We have all been back in Cargilfield for full time education for over a year now and we hope that this is how it is going to be for the foreseeable future. We are relieved that most of us made it through with our health, jobs, homes, families and friends intact (and probably a few hidden loo rolls still!)- we are the lucky ones. We all have memories of those strange months and we are more than ready to adapt should something similar happen again. We provided daily lessons and activities via Teams, but there were aspects we could not anticipate or deal with easily online. What are the differences we have noticed in our P1 pupils in the aftermath of the pandemic and what are we doing to address these? Generally, we are seeing more of these, all totally understandable given their recent experiences:
We are addressing these in a number of ways:
We had lots of opportunities for new children to visit school to play and meet new classmates before beginning in the Pre prep, meetings with parents and teachers, packs of activities to work on in the holidays so the children began the countdown to joining Cargilfield P1. Lots of initial activities during our first term related to life at home, to link their two main environments.
There are timetables and lists of participants for clubs, activities and ASC so the children can check on their day. Each day we explain what we will cover, each Monday we talk through our week, each Friday we let parents know what we have worked on so they can let the children know they are involved in their learning.
In PHSE we read stories, discuss and role play how to approach new groups and how to deal with problems if they arise with friends.
We try to pull children up on pronunciation difficulties in a subtle way -we do lots of speaking and listening in class and more formal Show and Tell sessions, poetry recitals and performing on stage for an audience. Phonics lessons help the way children say words as well as supporting reading and writing. If this doesn’t address mispronunciation then we recommend a few sessions with a speech and language specialist.
We try to promote and reward independence in the classroom and playground and give children responsibility to make mature choices.
We have lots of taste, smell and food experience tests in topic lessons and we encourage children to try different foods at lunch time. An adult sits with the children at the lunch table to chat and to keep an eye on table manners and healthy eating.
We have timetabled IT lessons learning to use desk top computers with a mouse and strictly limited educational sites for use with ipads in class and smart board touch screen access during some class lessons.
There have been benefits that have come from the pandemic - principally that the children are delighted to be able to come to school to learn and to mix with other children, which they were starved of for months. Lots of teachers have embraced factors of online learning to use in their classroom and will now use clips of songs, online games and video clips as part of in-person lessons. We are also delighted to be able to have brief conversations at the beginning and end of the school day to touch base with parents if their children have had a bad night or want to share something with the class (and to mention the dreaded lost items of clothing!)
For now at least, facemasks have been forgotten, sanitisers have been stowed away and our children are happy, healthy and learning lots.
Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.