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introTextHow to support children in their learning
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Active learning is a concept which is widely applied in education and one which many of us here at Cargilfield embrace.  It is a pedagogy that essentially has the child at the centre of the learning.  

Active learning focuses more on how children learn and not just on what they learn.

Through active learning children are encouraged to apply their own thinking rather than to passively absorb the information which is shared with them.  Research over many years has shown us that understanding is not transferred to children simply by telling them what they need to know.  Instead, the engagement with the given task, on a number of levels, makes sure that the child’s thinking is challenged and ensures that it is robust as they build upon previous learning.  

Active learning empowers children to engage in their own learning; building their knowledge and understanding as they respond to learning opportunities provided by their teacher.  Essentially, it is based on the concept of ‘constructivism’which focuses on the fact that learners build or constructtheir own understanding through applying and experimenting with the concepts they are trying to understand.  

Learning is therefore, seen as a process of ‘making meaning’.  Children are able to develop their existing knowledge and understanding to achieve a deeper level of understanding as they learn.  This, as a result, empowers them to apply the higher order skills of Blooms Taxonomysuch as analysing, evaluating and synthesising ideas to their own learning.

The role of the teacher, therefore, is to provide contexts and opportunities for this to take place; enabling deeper levels of understanding, curiosity and engagement.  Constructivism maintains that learning primarily happens through social interaction with others.  A theory which is vigorously embraced through active learning here at Cargilfield!

Lev Vygotsky, possibly the most famous constructivist, developed the idea of the ‘Zone of Proximal Development’.  This ‘zone’ lies between what the learner can achieve independently and what they can achieve when supported by their teacher’s expert guidance.  As skilled teachers, we focus on learning activities within ‘the zone’.  The teacher can scaffold each child’s learning by providing guidance and support that challenges the child based on their current ability which then allows them to develop their understanding gradually; ensuring that each increment in learning is built on solid foundations.  

Skilled teachers also provide meaningful feedback. This is ultimately based upon the concept of ‘Assessment is for Learning’ which ensures two things; firstly that each child is aware of their current strengths and weaknesses and secondly that they know what to do to help them improve.  It is important to remember, however, that learning experiences for children are developmental and that learning should be appropriate to their level of development.  This is often linked to their age although not always the same.

rightColBody

Active learning helps children become lifelong learners, encourages them to be successful and provides engaging and exciting learning opportunities for them to participate in each day.  

There are some key questions which we, as teachers, keep in mind when engaging with active learning;

- What do the children in my class need to learn?

- How will the task that I have chosen help the children to learn?

- How am I using questioning as part of the learning?

- Am I creating a positive classroom environment where it’s fine to take intellectual risks?

- How will I know that the children are learning?

It is critical when we do our long, medium and weekly planning that we consider; how will we engage with active learning to ensure that the child and the learning are at the centre of the process.  It is important to remember, therefore, that tasks can be relatively simple but still get the children to think critically and independently.  Likewise, a complicated task does not always help to develop a child’s thinking or understanding. This is crucial to consider and something which we embed in the planning process here at Cargilfield.

The key idea for us, as teachers, to remember is; that children must be empowered to think and engageduring their time at school and not just be passive recipients of an increasing bank of knowledge.

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perch_introTextHow to support children in their learning
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Active learning is a concept which is widely applied in education and one which many of us here at Cargilfield embrace.  It is a pedagogy that essentially has the child at the centre of the learning.  

Active learning focuses more on how children learn and not just on what they learn.

Through active learning children are encouraged to apply their own thinking rather than to passively absorb the information which is shared with them.  Research over many years has shown us that understanding is not transferred to children simply by telling them what they need to know.  Instead, the engagement with the given task, on a number of levels, makes sure that the child’s thinking is challenged and ensures that it is robust as they build upon previous learning.  

Active learning empowers children to engage in their own learning; building their knowledge and understanding as they respond to learning opportunities provided by their teacher.  Essentially, it is based on the concept of ‘constructivism’which focuses on the fact that learners build or constructtheir own understanding through applying and experimenting with the concepts they are trying to understand.  

Learning is therefore, seen as a process of ‘making meaning’.  Children are able to develop their existing knowledge and understanding to achieve a deeper level of understanding as they learn.  This, as a result, empowers them to apply the higher order skills of Blooms Taxonomysuch as analysing, evaluating and synthesising ideas to their own learning.

The role of the teacher, therefore, is to provide contexts and opportunities for this to take place; enabling deeper levels of understanding, curiosity and engagement.  Constructivism maintains that learning primarily happens through social interaction with others.  A theory which is vigorously embraced through active learning here at Cargilfield!

Lev Vygotsky, possibly the most famous constructivist, developed the idea of the ‘Zone of Proximal Development’.  This ‘zone’ lies between what the learner can achieve independently and what they can achieve when supported by their teacher’s expert guidance.  As skilled teachers, we focus on learning activities within ‘the zone’.  The teacher can scaffold each child’s learning by providing guidance and support that challenges the child based on their current ability which then allows them to develop their understanding gradually; ensuring that each increment in learning is built on solid foundations.  

Skilled teachers also provide meaningful feedback. This is ultimately based upon the concept of ‘Assessment is for Learning’ which ensures two things; firstly that each child is aware of their current strengths and weaknesses and secondly that they know what to do to help them improve.  It is important to remember, however, that learning experiences for children are developmental and that learning should be appropriate to their level of development.  This is often linked to their age although not always the same.

perch_rightColBody

Active learning helps children become lifelong learners, encourages them to be successful and provides engaging and exciting learning opportunities for them to participate in each day.  

There are some key questions which we, as teachers, keep in mind when engaging with active learning;

- What do the children in my class need to learn?

- How will the task that I have chosen help the children to learn?

- How am I using questioning as part of the learning?

- Am I creating a positive classroom environment where it’s fine to take intellectual risks?

- How will I know that the children are learning?

It is critical when we do our long, medium and weekly planning that we consider; how will we engage with active learning to ensure that the child and the learning are at the centre of the process.  It is important to remember, therefore, that tasks can be relatively simple but still get the children to think critically and independently.  Likewise, a complicated task does not always help to develop a child’s thinking or understanding. This is crucial to consider and something which we embed in the planning process here at Cargilfield.

The key idea for us, as teachers, to remember is; that children must be empowered to think and engageduring their time at school and not just be passive recipients of an increasing bank of knowledge.

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Cargilfield

What is 'Active Learning'?

How to support children in their learning

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introTextMaking the most of the great Scottish Outdoors
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As we embark on yet another exciting academic year at Cargilfield, one of the first tasks I undertake is to scrutinise the school calendar and ensure that I am planning ahead for the busy new term!  I am always struck by the myriad of opportunities afforded to our pupils and by the variety of learning experiences we provide for them, in line with our school ethos is ‘learning is an everyday adventure’.

It is a privilege therefore, as a teacher of the Humanities subjects to be able to make the most of the outdoor classroom whether locally or further afield. So many school pupils nowadays are deprived of the chance to learn outside of the traditional classroom setting for reasons such as cost, lack of curriculum time or worries about safety. 

IMG 3798


As a geography specialist I can only be thankful that at Cargilfield, we are encouraged to widen the horizons of our pupils and their experiences of the environment in ‘real time’. Fieldwork is an essential component of geography education enabling the pupils to develop subject knowledge and gain a range of skills that are difficult to develop in the classroom alone. Being outside, in different habitats offers exciting challenges that many students may not otherwise experience. 

There are many social benefits for the pupils who gain a great deal from the time spent working together in different environments. The sensory nature of being in the field can’t be replicated in a classroom setting and the scale and beauty of our surroundings are best appreciated by being immersed completely. How better to appreciate the awe and wonder of our landscape than to go and see it for yourself.

Geography without fieldwork has been described as being like science without experiments. Thankfully, this year once again, our pupils will be out and about not only in Humanities subjects but in all curriculum areas where their love of learning with be further ignited and their skills enhanced.

