Archive of: April, 2021

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O’er Matron… School Nurse!!!  

I took up the school nurse post at Cargilfield 2 years ago, but have been a parent here since 2011 so have felt a part of this great community since then. When I dropped my son off for his first day in P1, I also had my first day as a student midwife! 

You may all wonder about my background… well, I do have my Bachelor of Science in Midwifery, along with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and a Masters of Science in Medical Genetics with Immunology.  My scientific background has enhanced my knowledge base and after working as a community midwife for the NHS until 2018, I have transferred my diagnostic and triaging skills to the nurse post at Cargilfield.  

This job is truly a varied one! I have pupils I see on a regular basis, for various medications but then thrown into the mix are the varied injuries and illnesses that occur. These can range from grazes, to sore tummies, to broken bones and some very interesting wounds. I always try to be approachable but the nature of my job does mean I am sometimes not hugely popular with the children or staff, for instance when I need to put children off games!! However, my priority is always the health and wellbeing of the children and as such, I have to make unpopular decisions where necessary! 

A part of the job I enjoy is taking part in the Form 8 PSHE lessons- I am not sure about the children, but I have certainly learnt a lot in these sessions. We have had some fantastic guest speakers come to talk to us, for example the police officer who brought beer goggles- they were a great eye opener! We also had a Krav Maga master come and show the children some great self-defence moves. It is a fantastic way to open up new experiences for the children who are about to leave Cargilfield and start their senior schools. 

rightColBody

The current Covid pandemic has really thrown a spanner in the works! Affecting every aspect of life, the school has had to adapt to the new world order! As we segue to a more ‘normal’ way of living again, we are all hoping to return to the exciting Cargilfield experience. The new surgery was remodelled in 2019, with a comfortable counselling room for children to have space to offload their worries, if they need to. Unfortunately, this area is now our ‘red zone’, meaning we need to keep it as a quarantine area. Fingers crossed we can open it up again soon!  

The importance of following the rules to ensure we protect the vulnerable people in our school and wider community is everyone’s job during this pandemic. We take this very seriously at Cargilfield. The sooner we stop the spread of this virus, the sooner we can open up and bring back the Cargilfield we all love! 

My role as school nurse has definitely kept me on my toes for the last couple of years and I hope I can continue to keep all our children happy and healthy, especially looking forward to post pandemic times!  

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O’er Matron… School Nurse!!!  

I took up the school nurse post at Cargilfield 2 years ago, but have been a parent here since 2011 so have felt a part of this great community since then. When I dropped my son off for his first day in P1, I also had my first day as a student midwife! 

You may all wonder about my background… well, I do have my Bachelor of Science in Midwifery, along with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and a Masters of Science in Medical Genetics with Immunology.  My scientific background has enhanced my knowledge base and after working as a community midwife for the NHS until 2018, I have transferred my diagnostic and triaging skills to the nurse post at Cargilfield.  

This job is truly a varied one! I have pupils I see on a regular basis, for various medications but then thrown into the mix are the varied injuries and illnesses that occur. These can range from grazes, to sore tummies, to broken bones and some very interesting wounds. I always try to be approachable but the nature of my job does mean I am sometimes not hugely popular with the children or staff, for instance when I need to put children off games!! However, my priority is always the health and wellbeing of the children and as such, I have to make unpopular decisions where necessary! 

A part of the job I enjoy is taking part in the Form 8 PSHE lessons- I am not sure about the children, but I have certainly learnt a lot in these sessions. We have had some fantastic guest speakers come to talk to us, for example the police officer who brought beer goggles- they were a great eye opener! We also had a Krav Maga master come and show the children some great self-defence moves. It is a fantastic way to open up new experiences for the children who are about to leave Cargilfield and start their senior schools. 

perch_rightColBody

The current Covid pandemic has really thrown a spanner in the works! Affecting every aspect of life, the school has had to adapt to the new world order! As we segue to a more ‘normal’ way of living again, we are all hoping to return to the exciting Cargilfield experience. The new surgery was remodelled in 2019, with a comfortable counselling room for children to have space to offload their worries, if they need to. Unfortunately, this area is now our ‘red zone’, meaning we need to keep it as a quarantine area. Fingers crossed we can open it up again soon!  

