Planning ahead and looking to the future……
There is much activity behind the scenes at present; we are preparing reports for the School Affairs Committee, devising class lists and staffing teams for next year, planning the schedules for induction week, the professional development calendar, meetings and moderation weeks, highlighting which policies are to be reviewed and updated and scheduling monitoring weeks for pupil progress alongside our colleagues at the International School. Rarely do we get to sit back and absorb the life of the setting around us, we are in the very heart of it continually. We constantly work to maintain momentum, respond to challenges, meet the needs of all stakeholders and evolve under the guidance and influence of the most recent ideas, research and evidence-based practice in education happening world-wide.
Education never ceases to morph, responding to changes in the wider world of academia. Practices are adopted and adapted to meet the contextual needs of each setting and ‘tweaked’ to meet the needs of the specific group of learners within each setting. We are all different, all unique, therefore models of education need to meet pupils’ needs, rather than pupils meeting the model. This takes time, as we develop a greater understanding of successes and challenges. However, through this process, the culture, ethos and educational model of a setting are embedded in the hearts of the community and triumph prevails.
Two main changes are to be introduced next year, which will support learning and development throughout the setting. EY1 and EY2 will move towards a book-based curriculum, affording the pupils an opportunity to embed language acquisition using specific books. EY3 and EY4 move towards language-specific rooms next year, an extension of our vision for bilingual language immersion. Changes to EY1 and EY2 will be highlighted this week, with EY3 and EY4 discussed in more detail next week.
A book-based curriculum – the power of books!
Repeated reading has many documented benefits (www.readbrightly.com) that support development of the child in:
Vocabulary and word recognition
The more a child reads, the larger their vocabulary becomes. When a child hears the same book multiple times, they become familiar and comfortable with a greater number of words.
Pattern and Rhythm
Hearing stories read aloud helps children become aware of the pattern and rhythm of the text. Language is more than words, it is how words sound and connect to each other.
Repetitive reading allows a child to join in with greater accuracy and expression.
Reading comprehension is the ability to understand all the components of a story, and as such, is the essence of reading. Each time a child reads or hears a book read to them, they learn more about the story itself.
With fluency and comprehension comes greater confidence. Children who can follow a story become self-assured readers who are more likely to enjoy reading.
But how does it work in practice? How do you make one book extend learning through a theme that may last up to six weeks? Let’s take the first book in EY1 which will be explored: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin Jr and beautifully illustrated by Eric Carle. At first glance, you may be fooled in to thinking that this book is just about colours and animals:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear,
What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me.
Red Bird, Red Bird,
What do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me.
However, with an inspiring and creative mind, the children can then explore animal habitats (who lives in the sky, the sea, the woods, on a farm? What else would they find in these habitats – other animals, birds and creatures, plants, trees, buildings, people?), animal noises, the textures of animals (who has fur and who has feathers, who has scales?), animal footprints, recognition and ordering of sizes, counting (how many toes does the frog have? Is that more than, or less than the bear? How many toes in the book?).
Children can undertake research into domestic animals – who has a dog, a cat, a fish, a frog? They can look after tadpoles and watch them grow to become frogs (what does a tadpole need to become a frog), sing songs about the animals in the book, move like them, create homes for them, be a vet, a teacher (there is a teacher in the book), discuss the similarities and differences of the children (there are children in the book too) both in the book and in the class, measure their own height (more research and scientific enquiry – even for a two-year-old!), play memory games, make rainbows of the colours of the animals, mix colours to see what results ensue (more science), create art – lots of it, change the animals in the story, make their own book……the possibilities really are endless. Who’d have thought that from one book with so few words that so much learning could take place? All it takes is imagination and the ability to plan learning opportunities for the pupils which reflect that imagination. Simple as that (if only it were that simple- it is actually quite the opposite!).
Parents as Partners – Parent / Practitioner Conferences start Monday 5th June 2017
Parent conferences are held this week, affording the teaching teams an opportunity to provide an update on pupil progress and discuss ways of supporting development in the home setting. The conference strengthens the partnership between us and is crucial to the holistic development of each pupil. Parents are encouraged to provide their feedback to the teaching teams on what they observe outside of the setting, so that a full picture of each pupil is established. The conference also presents an important opportunity to consider how to support your child over the break, so that they are ready for the next phase of their Wellington College education in August. That time will approach very quickly (the year is flying by us) and before we know it, Monday 21st August will be here and settling-in will start once again.
Classroom News for week beginning 8th May 2017
Early Years 1 – Wonderful Water
Next week, EY1 will learn how to use water so that we protect the environment from wasting this precious resource. We will learn about plants and how to water and take care of them appropriately. We will also consider how to take care of our things (e.g. clothes) by washing them. We will also wash dishes, water plants and help with cleaning around the classroom. EY1 will create bubble water and from that, produce amazing bubble paintings in assorted colours. We will also begin investigating and identifying animals that live in the sea. We will practise developing our sensory motor skills by using magnetic fishing poles to catch fish.
We are reading: We need water, I spy – under the sea
We are singing: Yi tong qu jiao you, Wo shi yi ge feng shua jiang, Zhao peng you, Yellow submarine, The bath song
A note from the EY1 team: Please bring in some of your child’s old clothes to the setting.
Early Years 2 – In the Jungle
We hope that you all enjoyed the extended break last week, the children seemed to enjoy it as they came back to us excited to share their experiences about the holiday. This week we start our second week of ‘In the Jungle’, which will once again allow all the children to explore the mysteries of this deep dark environment. The previous theme of water will lend itself nicely as we explore jungles further, when we discuss rivers and rainfall. We will also start to look at the many different animals, making masks and incorporating them into our role play. In our malleable play, the jungle animals will get messy and so we will be working with the children to look after them and giving them a bath down at the waterhole. Outside we will continue working with the children with a focus on developing their gross motor skills, as well as giving their logic thinking some exercise getting them to solve our jungle maze.
We are reading: 热带雨林探险队, 丛林里走啊走, 我想吃一个小孩, The Selfish Crocodile – Faustin Charles, Walking Through the Jungle – Julie Lacome, Rumble in the Jungle – Giles Andreae, Monkey Puzzle – Julia Donaldson
We are singing: 洋娃娃和小熊跳舞，大象, Walking in the Jungle
Early Years 3 – Exploring Animal Habitats
This week we will be continuing with our theme ‘Animal Habitats’. The children will continue to investigate animals which are of particular interest to them. We will be having a look at food chains within specific habitats, whether this is under the sea or in the jungle. Some of us will also explore the various kinds of patterns we may see and why they are different.
We are reading: Commotion in the Ocean – Giles Andreae, 我们一起去捉熊, 小黑鱼, 海底探险
We are singing: 5 Little Fish, The Whales, Walking in the Jungle, 狮子之王, 森林嘭嘭嘭, 鲨鱼一家, 在海里