C4e63237 7e75 4f83 9f44 ff8b1d33c8c3

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perch_introTextMaking the most of the great Scottish Outdoors
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As we embark on yet another exciting academic year at Cargilfield, one of the first tasks I undertake is to scrutinise the school calendar and ensure that I am planning ahead for the busy new term!  I am always struck by the myriad of opportunities afforded to our pupils and by the variety of learning experiences we provide for them, in line with our school ethos is ‘learning is an everyday adventure’.

It is a privilege therefore, as a teacher of the Humanities subjects to be able to make the most of the outdoor classroom whether locally or further afield. So many school pupils nowadays are deprived of the chance to learn outside of the traditional classroom setting for reasons such as cost, lack of curriculum time or worries about safety. 

IMG 3798


As a geography specialist I can only be thankful that at Cargilfield, we are encouraged to widen the horizons of our pupils and their experiences of the environment in ‘real time’. Fieldwork is an essential component of geography education enabling the pupils to develop subject knowledge and gain a range of skills that are difficult to develop in the classroom alone. Being outside, in different habitats offers exciting challenges that many students may not otherwise experience. 

There are many social benefits for the pupils who gain a great deal from the time spent working together in different environments. The sensory nature of being in the field can’t be replicated in a classroom setting and the scale and beauty of our surroundings are best appreciated by being immersed completely. How better to appreciate the awe and wonder of our landscape than to go and see it for yourself.

Geography without fieldwork has been described as being like science without experiments. Thankfully, this year once again, our pupils will be out and about not only in Humanities subjects but in all curriculum areas where their love of learning with be further ignited and their skills enhanced.

C4e63237 7e75 4f83 9f44 ff8b1d33c8c3

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The Outdoor Classroom

Making the most of the great Scottish Outdoors

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introTextIt is alive and well at Cargilfield
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One of the prizes that we award annually at our end of year Prize Giving in the Upper School is called the Norway Cup. Not only is it a beautiful trophy but I love the wording that accompanies the cup and which I do my best to explain before making the award. I attach the full testimonial at the bottom of this article and I would recommend that you read it.

It is a prize for Debating at Cargilfield and, as you will see below, it reminds us of a key moment at the beginning of the Second World War when debate played a crucial part in defining the future of the country and perhaps of Europe and the rest of the world.

Would it be too strong a point to suggest that we have found ourselves in a place where debate has seemed equally important over the last twelve months? Certainly, the prep school that Sarah and I ran previously is now celebrating its first Prime Minister from amongst its alumni. And I am enjoying the fact that he has appointed one of my former competitive debating partners to his cabinet. Robert Buckland, the new Justice Secretary also once beat me in a college election by singing ‘My Way’ in a beautiful baritone voice at the hustings. Perhaps, as we may all suspect at the moment, it’s not just the quality of your argument that wins the day?

Debating at Cargilfield is alive and well. All children in the Upper School join our Debating Society when they join Form 6. We meet every other Wednesday afternoon at 5pm throughout the Autumn and Spring terms. Our new Form 6 cohort will have their introduction to Debating on the first afternoon of the new school year and I hope that this year we may also encourage some children from local primary schools to join us in this Society. Those children in Form 6 and above who want some more practice at competitive debating can join the Debating Club that Miss Pett and I run on Monday evenings and we will enter one or two competitions next term (albeit that we find ourselves pitched against senior school children in those competitions). We also host the Scottish Prep Schools Competition in March each year.

The strength of those competitions reflects the tradition for debating in Scotland. Certainly, some of the best university debating teams come from north of the border. This may be down to the tradition of ‘mooting’ as part of Scottish law degrees but I also believe that the best school debaters in Scotland would compete with any team down south.

As the words below suggest, the importance of arguing your case well; of being able to think on your feet and of having the confidence to speak out in front of others is something that form an important part of our education.

rightColBody

Methode times prod web bin 864c90e2 fa2f 11e8 b253 3f2f3ba0db47

On 7 and 8 May 1940 “The Norway Debate” took place in the House of Commons. Its subject: The conduct of the Second World War by the government led by the Prime Minister Mr Neville Chamberlain. What caused the debate was the great failure of the British forces’ campaign to resist Germany’s invasion of Norway. Hence, “The Norway Debate”.

The Norway Debate became a vote of confidence in the government. And the government won the vote, albeit with a reduced majority. But what was said and done in the debate, and the consequences thereof, have become an important part of history. Most notably:

Sir Roger Keyes, MP for Portsmouth, North, attended in the full naval uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet to say: “I came to the House of Commons today in uniform for the first time because I wish to speak for some officers and men of the fighting, sea-going Navy, who are very unhappy”. The impression left on the House by such words from someone so attired was marked.

Mr Leo Amery, MP for Birmingham, Sparkbrook, closed his speech with the following decisive words, directed to the government: “This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.’”

Mr David Lloyd George, MP for Carnarvon Boroughs and First World War Prime Minister, was also emphatically direct: “[The Prime Minister] has appealed for sacrifice. The nation is prepared for every sacrifice so long as it has leadership, so long as the Government show clearly what they are aiming at and so long as the nation is confident that those who are leading it are doing their best. I say solemnly that the Prime Minister should give an example of sacrifice, because there is nothing which can contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice the seals of office.”

These and other speeches against the government so damaged the prime minister’s standing that, notwithstanding the government having won the vote, within two days Mr Chamberlain had resigned as prime minister and Mr Churchill was appointed in his place. The course of the war and of history was thus changed by the debate.

The Norway Debate therefore stands as a notable testament to the principles that: (i) Debates matter; and (ii) Ultimately, it is what individuals say and do in a debate that defines its true winner, and not which side gains more votes at the debate’s end on a particular day.

RT

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perch_introTextIt is alive and well at Cargilfield
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One of the prizes that we award annually at our end of year Prize Giving in the Upper School is called the Norway Cup. Not only is it a beautiful trophy but I love the wording that accompanies the cup and which I do my best to explain before making the award. I attach the full testimonial at the bottom of this article and I would recommend that you read it.

It is a prize for Debating at Cargilfield and, as you will see below, it reminds us of a key moment at the beginning of the Second World War when debate played a crucial part in defining the future of the country and perhaps of Europe and the rest of the world.

Would it be too strong a point to suggest that we have found ourselves in a place where debate has seemed equally important over the last twelve months? Certainly, the prep school that Sarah and I ran previously is now celebrating its first Prime Minister from amongst its alumni. And I am enjoying the fact that he has appointed one of my former competitive debating partners to his cabinet. Robert Buckland, the new Justice Secretary also once beat me in a college election by singing ‘My Way’ in a beautiful baritone voice at the hustings. Perhaps, as we may all suspect at the moment, it’s not just the quality of your argument that wins the day?

Debating at Cargilfield is alive and well. All children in the Upper School join our Debating Society when they join Form 6. We meet every other Wednesday afternoon at 5pm throughout the Autumn and Spring terms. Our new Form 6 cohort will have their introduction to Debating on the first afternoon of the new school year and I hope that this year we may also encourage some children from local primary schools to join us in this Society. Those children in Form 6 and above who want some more practice at competitive debating can join the Debating Club that Miss Pett and I run on Monday evenings and we will enter one or two competitions next term (albeit that we find ourselves pitched against senior school children in those competitions). We also host the Scottish Prep Schools Competition in March each year.

The strength of those competitions reflects the tradition for debating in Scotland. Certainly, some of the best university debating teams come from north of the border. This may be down to the tradition of ‘mooting’ as part of Scottish law degrees but I also believe that the best school debaters in Scotland would compete with any team down south.