The importance of following the rules to ensure we protect the vulnerable people in our school and wider community is everyone’s job during this pandemic. We take this very seriously at Cargilfield. The sooner we stop the spread of this virus, the sooner we can open up and bring back the Cargilfield we all love! 

My role as school nurse has definitely kept me on my toes for the last couple of years and I hope I can continue to keep all our children happy and healthy, especially looking forward to post pandemic times!  

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Cargilfield

The life of a School Nurse!

COVID has brought new challenges!

Read More


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introTextImportance of focusing on well being
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Mindfulness 

My last blog post was on anxiety and the potential effect it can have on children’s learning and wellbeing. I started this post about a week after I wrote my last one in November 2018; a fit of organisation and enthusiasm! Since then there has been a lot of water under the bridge. We’ve endured months stuck inside our own houses, and our own heads, trying to ride out the storm caused by Covid 19, but Mindfulness is still relevant, if not more so. 

Anxiety has become an unwelcome, but common, state for many of our children over the last thirteen months and, as parents and teachers, it can be hard to know how to support our young people; especially if we’re struggling with the situation ourselves. However, there are things we can do to support our kids and to look after ourselves, too.

This blog is on Mindfulness which is just one of the tools we use at Cargilfield to support good mental health. You may have heard me chirping on about Mindfulness in one of the little video clips I produced for the children during remote learning, but what is it really and why bother with it?

Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that “mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.”[i][1]

Stopping to ‘notice’ is the first step in mindfulness and it hasn’t been a very tempting thing to do recently. If we stop and let our minds wander, they might go to some pretty worrying places; our concerns for the health of our family and friends, the missed hours of friendship and play or perhaps the missed learning opportunities for our children. We’re rightly proud of the remote learning offered by Cargilfield but nothing beats having the kids in front of you. We’ve all missed out.

However, failing to stop and take notice can, inadvertently, cause all of these thoughts to bubble over into anxiety. Williams continues by saying "It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,".

How can mindfulness help? Mindfulness is essentially training your brain to start ‘noticing’. Children are particularly good at this and pick up the skill quickly. The techniques we use to support this come from the PawsB mindfulness programme[2]  and some of these include; finger breathing[3], petal breathing[4] and a ‘mindful mouthful’[5]. I’ve included YouTube clips as examples.



 

rightColBody

Often the hardest part of mindfulness is having the discipline to do it regularly. It is all too easy for a few days to turn into a few weeks between ‘practices’ and it is for that reason that we are encouraged to find time every day to practise.

Mindfulness doesn’t need to be so structured, either. Many people find running or swimming very mindful, or perhaps the gentle swish of a golf club. 

Aside from sport, one of the things that might help our ‘older’, or perhaps I should say ‘proficiently literate’, children is keeping a journal or diary.  This isn’t necessarily a series of profound sentiments, it can start with a list of the day’s activities and progress from there, if the ‘diarist’ finds it beneficial. Sorting through the flotsam and jetsam of the day’s musings can be very therapeutic.

Although mindfulness can seem like a slightly intangible process, it generally comes naturally to those that give it a go. It is not a panacea for anxiety but it is a tool that can help build our resilience for when times are tough, and also for when they’re not.

The children will continue to be taught the PawsB course at Cargilfield and I am happy to answer any questions you may have. [email protected]

[1] NHS Website- https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/tips-and-support/mindfulness/#:~:text=Mindfulness%20meditation%20involves%20sitting%20silently,the%20mind%20starts%20to%20wander.

[2] https://mindfulnessinschools.org/

[3] Finger Breathing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh79w9pn9Cg

[4] Petal Breathing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGU3FxcFS18

[5] Mindful Mouthful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGU3FxcFS18

NL

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Mindfulness 

My last blog post was on anxiety and the potential effect it can have on children’s learning and wellbeing. I started this post about a week after I wrote my last one in November 2018; a fit of organisation and enthusiasm! Since then there has been a lot of water under the bridge. We’ve endured months stuck inside our own houses, and our own heads, trying to ride out the storm caused by Covid 19, but Mindfulness is still relevant, if not more so. 

Anxiety has become an unwelcome, but common, state for many of our children over the last thirteen months and, as parents and teachers, it can be hard to know how to support our young people; especially if we’re struggling with the situation ourselves. However, there are things we can do to support our kids and to look after ourselves, too.

