Pre-Prep Blog Archive
Published on: Monday, February 25, 2019
Reception have arrived back to Pre-Prep after half-term full of excitement and intrigue about what has happened to their classrooms. They ‘moved out’ of them at the end of last half term into temporary classrooms to allow the builders to move in and work their magic. Both Reception classrooms are being completely refurbished to ensure the physical environment is as shiny, fresh and stimulating as the learning that takes place inside them. The children are very much looking forward to watching how the rooms develop over the coming weeks; I have no doubt a few hard hats will be donned as they visit the builders to ask their many questions and share their ideas of what could be done!I also have no doubt this will lead to lots of interest in building works in general and am already looking forward to seeing the children’s creations and constructions in response to what they see happening.
Staying Safe in the Virtual World
Published on: Tuesday, February 12, 2019
I have spoken many times about both my awe and reservation of the rapid advancement in technology over the past decade or so. I am constantly amazed at what the digital world offers as so much of it seems like ‘wizardry’. However, I am also constantly concerned about the effects the digital world will have on our children which we cannot truly assess as it is yet unclear.Research presents us with mixed messages about whether children’s health is being effected, although, as a teacher I do think children are developing and presenting very differently to how they did when I first started teaching over 20 years ago.Whether this is a direct correlation to technology is difficult to say, but the world in which they interact is very different to the world children 20 years ago interacted.Interactions based solely in the virtual world can never replicate those that take place in the ‘real’ world which is why it is so important to educate our children, from a very young age, the importance of staying safe online.
Last Tuesday was Safer Internet Day and so we took the opportunity to compliment our regular ‘online safety’ lessons with an assembly where we thought about why it is important to know how to stay safe when using the internet. Through their previous learning, the children were fairly confident with the do’s and don’ts of being online but it was still important to reinforce the message.
We used the analogy of going to a new town or city where everything looks really exciting because there is so much to explore. However, all of the children agreed they would never explore a town or city by themselves because they might get lost or it will probably be filled with strangers or there might be parts of the town that are dangerous etc. We then compared the internet as being like a big city where there are so many exciting things to explore and find out but that if you adventure off on your own you may get lost / meet strangers / come across dangers so it is always important to let an adult know what you are doing.Just as an adult would hold your hand in a new city they can also hold your hand in the virtual world by knowing where you are going and what you are doing.
I hope, through education, today’s children will be digital-savvy and enjoy the many benefits technology brings with the maturity and tenacity to cope with the parts that are not as positive.
A Mind Hug
Published on: Monday, February 4, 2019
As our series of assemblies about Growth Mindset continues, we spent time last week thinking about what happens when despite ones very best efforts things still seem impossible. The children were very honest when sharing their experiences of when this has happened to them and of the associated emotions they feel of frustration and anger. I shared with the children what happens in our brains when these emotions take over and we sometimes ‘flip our lid’. We looked again at how the thinking part of our brain (Pre-Frontal Cortex) wraps snugly over the feelings part of our brain (Amydgala) and of how it usually does a really good job of helping us control our feelings. We may feel worried, sad or disappointed but our ‘thinking’ brain lets us know that things will get better and will probably work out solutions for this. However, sometimes the emotions are so big and powerful they push our good thinking away and take control which can lead to us having immense feelings of anger, frustration and possibly even tantrums. We used Dan Siegel’s ‘Hand Model of the Brain’ to illustrate this more vividly for the children.
Once the children had some understanding of how the brain is behaving we then read a super story called, ‘Mind Hug’ by Emily Arber and Vanessa Lovegrove in which two children, Jack and Sarah, discover a superpower in their mind. The superpower is using ‘big breaths’ to calm the mind when it gets so full of big emotions that it just doesn’t know what to do. The children enjoyed practicing this technique and also enjoyed listening to a song called ‘Belly Breathe’ that we have also started to learn.
It is so important in our busy world to give children the armour and information they need to help them deal with their emotions, which at this age are still relatively new to them and so can be even more overwhelming and difficult to make sense of. However, by consciously talking about what is happening chemically in their bodies and helping them begin to tune in to how their bodies physically feel when big emotions take over, should support their mental health and well-being positively and effectively.
(link to ‘Belly Breathe’ song)