As the words below suggest, the importance of arguing your case well; of being able to think on your feet and of having the confidence to speak out in front of others is something that form an important part of our education.

perch_rightColBody

Methode times prod web bin 864c90e2 fa2f 11e8 b253 3f2f3ba0db47

On 7 and 8 May 1940 “The Norway Debate” took place in the House of Commons. Its subject: The conduct of the Second World War by the government led by the Prime Minister Mr Neville Chamberlain. What caused the debate was the great failure of the British forces’ campaign to resist Germany’s invasion of Norway. Hence, “The Norway Debate”.

The Norway Debate became a vote of confidence in the government. And the government won the vote, albeit with a reduced majority. But what was said and done in the debate, and the consequences thereof, have become an important part of history. Most notably:

Sir Roger Keyes, MP for Portsmouth, North, attended in the full naval uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet to say: “I came to the House of Commons today in uniform for the first time because I wish to speak for some officers and men of the fighting, sea-going Navy, who are very unhappy”. The impression left on the House by such words from someone so attired was marked.

Mr Leo Amery, MP for Birmingham, Sparkbrook, closed his speech with the following decisive words, directed to the government: “This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.’”

Mr David Lloyd George, MP for Carnarvon Boroughs and First World War Prime Minister, was also emphatically direct: “[The Prime Minister] has appealed for sacrifice. The nation is prepared for every sacrifice so long as it has leadership, so long as the Government show clearly what they are aiming at and so long as the nation is confident that those who are leading it are doing their best. I say solemnly that the Prime Minister should give an example of sacrifice, because there is nothing which can contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice the seals of office.”

These and other speeches against the government so damaged the prime minister’s standing that, notwithstanding the government having won the vote, within two days Mr Chamberlain had resigned as prime minister and Mr Churchill was appointed in his place. The course of the war and of history was thus changed by the debate.

The Norway Debate therefore stands as a notable testament to the principles that: (i) Debates matter; and (ii) Ultimately, it is what individuals say and do in a debate that defines its true winner, and not which side gains more votes at the debate’s end on a particular day.

RT

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Importance of Debating

It is alive and well at Cargilfield

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introTextOur job as educators is to provide opportunities for lots of sport!
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Sport plays a large part in all children’s daily life here at Cargilfield. We play sport every afternoon, we have sporting clubs every break time and after supper every evening, we have competitive inter school matches every Wednesday afternoon and often at weekends, and we take part in national competitions, playing in Finals as far away as Somerset and Bristol. We consider sport a vital part in the children’s education development here, aiming for excellence where possible but also striving to provide competitive opportunities for all children to take part, to improve, and most importantly to enjoy their sport at whatever level they play.

Like academic work, children’s sporting talent and enthusiasm develop at different speeds, so we try to adopt a ‘Sport for All’ policy as well as trying to aim for excellence and provide our talented athletes with pathways which may well lead on to district or national representation. Just as children become bored if not stretched academically, the same applies on the sports field and it is always a difficult balancing act, providing opportunities for all to take part as well as challenging the more able and finding top quality opposition against whom we can test ourselves.  At Cargilfield, we have nurtured full international amateur golfers, cricket, rugby and hockey players over the past twenty years, but have also engendered a love of sport, we hope, in so many more children which they will take on in to adulthood, long after they have moved on from here.

However, just how hard should we push our children? When should children specialise and focus on just one sport? Or is it our job as teachers and parents to expose children to as many different sports as possible to engender a love of physical activity and exercise? Many parents will be aware or have heard of the 10,000 hour rule publicised by Malcolm Gladwell, and which often appears in the media when discussing talented athletes. The principle holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field whether it is in music, business, art or sport.

As well as the 10,000 hour rule the media coverage of the road to success for Tiger Woods in golf and the Williams sisters in tennis who spent a large part of their childhood practising and specialising in one sport has been seen by many parents as the blueprint to success. However, for all the success of Woods and the Williams sisters there will have been thousands of failures attempting the above model – the only difference is that we do not know anything about it!

Long term athletic development requires far more components than just deliberate practice. Two of the biggest issues evolving from the 10,000 hour rule are single sport specialisation and the push for early selection to elite sporting programmes run by National Governing Bodies such as the SRU, Scottish Hockey, the FA and British Swimming amongst others.

Many parents now feel the need to get their child to 10,000 hours as soon as possible and to do this will ultimately mean focussing the vast majority of time and money playing and practising just one sport as opposed to experiencing a wide range of activities. This can rob them of their childhood and many children do not find the sport they would have enjoyed the most and become the most successful at.

Single sport specialisation at an early age can lead to problems such as burnout, injury, lack of motivation and also psychological issues yet parents often cannot see beyond the initial short term success in helping their children achieve the best from their sport.

Porter cash

rightColBody

HH52GRZ36VEZHOQ6LYN6RJO5KU

Sport should be a lifelong, long term investment for any child and any parent. The fact still remains that although there may be exceptions many top level sportsmen and women sampled a variety of sports during their early years and only in their teenage years did they really begin to specialise and focus on one specific sport.

The next issue for parents is that they are pushing and being pushed for their children to get selected into elite sports programmes at a younger age fearing that if they do not do it immediately they will struggle to get there in the future. In the UK perhaps football poses the biggest problem for parents due to its early selection criteria. With the offering of contracts by professional football clubs at the age of 9 many parents have been caught in a rat race thinking that the initial offering of a contract will give them the best chance of creating a professional footballer.

Going back a generation footballers were not invited into the professional football clubs until their early teenage years yet now clubs are picking up children into development programmes as young as the age of 5. In the years that children should be sampling a large majority of sports children are playing football all year round and even at the end of the season when the summer gives them the opportunity to recover and refresh many are involved in summer tournaments most weekends in the pursuit of recognition from the professional clubs.

Professional sportsmen and women have some time off each year to recuperate and do something different yet many parents are finding it acceptable to flog their young children all year round in the pursuit of success, yet the chances of ever ‘making it’ as a top class professional is miniscule. There are lots of sports which have started to select and give representative honours at a far earlier age than they did a generation ago adding fuel to the fire that these children may become professionals in the long term and increasing the expectations of parents along the way.

Clearly, it is important that as parents that we can keep a real sense of perspective on our children’s sport.   Why is your child playing? What do you want them to achieve? That does not mean that your child cannot dream of being a professional or indeed you can even think about it but with the statistics of this becoming a reality this expectation must be managed accordingly.

No matter how many hours you practise there is still no guarantee of long term success. Obviously, as with anything hours of practise will lead to improvement but it offers no guarantees in the future. We want children to be involved in sport all of their life so keeping them fresh by letting them try lots of different sports and finding what they truly love will help achieve this. To encourage a life long love of sport, and so experience all the associated benefits, exposure to as many different sports as possible must be the aim.

Fundamentally there is nothing wrong if your child is fortunate enough to be selected in elite sports programmes at a young age. Great facilities, good coaches, playing with good players are all positives but it is the management of this experience that will allow your child to gain the most from it and give your child valuable lessons that they can take into all aspects of life with them.

More important than anything else is that we must make sure that they are enjoying their sporting experience, and not us as parents or teachers! Unless children enjoy their sport, there will come a time where they will simply stop and walk away no matter how good they are……

Something to ponder, as we head off to yet another tennis lesson on a Saturday morning with your little ones in the back of the car!

Scot wal  34 497x405

DM18becks.jpg

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Sport plays a large part in all children’s daily life here at Cargilfield. We play sport every afternoon, we have sporting clubs every break time and after supper every evening, we have competitive inter school matches every Wednesday afternoon and often at weekends, and we take part in national competitions, playing in Finals as far away as Somerset and Bristol. We consider sport a vital part in the children’s education development here, aiming for excellence where possible but also striving to provide competitive opportunities for all children to take part, to improve, and most importantly to enjoy their sport at whatever level they play.

