We were contacted by Creative Partnerships to work with a reception class at St Gilbert’s primary in Salford, Manchester, to spend a day with the class on the project “When children are given more responsibility to plan their own learning what effect does that have on their chosen style of learning and their motivation to excel and achieve?”
Adam went in for the day forewarned with the knowledge the reception teacher gleaned that the children were into the class telephone and pirates, which was translated to mean communication and history. Adam took a quick survey of the children to see what they wanted to learn about on that particular day, and pirates was mentioned, along with measuring, pets, puppets, fighting and monster trucks (including electronics and engineering!)
Bits of dress up corner were moved to various parts of the classroom to symbolise that dress up corner was now (symbolically) as big as the whole room. Adam talked about the pirate flag, the skull (including skeletons and bones) and the difference between the rapier and sabre as a fighting sword. Then the whole class played outdoors for an hour.
At this age and in a reception class situation, there is a lot of socialisation going on. The children are learning to negotiate how to play with each other, how to share toys and equipment and how to deal with each other’s behaviour, both pleasant and unpleasant.
Back in the classroom, a group of children started to work on puppet shows and staged their own puppet shows to put on for an audience. This was a good extension of their usual play and allowed them to act out their own versions of performance in play.
After a calming and guided imagining session where they closed their eyes and imagined floating in a boat to a new wonderful place, Adam had them all individually make postcards to send back to their loved ones at home. They communally made a magic flying envelope to take theair postcards away and after blowing kisses to send it on it’s way, Adam flew it out the door in the final moments before the lunch break. One child shouted that he could see it flying past the window, while another suspiciously asked if it was in the staff room now.