This blog is on Mindfulness which is just one of the tools we use at Cargilfield to support good mental health. You may have heard me chirping on about Mindfulness in one of the little video clips I produced for the children during remote learning, but what is it really and why bother with it?

Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that “mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.”[i][1]

Stopping to ‘notice’ is the first step in mindfulness and it hasn’t been a very tempting thing to do recently. If we stop and let our minds wander, they might go to some pretty worrying places; our concerns for the health of our family and friends, the missed hours of friendship and play or perhaps the missed learning opportunities for our children. We’re rightly proud of the remote learning offered by Cargilfield but nothing beats having the kids in front of you. We’ve all missed out.

However, failing to stop and take notice can, inadvertently, cause all of these thoughts to bubble over into anxiety. Williams continues by saying "It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,".

How can mindfulness help? Mindfulness is essentially training your brain to start ‘noticing’. Children are particularly good at this and pick up the skill quickly. The techniques we use to support this come from the PawsB mindfulness programme[2]  and some of these include; finger breathing[3], petal breathing[4] and a ‘mindful mouthful’[5]. I’ve included YouTube clips as examples.



 

perch_rightColBody

Often the hardest part of mindfulness is having the discipline to do it regularly. It is all too easy for a few days to turn into a few weeks between ‘practices’ and it is for that reason that we are encouraged to find time every day to practise.

Mindfulness doesn’t need to be so structured, either. Many people find running or swimming very mindful, or perhaps the gentle swish of a golf club. 

Aside from sport, one of the things that might help our ‘older’, or perhaps I should say ‘proficiently literate’, children is keeping a journal or diary.  This isn’t necessarily a series of profound sentiments, it can start with a list of the day’s activities and progress from there, if the ‘diarist’ finds it beneficial. Sorting through the flotsam and jetsam of the day’s musings can be very therapeutic.

Although mindfulness can seem like a slightly intangible process, it generally comes naturally to those that give it a go. It is not a panacea for anxiety but it is a tool that can help build our resilience for when times are tough, and also for when they’re not.

The children will continue to be taught the PawsB course at Cargilfield and I am happy to answer any questions you may have. [email protected]

[1] NHS Website- https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/tips-and-support/mindfulness/#:~:text=Mindfulness%20meditation%20involves%20sitting%20silently,the%20mind%20starts%20to%20wander.

[2] https://mindfulnessinschools.org/

[3] Finger Breathing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh79w9pn9Cg

[4] Petal Breathing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGU3FxcFS18

[5] Mindful Mouthful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGU3FxcFS18

NL

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Cargilfield

Benefits of Mindfulness

Importance of focusing on well being

Read More


Posted on

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It is with trepidation and fingers definitely crossed, that I consider this coming Summer term. How wonderful it will be to have a normal term! When I reflect on the Science planning, encouraging the children’s thinking skills will be an important aim. Activities will be organised to facilitate lots of group discussion, working together and assisting the exploration of some of their own ideas.  Discussion engages and motivates children, gets them thinking and helps their learning. Gauging the progress of children in their thinking and problem solving was quite challenging to do remotely. Viewing learners on a screen leaves quite a lot to be desired! 

I look forward in particular, to trying out some of the ideas that were presented in this year’s ASE conference for Science teachers. Stuart Naylor’s keynote speech stressed the benefits of a lively classroom unlike in years gone by, when a quiet classroom may have been considered the ideal. Enquiry based activities get the children exploring and using and applying their own ideas. Working together helps them work out their own thinking, highlighting where they are uncertain or disagree with each other and giving them a purpose and a focus for finding out more. As Naylor says, “Talking makes thinking better and thinking makes learning better”. 

I will be trialing some of his ideas, for example Fierce or Friendly. This activity requires the children to discuss whether animals are fierce or friendly and to place the animal their group is considering, on a spectrum line. I will set up a line numbered from one to ten in the classroom with fierce at one end and friendly at the other and then invite each group to stand on the line where they think their animal should be. Their justification should lead to discussion on patterns that emerge and may lead to discussions on predators and prey, herbivores and carnivores, animals as we see them or in their habitats. For example, we see robins as relatively tame but male robins are very territorial and can fight each other very aggressively even to the death. Follow on work would involve the children trying to find out answers to some of their own questions, giving their learning a purpose. Naylor calls this self-imposed pressure.  