Like academic work, children’s sporting talent and enthusiasm develop at different speeds, so we try to adopt a ‘Sport for All’ policy as well as trying to aim for excellence and provide our talented athletes with pathways which may well lead on to district or national representation. Just as children become bored if not stretched academically, the same applies on the sports field and it is always a difficult balancing act, providing opportunities for all to take part as well as challenging the more able and finding top quality opposition against whom we can test ourselves.  At Cargilfield, we have nurtured full international amateur golfers, cricket, rugby and hockey players over the past twenty years, but have also engendered a love of sport, we hope, in so many more children which they will take on in to adulthood, long after they have moved on from here.

However, just how hard should we push our children? When should children specialise and focus on just one sport? Or is it our job as teachers and parents to expose children to as many different sports as possible to engender a love of physical activity and exercise? Many parents will be aware or have heard of the 10,000 hour rule publicised by Malcolm Gladwell, and which often appears in the media when discussing talented athletes. The principle holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field whether it is in music, business, art or sport.

As well as the 10,000 hour rule the media coverage of the road to success for Tiger Woods in golf and the Williams sisters in tennis who spent a large part of their childhood practising and specialising in one sport has been seen by many parents as the blueprint to success. However, for all the success of Woods and the Williams sisters there will have been thousands of failures attempting the above model – the only difference is that we do not know anything about it!

Long term athletic development requires far more components than just deliberate practice. Two of the biggest issues evolving from the 10,000 hour rule are single sport specialisation and the push for early selection to elite sporting programmes run by National Governing Bodies such as the SRU, Scottish Hockey, the FA and British Swimming amongst others.

Many parents now feel the need to get their child to 10,000 hours as soon as possible and to do this will ultimately mean focussing the vast majority of time and money playing and practising just one sport as opposed to experiencing a wide range of activities. This can rob them of their childhood and many children do not find the sport they would have enjoyed the most and become the most successful at.

Single sport specialisation at an early age can lead to problems such as burnout, injury, lack of motivation and also psychological issues yet parents often cannot see beyond the initial short term success in helping their children achieve the best from their sport.

Porter cash

perch_rightColBody

HH52GRZ36VEZHOQ6LYN6RJO5KU

Sport should be a lifelong, long term investment for any child and any parent. The fact still remains that although there may be exceptions many top level sportsmen and women sampled a variety of sports during their early years and only in their teenage years did they really begin to specialise and focus on one specific sport.

The next issue for parents is that they are pushing and being pushed for their children to get selected into elite sports programmes at a younger age fearing that if they do not do it immediately they will struggle to get there in the future. In the UK perhaps football poses the biggest problem for parents due to its early selection criteria. With the offering of contracts by professional football clubs at the age of 9 many parents have been caught in a rat race thinking that the initial offering of a contract will give them the best chance of creating a professional footballer.

Going back a generation footballers were not invited into the professional football clubs until their early teenage years yet now clubs are picking up children into development programmes as young as the age of 5. In the years that children should be sampling a large majority of sports children are playing football all year round and even at the end of the season when the summer gives them the opportunity to recover and refresh many are involved in summer tournaments most weekends in the pursuit of recognition from the professional clubs.

Professional sportsmen and women have some time off each year to recuperate and do something different yet many parents are finding it acceptable to flog their young children all year round in the pursuit of success, yet the chances of ever ‘making it’ as a top class professional is miniscule. There are lots of sports which have started to select and give representative honours at a far earlier age than they did a generation ago adding fuel to the fire that these children may become professionals in the long term and increasing the expectations of parents along the way.

Clearly, it is important that as parents that we can keep a real sense of perspective on our children’s sport.   Why is your child playing? What do you want them to achieve? That does not mean that your child cannot dream of being a professional or indeed you can even think about it but with the statistics of this becoming a reality this expectation must be managed accordingly.

No matter how many hours you practise there is still no guarantee of long term success. Obviously, as with anything hours of practise will lead to improvement but it offers no guarantees in the future. We want children to be involved in sport all of their life so keeping them fresh by letting them try lots of different sports and finding what they truly love will help achieve this. To encourage a life long love of sport, and so experience all the associated benefits, exposure to as many different sports as possible must be the aim.

Fundamentally there is nothing wrong if your child is fortunate enough to be selected in elite sports programmes at a young age. Great facilities, good coaches, playing with good players are all positives but it is the management of this experience that will allow your child to gain the most from it and give your child valuable lessons that they can take into all aspects of life with them.

More important than anything else is that we must make sure that they are enjoying their sporting experience, and not us as parents or teachers! Unless children enjoy their sport, there will come a time where they will simply stop and walk away no matter how good they are……

Something to ponder, as we head off to yet another tennis lesson on a Saturday morning with your little ones in the back of the car!

Scot wal  34 497x405

DM18becks.jpg

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perch_og_title10,000 hour rule – Misunderstood by us all?
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Cargilfield

10,000 hour rule – Misunderstood by us all?

Our job as educators is to provide opportunities for lots of sport!

Read More


Posted on

IDValue
perch_page_path/teaching-and-learning/news/archive.php
introTextIs CE still relevant in today’s educational world?
image/cms/resources/ded56e7f-f76f-47a2-bf12-106c36fa6beb.jpeg
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While writing in the week that our Form 8s are hunched over their exam desks and tackling this summer’s Common Entrance exams, it seems a good time to reflect on teaching towards CE.

In truth, I haven’t done much CE teaching for a few years and this year has been a refreshing experience and reminder of the quality of these exams. There are demanding comprehension tasks on both a prose passage and a poem supported by an interesting choice of imaginative writing tasks. In addition children are given the choice between writing discursive essays or a response to their reading, both in and out of the classroom. The tasks are challenging and require some sensitive reading and feel for language as well as an ability to write accurately and persuasively. They are a very significant stepping stone towards GCSE exams and present different challenges for a range of abilities. I have enjoyed teaching towards them and I haven’t noticed a significant difference in the level of challenge provided by these and a number of scholarship English papers used by local independent schools.

In a wider context, it is very fashionable to ‘knock’ CE: too much learning, too prescriptive, too repetitive (as I might have suggested, none of those criticisms can be levelled at the English papers). In the hands of nervous or unimaginative teachers, there may be evidence of this – especially with exams in the Humanities.

It is worth remembering, however, that although the idea of CE and a common curriculum and set of examinations to make sense of entrance to independent senior schools was first created in the latter years of Queen Victoria’s reign, criticisms were already being voiced in articles written before the First World War….and these exams have remained.

They remain popular with the major public schools who see them as delivering a rigour and consistent quality that has been lacking in other curricula such as the Early Years Programme or Prep School Baccalaureate. 



rightColBody

The Independent Schools Examination Board that creates the curriculum and exams includes teachers from both prep and senior schools and they create examinations which are carefully trialled and reviewed. These exams are then marked at a child’s chosen senior school allowing for that school to mark to its own standards as best suits their candidates. While moderating grades to achieve consistency is always difficult (comparing grades amongst the children going to different schools never really works) there is something healthy in masking some of this potentially debilitating competition for 13 year olds. Different levels of papers have also allowed schools to differentiate the challenge even further.

What I like best about Common Entrance, however, is the very personal nature of the communication between prep and senior schools. Children are not just candidate numbers and the inevitable exam disasters and ‘off days’ can generally be negotiated. And don’t forget, that an exam system that can turn around results within a week, allowing prep schools to keep meaningful teaching going right up until the midst of the final term, makes very favourable comparison to any of the larger examination systems.

As I watch a row of focused faces and pens hurrying over the papers, I do reflect that I’m rather glad I don’t have to do examinations any more but - having watched one of my own children struggle through CE and then feel amply prepared for the challenges of the public exams he faced three years later – I say ‘Long live Common Entrance!’

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perch_introTextIs CE still relevant in today’s educational world?
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While writing in the week that our Form 8s are hunched over their exam desks and tackling this summer’s Common Entrance exams, it seems a good time to reflect on teaching towards CE.

