnect and enjoy well-deserved time with those they cherish the most. Our little EY1s will be learning a little bit more about the traditional ways of celebrating the lunar New Year. We are going to be reading a story called 年 ‘nian’ which is based on the main character who goes by a similar name. The monster feels lonely which is why it frightens others. After everybody shows it how joyous the celebration is, the monster feels happy too and so it will not be so scary anymore and everybody will 过年 ‘guonian’ spend the New Year together happily.”
Early Years 2
Miss May tells me, “In EY2，we will be looking at the different traditions of CNY celebration, such as the foods that are eaten (mmmmmm, dumplings), the travelling that is done to see family and friends, and the new clothes that we wear. Some of the fun range of activities that the children will be participating in this week will include making paper kites, cherry blossom art, making their own lucky red envelopes and lanterns, and creating the head of the dragon. English stories are ‘My first Chinese New Year’ by Karen Katz and ‘Bring in the new year’ by Grace Lin. Chinese stories are ‘Monster Nian’ and ‘Twelve Chinese Zodiac Signs’. We will sing the bilingual song ‘Happy New Year’ and a Chinese song 恭喜恭喜（Congratulations）”.
Early Years 3
Miss Nikki outlines the following week: “In Chinese in EY3 next week we will be learning some traditional Chinese songs such as ‘GongxiGongxi’, Happy New Year. We will also use the book ‘Tuanyuan 团圆’ to help the children better understand our festival culture. In art, we are going to make red bags. We will talk about the zodiac and do some maths sorting games. In English, we will be using the story of the zodiac as a basis for all our learning. We will be having a go at sequencing and retelling the story after hearing it. The children will be painting their favourite character, having a go at writing the Chinese characters for that animal, and talking about why it is their favourite. We will also use the story to talk about ordinal numbers and sequencing.
One Week Ahead!
We will be focussing on Chinese New Year next week in preparation for the forthcoming break. Please do remember that the setting will be closed on the weeks beginning 23rd and 30th January, we will welcome our Wellington families back on Monday 6th February 2017. During the Chinese New Year break, there will be no Week Ahead, but we will return with a series of publications on the Wellington Values written by William Green. William writes with such passion about education and I feel extremely lucky to have him in our team. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading about how the Wellington Values can be promoted outside of the setting and in the home.