One of the most enjoyable aspects of the job (other than working with the children!) is to be able to visit other schools. This is valuable on two counts. Firstly, the reassurance that what you are doing at your school is comparable to what is going on at other peoples’ schools and secondly an opportunity to steal (sorry, borrow) good ideas and practise!
This week, as part of my Deputy Head teacher induction programme I had the opportunity to visit a primary school in Urmston. The training was great, with a very motivational speech by the Head teacher and the opportunity to meet other deputies, which gave me a chance to talk about my own priorities for the coming year.
Part of the visit includes a tour of the school. Secretly this is my favourite part of the training because as I said you get the opportunity to borrow good ideas. This school tour turned out to be particularly enjoyable one. The Head teacher showed us around, pointing out all the improvements she had made over time and began showing us the classrooms. As the large group were ushered into the classrooms, I was welcomed with whoops of joy and “Mrs Chrysler!” It turned out that a lot of the children remembered me from when I had taught them at the local infant school.
I felt so privileged, as the children came up to share their news with me. One little girl told me that her Mum had, had a baby since I had last seen her. It was a lovely reminder of why I do this job. To build these lovely relationships and to make a difference to the life of a child.
Anyhow, I left the meeting floating on air and with the cockles of my heart well and truly warmed. Also, with a tiny glimpse into the world of an international, jet-set celebrity!
This week we have been having an anti bullying week at school. This is something we are passionate about at Gorse Hill at all times but we like to put aside a special dedicated slot during the year, in order to give this issue the recognition it quite rightly deserves.
The week began with assemblies for the various age phases in school. The older children were asked to consider different scenarios and to decide whether they would be considered bullying or not. The younger children, thought about how bullying might make you feel. In both cases, the children discussed what they would do if they were being bullied. The key message that I wanted to get across, was to tell someone. Hence the slogan, make a noise about bullying.
Throughout the week, the children took part in follow up lessons and activities within their classroom. It was fascinating to see how creative the staff were in tackling this issue with children across all the age ranges.
I would like to take this opportunity to include some useful websites that I came across if you needed advice, support or a way of dealing with this issue at home. Of course, it goes without saying that we value parents as partners in your child’s learning experience and are always happy to talk to you about any of your worries and concerns.
Make a noise about bullying video
It’s half past seven on Sunday morning and my five year old is asking to get up. Usually that’s not a problem, however, he has already been to the window and has spotted that it has snowed. He is asking not only to get up but also to go outside. I manage to buy myself a bit of time with breakfast etc. but before long, the two older ones are also putting on the pressure.
We all get bundled up to go to the park with the dog. This is no mean feat because nobody can find their hats and gloves, which haven’t been worn since last year because of all the mild weather we have had. The children are finally ready and exasperated that me and my husband aren’t! They decide to make a snowman on the front lawn – it’s so cute! But as you can see, it is wearing my little boy’s hat that it has taken me half an hour to find! Back into the house I go to find another one and I also grab spare gloves, just in case.
We amble up to the park. The kids think it’s great to pelt us (and the dog!) with snowballs, I’m trying to think of excuses to go back home. I hate being cold and wet, even the washing and ironing seem a better prospect!
At the park, there are numerous little snowmen dotted about. The kids are inspired to build another one. Off they start with boundless energy and enthusiasm. My daughter quickly manages to make a snowball that is so large and heavy that it takes two of us to roll. The snowmen begin to take shape. My youngest is still taken with the snowman film he saw at Christmas, and insists that his snowman has to have buttons. This initiates a frantic search for stones. This is no easy task as there has been a fair amount of snowfall in Sale! Stones are found and Gracie decides her snowman needs hair! Leaves are gathered and placed on the top. Their creativity makes me smile and I have to remind myself that one day they wont want to come and make snowmen at the park anymore.
The snowmen are complete and we walk on to give the dog a bit of exercise. As we round the corner, we come across the biggest, most amazing snowman and snow dog I have ever seen. Very impressive! But some people are all about ‘one-up man ship!’ Only joking!
I’m glad I made the effort to go to the park and make snowmen. Children are a great reminder to enjoy the little things in life. These are your memories and they are priceless. Besides, the hot chocolate from the café on the way home was lovely!
Anyway, I would love to see your snowy photos from the weekend. So feel free to post back.
This week has seen another successful SUMO session delivered by Dave and Jules. I think this is my favourite SUMO principle so far because it teaches us that it is ok to wallow in our emotions just like hippos wallow in mud.
If you are like me, you enjoy a good wallow. Especially the first week back in January when you are tired, have very little money left to last you until pay day and have given up sugar! However, the key is not to get bogged down for too long, you must acknowledge your feelings but you must move on.
Of course the children in my class embraced this concept, they are so resilient and their optimism never fails to amaze me! They were able to talk about safe places they can go to in their homes or at school ,when they are feeling mad, sad or bad about things. They also were able to talk about people they could trust with their feelings when they are feeling like this. I am so proud of them!
One of the drama workshop activities involved building trust. The children took it in turns to close their eyes and walk across the circle. The children opposite had to be ready to be their ‘safe person’ and guide them to safety. Well, I just wasnt ready for the profound effect this was going to have on me! To see these very young children volunteering to walk across the circle with their eyes closed, set me off initially. Only a few weeks ago, these children were brand new to school and finding it hard to come in each morning and wave good- bye to their grown ups. What really brought the tears out though, was seeing the children on the opposite side of the circle ready to receive them. They took their responsibility so seriously, with their hands out ready to reassure their friend that they were safe and secure.
It was a wonderful sight to see and will be a highlight of my year. This demonstration of trust and responsibility are powerful messages that we can all take away with us, that will benefit those around us and the world we live in.
Well it’s true what they say, time certainly does fly when you are enjoying yourself! I can hardly believe that I have worked at Gorse Hill for exactly a year.
I can honestly say that it has been the happiest of times. Working at Gorse Hill is like being a part of a lovely big family. If they like you, they take you in and never let you go! It is a nice feeling to belong and be liked.
I feel slightly more relaxed than when I came back to work this time last year. That said, I am excited and enthused by the many challenges that lie ahead in 2016. First and foremost, overseeing the development of a Forest School area in the Early Years outdoor space.
I hope that as we come back to school you all have the same enthusiasm for the challenges ahead. I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope that 2016 will be the best yet.