In truth, I haven’t done much CE teaching for a few years and this year has been a refreshing experience and reminder of the quality of these exams. There are demanding comprehension tasks on both a prose passage and a poem supported by an interesting choice of imaginative writing tasks. In addition children are given the choice between writing discursive essays or a response to their reading, both in and out of the classroom. The tasks are challenging and require some sensitive reading and feel for language as well as an ability to write accurately and persuasively. They are a very significant stepping stone towards GCSE exams and present different challenges for a range of abilities. I have enjoyed teaching towards them and I haven’t noticed a significant difference in the level of challenge provided by these and a number of scholarship English papers used by local independent schools.

In a wider context, it is very fashionable to ‘knock’ CE: too much learning, too prescriptive, too repetitive (as I might have suggested, none of those criticisms can be levelled at the English papers). In the hands of nervous or unimaginative teachers, there may be evidence of this – especially with exams in the Humanities.

It is worth remembering, however, that although the idea of CE and a common curriculum and set of examinations to make sense of entrance to independent senior schools was first created in the latter years of Queen Victoria’s reign, criticisms were already being voiced in articles written before the First World War….and these exams have remained.

They remain popular with the major public schools who see them as delivering a rigour and consistent quality that has been lacking in other curricula such as the Early Years Programme or Prep School Baccalaureate. 



perch_rightColBody

The Independent Schools Examination Board that creates the curriculum and exams includes teachers from both prep and senior schools and they create examinations which are carefully trialled and reviewed. These exams are then marked at a child’s chosen senior school allowing for that school to mark to its own standards as best suits their candidates. While moderating grades to achieve consistency is always difficult (comparing grades amongst the children going to different schools never really works) there is something healthy in masking some of this potentially debilitating competition for 13 year olds. Different levels of papers have also allowed schools to differentiate the challenge even further.

What I like best about Common Entrance, however, is the very personal nature of the communication between prep and senior schools. Children are not just candidate numbers and the inevitable exam disasters and ‘off days’ can generally be negotiated. And don’t forget, that an exam system that can turn around results within a week, allowing prep schools to keep meaningful teaching going right up until the midst of the final term, makes very favourable comparison to any of the larger examination systems.

As I watch a row of focused faces and pens hurrying over the papers, I do reflect that I’m rather glad I don’t have to do examinations any more but - having watched one of my own children struggle through CE and then feel amply prepared for the challenges of the public exams he faced three years later – I say ‘Long live Common Entrance!’

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Teaching

Not so Common Entrance?

Is CE still relevant in today’s educational world?

Read More


Posted on

IDValue
perch_page_path/teaching-and-learning/news/archive.php
introTextA new way to explore the past
image/cms/resources/thumbnailimg0166.jpg
imageAltCargilfield
leftColBody

What is History? What should we be teaching the children in our school? These are questions that we have been discussing as a Department. In Forms 7 and 8 pretty much most of what we do follows the ISEB curriculum as a stepping stone to Common Entrance or Scholarship. However, further down the school we have an opportunity to be more creative about what we teach and the methods we use to engage our children in studying history.

This term we have introduced a new approach to form 5 history. As a department we were determined to stress the role that History has played in our lives today. We are looking to develop important and broadly applicable skills and to promote a lifelong enjoyment of the subject. We are also keen to develop our children’s knowledge of local history and the place of our school in the local community.

Our expectations are high. Our children are routinely challenged to think critically and we have tried this term to weave our historical studies into a cross curricular approach in Form 5. For the first time, we have put the textbooks and pens to one side and are attempting to understand the history of Edinburgh through a study of local history that encompasses some Geography and RS as well.

Thumbnail IMG 0165

5M gate group

rightColBody

As you will see from the photos the children have been looking at the history of Cargilfield. It’s amazing how engaged they have been about this. One of my favourite activities was a re enactment of the opening of the Cargilfield gates at Barnton Avenue West. This week they walked down to Cramond to explore the Roman fort and explore the origins of Christianity on the site. Dr Barr was on hand to talk to them about this and answer their questions about the Kirk.

We have encouraged our children to think deeply about the questions we ask them and to work in pairs and small groups to encourage peer support and discussion and development of ideas. It is early days but our teaching staff believe that the children are highly engaged and enjoying this process. They are able to talk is detail about the things they are studying and enjoy sharing their ideas.

We have some exciting things planned for the rest of term including a trip to The Royal Mile and a visit to Mary King’s Close. For those of you who don’t know, Mary King’s Close is a warren of late medieval streets located under the City Chambers on the Royal Mile. It became buried in the 18th century and lay undisturbed until a few years ago when it was made safe and opened to the public. The children are apparently looking forward to meeting a few of the ghosts who live down there and hearing about their lives.

We would be interested to hear your feedback as we reflect on how to develop this going forward.

Please feel free to get in touch.

AD

Fort 4

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perch_introTextA new way to explore the past
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What is History? What should we be teaching the children in our school? These are questions that we have been discussing as a Department. In Forms 7 and 8 pretty much most of what we do follows the ISEB curriculum as a stepping stone to Common Entrance or Scholarship. However, further down the school we have an opportunity to be more creative about what we teach and the methods we use to engage our children in studying history.

This term we have introduced a new approach to form 5 history. As a department we were determined to stress the role that History has played in our lives today. We are looking to develop important and broadly applicable skills and to promote a lifelong enjoyment of the subject. We are also keen to develop our children’s knowledge of local history and the place of our school in the local community.

Our expectations are high. Our children are routinely challenged to think critically and we have tried this term to weave our historical studies into a cross curricular approach in Form 5. For the first time, we have put the textbooks and pens to one side and are attempting to understand the history of Edinburgh through a study of local history that encompasses some Geography and RS as well.

Thumbnail IMG 0165

5M gate group

perch_rightColBody

As you will see from the photos the children have been looking at the history of Cargilfield. It’s amazing how engaged they have been about this. One of my favourite activities was a re enactment of the opening of the Cargilfield gates at Barnton Avenue West. This week they walked down to Cramond to explore the Roman fort and explore the origins of Christianity on the site. Dr Barr was on hand to talk to them about this and answer their questions about the Kirk.

We have encouraged our children to think deeply about the questions we ask them and to work in pairs and small groups to encourage peer support and discussion and development of ideas. It is early days but our teaching staff believe that the children are highly engaged and enjoying this process. They are able to talk is detail about the things they are studying and enjoy sharing their ideas.

We have some exciting things planned for the rest of term including a trip to The Royal Mile and a visit to Mary King’s Close. For those of you who don’t know, Mary King’s Close is a warren of late medieval streets located under the City Chambers on the Royal Mile. It became buried in the 18th century and lay undisturbed until a few years ago when it was made safe and opened to the public. The children are apparently looking forward to meeting a few of the ghosts who live down there and hearing about their lives.

We would be interested to hear your feedback as we reflect on how to develop this going forward.

Please feel free to get in touch.

AD

Fort 4

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Cargilfield

What is History?

A new way to explore the past

Read More


Posted on

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perch_page_path/teaching-and-learning/news/archive.php
introTextAn important milestone
image/cms/resources/learntoread3.jpg
imageAltCargilfield
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Parents often ask how they can help their children with learning to read as they are very aware of what an important role it plays in future academic success. Reading helps develop intellect, increase vocabulary, improve writing and spelling all of which increase self-confidence and build motivation.

Learning to read does not happen overnight. It involves a series of stages and these can begin from when a child is months old. It takes time to pass through these stages and children require systematic teaching and lots of practice to move through them successfully.

The Pre-reader:

  • Likes to look at books and be read to
  • Likes to behave like a reader e.g. holds books and pretends to read them
  • Learns about letters by looking at books, playing with letter blocks or magnetic letters
  • Learns about words from stories, traffic signs and logos on food packages.
  • Learns how text works e.g. where a story starts and finishes and that the print runs from left to right.
  • Begins to understand that their own thoughts can be put into print
  • Uses pictures and memory[cb1] to tell and retell a story

The Emerging Reader

  • Is ready to receive reading instruction
  • Learns that text is a common way to tell a story or to convey information
  • Begins to match written words to spoken words and perceive the relationship between sounds and letters
  • Begins to experiment with reading, and is willing to say words out loud when reading simple texts
  • Finds the pictures helpful in understanding the text, and learns that the words convey a message consistent with the pictures

The Early Reader

  • Develops more confidence and uses a variety of methods such as word building or visual cues to identify words in texts.
  • Adapts reading to different kinds of texts
  • Has an increasingly wide sight vocabulary of words, knows a lot about reading and is willing to try new texts

The Fluent Reader

  • Has an extensive sight vocabulary of words
  • Uses a variety of methods to identify unknown words and their meanings
  • Reads a range of texts and predicts events in a story
  • Relates what is read to their own experience and understands new concepts.

How you can help your child on the journey to becoming a fluent reader?

As a parent you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Reading aloud to children is the best way to get them interested in reading. It is natural to want to compare your child’s reading abilities with those of children of the same age, but not all children develop reading skills at the same pace. What’s important is that you are aware of your child’s reading level so you can chose books and activities which are appropriate and will help develop their skills.

rightColBody

Tip 1: Talk to your child

Oral language is the foundation of reading. Listening and speaking are a child’s first introduction to language. Talk to your child as much as possible about the things you are doing and thinking and encourage them to do the same. Ask them lots of questions, sing songs, playing rhyming and riddle games. Be patient and allow them time to find the words they want to use.

Tip 2: Make Reading Fun

The more you enjoy the reading experience, the more your child will enjoy it. Read aloud with drama and excitement, use different voices for different characters. Re-read favourite books as many times as your child wants to hear them, and choose books from authors your child enjoys. Read stories with repetitive parts and encourage your child to join in. Choose new books together and ensure these cover all the different genres. When reading track the print with your finger so the connection is made between the word on the page and those being heard.

Tip 3: Read Every Day

Children love routine, and reading is something you can both look forward to every day. By taking the time to read with your child, you show them that reading is important as well as fun. Reading with your child is the best thing you can do to help them learn at school. Keep reading to your child even once they are able to read for themselves. This will keep their interest alive and hearing stories they aren’t yet able to access themselves, will stretch understanding and widen knowledge.

Tip 4: Set an Example

As a parents, you are your child’s most important role model. If your child sees you reading, especially for pleasure or information, they will understand that reading is a worthwhile activity. Talking about books is just as important as reading them. Discussing a story or book will help your child understand it and connect it to their own experience of life. It also helps to enrich vocabulary.

Tip 5: Listen to your Child Read

As your child learns to read, listen to them read aloud as often as you can. Choosing a time when there will be no interruptions is essential. As you listen, remember that your reactions are important. Listen without interrupting, be enthusiastic and give specific praise. Patience and encouragement really are key. Guide your child in their choice of books and steer them away from ones which are too difficult. Give your child time to work out tricky words, get them to try the following strategies:

  • Think about what word would make sense in the sentence.
  • Sound the word out
  • Think of a word which looks and sounds similar
  • Look for parts of the word that are familiar
  • Think about which word would sound right in the sentence.
  • Check the pictures and punctuation marks for clues.
  • Go back and read it again
  • Ask for help with the word

Finally, remember you can always ask me or your child’s teacher for help and guidance.

Happy reading!

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Parents often ask how they can help their children with learning to read as they are very aware of what an important role it plays in future academic success. Reading helps develop intellect, increase vocabulary, improve writing and spelling all of which increase self-confidence and build motivation.

Learning to read does not happen overnight. It involves a series of stages and these can begin from when a child is months old. It takes time to pass through these stages and children require systematic teaching and lots of practice to move through them successfully.

The Pre-reader:

  • Likes to look at books and be read to
  • Likes to behave like a reader e.g. holds books and pretends to read them
  • Learns about letters by looking at books, playing with letter blocks or magnetic letters
  • Learns about words from stories, traffic signs and logos on food packages.
  • Learns how text works e.g. where a story starts and finishes and that the print runs from left to right.
  • Begins to understand that their own thoughts can be put into print
  • Uses pictures and memory[cb1] to tell and retell a story

The Emerging Reader

  • Is ready to receive reading instruction
  • Learns that text is a common way to tell a story or to convey information
  • Begins to match written words to spoken words and perceive the relationship between sounds and letters
  • Begins to experiment with reading, and is willing to say words out loud when reading simple texts
  • Finds the pictures helpful in understanding the text, and learns that the words convey a message consistent with the pictures

The Early Reader

  • Develops more confidence and uses a variety of methods such as word building or visual cues to identify words in texts.
  • Adapts reading to different kinds of texts
  • Has an increasingly wide sight vocabulary of words, knows a lot about reading and is willing to try new texts

The Fluent Reader

  • Has an extensive sight vocabulary of words
  • Uses a variety of methods to identify unknown words and their meanings
  • Reads a range of texts and predicts events in a story
  • Relates what is read to their own experience and understands new concepts.

How you can help your child on the journey to becoming a fluent reader?

As a parent you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Reading aloud to children is the best way to get them interested in reading. It is natural to want to compare your child’s reading abilities with those of children of the same age, but not all children develop reading skills at the same pace. What’s important is that you are aware of your child’s reading level so you can chose books and activities which are appropriate and will help develop their skills.

perch_rightColBody

Tip 1: Talk to your child

Oral language is the foundation of reading. Listening and speaking are a child’s first introduction to language. Talk to your child as much as possible about the things you are doing and thinking and encourage them to do the same. Ask them lots of questions, sing songs, playing rhyming and riddle games. Be patient and allow them time to find the words they want to use.

Tip 2: Make Reading Fun

The more you enjoy the reading experience, the more your child will enjoy it. Read aloud with drama and excitement, use different voices for different characters. Re-read favourite books as many times as your child wants to hear them, and choose books from authors your child enjoys. Read stories with repetitive parts and encourage your child to join in. Choose new books together and ensure these cover all the different genres. When reading track the print with your finger so the connection is made between the word on the page and those being heard.

Tip 3: Read Every Day

Children love routine, and reading is something you can both look forward to every day. By taking the time to read with your child, you show them that reading is important as well as fun. Reading with your child is the best thing you can do to help them learn at school. Keep reading to your child even once they are able to read for themselves. This will keep their interest alive and hearing stories they aren’t yet able to access themselves, will stretch understanding and widen knowledge.

Tip 4: Set an Example

As a parents, you are your child’s most important role model. If your child sees you reading, especially for pleasure or information, they will understand that reading is a worthwhile activity. Talking about books is just as important as reading them. Discussing a story or book will help your child understand it and connect it to their own experience of life. It also helps to enrich vocabulary.

Tip 5: Listen to your Child Read

As your child learns to read, listen to them read aloud as often as you can. Choosing a time when there will be no interruptions is essential. As you listen, remember that your reactions are important. Listen without interrupting, be enthusiastic and give specific praise. Patience and encouragement really are key. Guide your child in their choice of books and steer them away from ones which are too difficult. Give your child time to work out tricky words, get them to try the following strategies:

  • Think about what word would make sense in the sentence.
  • Sound the word out
  • Think of a word which looks and sounds similar
  • Look for parts of the word that are familiar
  • Think about which word would sound right in the sentence.
  • Check the pictures and punctuation marks for clues.
  • Go back and read it again
  • Ask for help with the word

Finally, remember you can always ask me or your child’s teacher for help and guidance.

Happy reading!

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Cargilfield

A Parents’ Guide to Teaching Early Reading Skills

An important milestone

Read More


Posted on

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perch_page_path/teaching-and-learning/news/archive.php
introTextFun and Games in the Classroom!
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I often get asked what it’s like being a pre-prep teacher, spending your days ‘colouring in’, ‘singing songs’ or ‘getting out toys for lessons’. And I often take people aback with the perfectly truthful answer of ‘it is all just great fun actually!’

Now you may be wondering why we take primary education so seriously if this is all we achieve in P2 from a Monday to a Friday but actually it goes much deeper than a superficial front of fun and games, underpinning what is quite possibly at the very heart of all education. Developing and fostering a love of learning right from the very beginning.

That love of learning is exactly what the P2’s would be bursting to tell you all about from last term. Take the time we have got our hands, face and smiles covered in paint discovering the fun the North and South of a magnet can have (not so much ‘love’ from the cleaner we admit!). Or how about when we turned our classroom into a ‘real’ space ship, witnessing a live conversation from astronauts aboard the ISS and undertaking a series of astronaut tasks, learning that team working is an essential (but not always easy!) part of any job. The space journals we wrote leading on from this certainly produced some impressively detailed and opinionated pieces of writing.

They’ll also be more than keen to show you the planet orbit dance we learnt, which whilst making us all dizzy, showed us how the Moon and Earth orbit the Sun making days, months and years! Or ask them to fill you in about the time a herbivore made lodge in our classroom at night causing daily classroom chaos! The descriptive story writing produced from this adventure certainly echoed the excitement and enthusiasm the children had from their imaginations. Taking our ‘fun and games’ outside has also let us explore the real length in meters and centimeters of some of the world’s largest dinosaurs. Even at arm’s length, standing in a line we weren’t as big as an Argentinosaurus! How did this creature even fit between trees was one of the questions raised! The fun and enjoyment found in all these activities has allowed the children to explore, question and wonder. Possibly the three key ingredients for really developing a love of learning no matter what the age.

rightColBody

I thought I’d asked P2 what they ‘loved about their learning at school so far this year’ and these were some of their replies…

‘All the story writing we do because we always have the most fun before it’

‘When the spaceship landed in the classroom and we got to see what being a real astronaut is like… it wasn’t easy!’

‘When the dinosaur came into our classroom and we set up a camera to catch him!’ shortly followed by ‘oh I know, when I wrote about the dinosaur knocking over Mr Taylor’s picture of Mrs Taylor in his office!’

Story writing certainly featured high on their love list and it was clearly through the exploration, excitement and more simply ‘fun’ they had in the build up to these pieces of work.

So whilst it may be all ‘fun and games’ down in a primary classroom there is no doubt that laying down the foundations for a love of learning is definitely the successful route for developing enquiring and inquisitive individuals. We certainly have a year group full of just those sorts of individuals! Every game played to help our maths, song sang to remember our spellings or toy used to engage our brains is the very foundations for keeping that love for learning going right through to our old age. Now I wonder where our love for learning will take us this term!?

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I often get asked what it’s like being a pre-prep teacher, spending your days ‘colouring in’, ‘singing songs’ or ‘getting out toys for lessons’. And I often take people aback with the perfectly truthful answer of ‘it is all just great fun actually!’

Now you may be wondering why we take primary education so seriously if this is all we achieve in P2 from a Monday to a Friday but actually it goes much deeper than a superficial front of fun and games, underpinning what is quite possibly at the very heart of all education. Developing and fostering a love of learning right from the very beginning.

That love of learning is exactly what the P2’s would be bursting to tell you all about from last term. Take the time we have got our hands, face and smiles covered in paint discovering the fun the North and South of a magnet can have (not so much ‘love’ from the cleaner we admit!). Or how about when we turned our classroom into a ‘real’ space ship, witnessing a live conversation from astronauts aboard the ISS and undertaking a series of astronaut tasks, learning that team working is an essential (but not always easy!) part of any job. The space journals we wrote leading on from this certainly produced some impressively detailed and opinionated pieces of writing.

They’ll also be more than keen to show you the planet orbit dance we learnt, which whilst making us all dizzy, showed us how the Moon and Earth orbit the Sun making days, months and years! Or ask them to fill you in about the time a herbivore made lodge in our classroom at night causing daily classroom chaos! The descriptive story writing produced from this adventure certainly echoed the excitement and enthusiasm the children had from their imaginations. Taking our ‘fun and games’ outside has also let us explore the real length in meters and centimeters of some of the world’s largest dinosaurs. Even at arm’s length, standing in a line we weren’t as big as an Argentinosaurus! How did this creature even fit between trees was one of the questions raised! The fun and enjoyment found in all these activities has allowed the children to explore, question and wonder. Possibly the three key ingredients for really developing a love of learning no matter what the age.

perch_rightColBody

I thought I’d asked P2 what they ‘loved about their learning at school so far this year’ and these were some of their replies…

‘All the story writing we do because we always have the most fun before it’

‘When the spaceship landed in the classroom and we got to see what being a real astronaut is like… it wasn’t easy!’

‘When the dinosaur came into our classroom and we set up a camera to catch him!’ shortly followed by ‘oh I know, when I wrote about the dinosaur knocking over Mr Taylor’s picture of Mrs Taylor in his office!’

Story writing certainly featured high on their love list and it was clearly through the exploration, excitement and more simply ‘fun’ they had in the build up to these pieces of work.

So whilst it may be all ‘fun and games’ down in a primary classroom there is no doubt that laying down the foundations for a love of learning is definitely the successful route for developing enquiring and inquisitive individuals. We certainly have a year group full of just those sorts of individuals! Every game played to help our maths, song sang to remember our spellings or toy used to engage our brains is the very foundations for keeping that love for learning going right through to our old age. Now I wonder where our love for learning will take us this term!?

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Cargilfield

Life as a P2 teacher

Fun and Games in the Classroom!

Read More


Posted on

IDValue
perch_page_path/teaching-and-learning/news/archive.php
introTextBuilding blocks of language
image/cms/resources/dcd05293-7adc-4a03-8759-64d4c3b8eea9.jpeg
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leftColBody

Un mot ...Un jour...

Words are the building blocks of language and apparently mastering 500 of them would give us fluency in any foreign language. Easy you might say, but if you think about it which 500 words are you going to choose to learn? …

Well, at Cargilfield we like to introduce children to a new language right from Nursery and this is where they will start their learning journey towards 500 words. At this early stage we start with the basics, we learn how to introduce ourselves, the colours, we learn to count and sing songs. Just listening to a new language will give children an ear for the different tones.

I like to call it “La pyramide inversée”

For example:

P3    deux, soleil, jaune, chaud

P2                        Soleil, jaune, chaud

P1                                       Soleil, jaune

Nursery                                   Jaune

By the time the children reach F4 not only are they very comfortable with all classroom instructions and vocabulary, but they also have the basic tools and vocabulary for all the different topics that common entrance covers.

Using the classroom vocabulary below, perhaps you would like to try to have a go at the pyramid, and see how many words you already know?

IwSLLUJRH5GtLTNcJz3eWjl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVvK0kTmF0xjctABnaLJIm9

Coming back to our 500 words and deciding which ones would be appropriate to learn, I have worked with F4 children on creating a “one word a day perpetual calendar”, they all have independently chosen a word in English and translated it in French. We pushed the activity a little further by creating a French writing template, trying to handwrite like French children, understanding the gender of the word and finally they wrote the word in their own phonetic way, so whoever will read the word can also work out the correct pronunciation!!


Image 1

Image

We are still very far away from 500 words but next term F5 and F6 will follow in the F4 footsteps et ainsi de suite....

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perch_image/cms/resources/dcd05293-7adc-4a03-8759-64d4c3b8eea9.jpeg
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perch_leftColBody

Un mot ...Un jour...

Words are the building blocks of language and apparently mastering 500 of them would give us fluency in any foreign language. Easy you might say, but if you think about it which 500 words are you going to choose to learn? …

Well, at Cargilfield we like to introduce children to a new language right from Nursery and this is where they will start their learning journey towards 500 words. At this early stage we start with the basics, we learn how to introduce ourselves, the colours, we learn to count and sing songs. Just listening to a new language will give children an ear for the different tones.

I like to call it “La pyramide inversée”

For example:

P3    deux, soleil, jaune, chaud

P2                        Soleil, jaune, chaud

P1                                       Soleil, jaune

Nursery                                   Jaune

By the time the children reach F4 not only are they very comfortable with all classroom instructions and vocabulary, but they also have the basic tools and vocabulary for all the different topics that common entrance covers.

Using the classroom vocabulary below, perhaps you would like to try to have a go at the pyramid, and see how many words you already know?

IwSLLUJRH5GtLTNcJz3eWjl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVvK0kTmF0xjctABnaLJIm9

Coming back to our 500 words and deciding which ones would be appropriate to learn, I have worked with F4 children on creating a “one word a day perpetual calendar”, they all have independently chosen a word in English and translated it in French. We pushed the activity a little further by creating a French writing template, trying to handwrite like French children, understanding the gender of the word and finally they wrote the word in their own phonetic way, so whoever will read the word can also work out the correct pronunciation!!


Image 1

Image

We are still very far away from 500 words but next term F5 and F6 will follow in the F4 footsteps et ainsi de suite....

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French

Beginning to learn French

Building blocks of language

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Posted on

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introTextLots of learning and discovery!
image/cms/resources/f84975b3-bdd5-44c6-bfd2-d217d50fc4e7.jpeg
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What is going on in the Science Department? Well, apart from learning about the standard Biology, Chemistry and Physics, there is a drive to improve the thinking and problem solving skills of the children. You may recognise this as a large part of the scientific approach in any case, with the need to develop a hypothesis, design and carry out an experiment and conclude on the findings. However we have been trying to widen the children’s experience to help their thinking, and to stimulate their interest in Science.

As educators we have the job of trying to prepare children for their future life, but it is very difficult to know exactly what their lives will look like. With the pace of change and the current uncertainty about the political landscape, who knows? It is likely that a high proportion of these children will end up working in jobs that are unfamiliar to us today; indeed, they may not even exist currently. It is therefore very important that we provide them with opportunities to improve their ability to think things through and help them to be able to tackle problems that they have not come across before.

Science aims to stimulate our curiosity in finding out why things happen and it teaches methods of enquiry and investigation to stimulate our critical and creative thought. These will be valuable skills for the future.

The British Science Week gave Form Four and Five the chance to carry out some new and interesting activities. On Friday 15 September we spent all day working on a wide range of different STEM activities (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

We investigated the sneeze zone- how far a sneeze can travel and how we can prevent others from getting ill. We were able to learn about the spread of microbes and their potential to infect people.

The ability to be able to come up with new ways to tackle infection is a critical area in medicine today. 

7890204C 6676 4EFF 93FE CD67E7E02783

We investigated the problem of microfibres in fleece material and were horrified to discover that these microfibres get into our own food chain. This issue links with the need to raise awareness of the importance of looking after our environment. As the WWF advertisement says”we are the first generation that knows we are destroying the world and could be the last that could do anything about it”. Mr. Stephen ran a Dragons’ Den style activity which invited groups of children to design a possible solution to the problem of plastic waste, and pitch for the investment required to take their idea forward. 

7A103BFC 09EC 4C6D 90F7 CE461BBFB928

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We also explored static electricity and discovered that is used to help reduce pollution from smoke stacks and in other challenging environments. We looked at a photo on an electrostatic precipator but probably preferred the twelve different stations where we were able to experiment with static electrify! 

AB1FB94A 2A36 4E3C B2E6 C366624C355E

Engineering came to the fore when we were challenged to build the best paper airplanes and also the highest possible tower using only spaghetti and marshmallows and, of course, our knowledge of the triangle as a very stable building base. 

870004C1 B822 4B74 A294 37C08BCD90FF

It was a very successful day, enjoyed by all the children. Perhaps the best moment for me was when a young girl said to me that she had never thought that she could be an engineer. Well, why not?

In the Summer Term we will be building a simulated neuron network to help us understand how when we learn something new, neurons in our brains make new connections. This links with research into Alzheimer’s disease, which is forecast to grow rapidly. One million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025 and this will increase to two million by 2050. (Alzheimer’s Research UK)

Form Five Maths plan to carry out a Waste Audit, identifying the waste that is sent to landfill. They will also carry out a Plastic Waste Audit. Both sets of data will be reviewed later in the year and we hope that we will see an improvement.

Science and Maths are very useful in helping the children learn how to investigate problems and how to use a structured method to do so. Ensuring that they are able to be creative is also part of this process. It is quite likely that some of the children at Cargilfield will go on to make a significant contribution to the problems of the future. Hopefully we can help give them some of the skills to do so.

Fiona MacKerron

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perch_introTextLots of learning and discovery!
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What is going on in the Science Department? Well, apart from learning about the standard Biology, Chemistry and Physics, there is a drive to improve the thinking and problem solving skills of the children. You may recognise this as a large part of the scientific approach in any case, with the need to develop a hypothesis, design and carry out an experiment and conclude on the findings. However we have been trying to widen the children’s experience to help their thinking, and to stimulate their interest in Science.

As educators we have the job of trying to prepare children for their future life, but it is very difficult to know exactly what their lives will look like. With the pace of change and the current uncertainty about the political landscape, who knows? It is likely that a high proportion of these children will end up working in jobs that are unfamiliar to us today; indeed, they may not even exist currently. It is therefore very important that we provide them with opportunities to improve their ability to think things through and help them to be able to tackle problems that they have not come across before.

Science aims to stimulate our curiosity in finding out why things happen and it teaches methods of enquiry and investigation to stimulate our critical and creative thought. These will be valuable skills for the future.

The British Science Week gave Form Four and Five the chance to carry out some new and interesting activities. On Friday 15 September we spent all day working on a wide range of different STEM activities (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

We investigated the sneeze zone- how far a sneeze can travel and how we can prevent others from getting ill. We were able to learn about the spread of microbes and their potential to infect people.

The ability to be able to come up with new ways to tackle infection is a critical area in medicine today. 

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We investigated the problem of microfibres in fleece material and were horrified to discover that these microfibres get into our own food chain. This issue links with the need to raise awareness of the importance of looking after our environment. As the WWF advertisement says”we are the first generation that knows we are destroying the world and could be the last that could do anything about it”. Mr. Stephen ran a Dragons’ Den style activity which invited groups of children to design a possible solution to the problem of plastic waste, and pitch for the investment required to take their idea forward. 

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We also explored static electricity and discovered that is used to help reduce pollution from smoke stacks and in other challenging environments. We looked at a photo on an electrostatic precipator but probably preferred the twelve different stations where we were able to experiment with static electrify! 

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Engineering came to the fore when we were challenged to build the best paper airplanes and also the highest possible tower using only spaghetti and marshmallows and, of course, our knowledge of the triangle as a very stable building base. 

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It was a very successful day, enjoyed by all the children. Perhaps the best moment for me was when a young girl said to me that she had never thought that she could be an engineer. Well, why not?

In the Summer Term we will be building a simulated neuron network to help us understand how when we learn something new, neurons in our brains make new connections. This links with research into Alzheimer’s disease, which is forecast to grow rapidly. One million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025 and this will increase to two million by 2050. (Alzheimer’s Research UK)

Form Five Maths plan to carry out a Waste Audit, identifying the waste that is sent to landfill. They will also carry out a Plastic Waste Audit. Both sets of data will be reviewed later in the year and we hope that we will see an improvement.

Science and Maths are very useful in helping the children learn how to investigate problems and how to use a structured method to do so. Ensuring that they are able to be creative is also part of this process. It is quite likely that some of the children at Cargilfield will go on to make a significant contribution to the problems of the future. Hopefully we can help give them some of the skills to do so.

Fiona MacKerron

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Science Day at Cargilfield

Lots of learning and discovery!

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