Some of the skills we will be practicing include group skills, turn sharing, supporting each other, respecting each other’s ideas and encouraging each other. Hopefully this can happen in a supportive environment in which the children are willing to share ideas and can do so with a growth rather than a fixed mindset. The classroom needs to be a blame free environment where mistakes can be opportunities to learn rather than problems.  

A further idea to promote good thinking and useful dialogue involves using a bullseye with the rings representing how far an animal can travel in a minute, with the centre representing practically no movement and the outer ring to indicate five kilometres a second. Hopefully the children will be able to come up with an animal for each of the eight rings in the movement bullseye. Follow on discussion may consider why some are fast and some slow, why some never move and what allows each animal to be successful. In this way a focus is given to work on life processes, habitats and adaptation with some useful cross curricular work on their Maths skills. The likelihood that each group will probably not be able to place an animal in each ring will hopefully create this “self-imposed pressure” to research, to find out the answers to the gaps in their knowledge. 

I will also be using the Mind map technique which gets children to create their own mind map laying out what they know about a topic at the beginning of the teaching. This technique uses a central theme, for example, light and then expands outwards based on associations their own brain makes. Light, eye, reflections, shadows, light sources, speed of light- each of these could radiate from the central idea.  Each idea can be accompanied with an appropriate image. Every mind map is personal albeit containing common information. It is learning based on their own starting knowledge giving them a frame to start from and build on. The next step is to consider what they would like to find out. At the end of the topic they return to their own diagram and add what they have learned. Learning which has a personal element is often more successful as the memory retains it more successfully.  

On a final note, I am sure parents will be relieved not to have to assist in Science experiments at home! Thank you for all the support you gave to your children over the two lockdown periods. It was much appreciated. Let us hope we have a full Summer term in school with lots of great noisy learning! 

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It is with trepidation and fingers definitely crossed, that I consider this coming Summer term. How wonderful it will be to have a normal term! When I reflect on the Science planning, encouraging the children’s thinking skills will be an important aim. Activities will be organised to facilitate lots of group discussion, working together and assisting the exploration of some of their own ideas.  Discussion engages and motivates children, gets them thinking and helps their learning. Gauging the progress of children in their thinking and problem solving was quite challenging to do remotely. Viewing learners on a screen leaves quite a lot to be desired! 

I look forward in particular, to trying out some of the ideas that were presented in this year’s ASE conference for Science teachers. Stuart Naylor’s keynote speech stressed the benefits of a lively classroom unlike in years gone by, when a quiet classroom may have been considered the ideal. Enquiry based activities get the children exploring and using and applying their own ideas. Working together helps them work out their own thinking, highlighting where they are uncertain or disagree with each other and giving them a purpose and a focus for finding out more. As Naylor says, “Talking makes thinking better and thinking makes learning better”. 

I will be trialing some of his ideas, for example Fierce or Friendly. This activity requires the children to discuss whether animals are fierce or friendly and to place the animal their group is considering, on a spectrum line. I will set up a line numbered from one to ten in the classroom with fierce at one end and friendly at the other and then invite each group to stand on the line where they think their animal should be. Their justification should lead to discussion on patterns that emerge and may lead to discussions on predators and prey, herbivores and carnivores, animals as we see them or in their habitats. For example, we see robins as relatively tame but male robins are very territorial and can fight each other very aggressively even to the death. Follow on work would involve the children trying to find out answers to some of their own questions, giving their learning a purpose. Naylor calls this self-imposed pressure.  

Some of the skills we will be practicing include group skills, turn sharing, supporting each other, respecting each other’s ideas and encouraging each other. Hopefully this can happen in a supportive environment in which the children are willing to share ideas and can do so with a growth rather than a fixed mindset. The classroom needs to be a blame free environment where mistakes can be opportunities to learn rather than problems.  

A further idea to promote good thinking and useful dialogue involves using a bullseye with the rings representing how far an animal can travel in a minute, with the centre representing practically no movement and the outer ring to indicate five kilometres a second. Hopefully the children will be able to come up with an animal for each of the eight rings in the movement bullseye. Follow on discussion may consider why some are fast and some slow, why some never move and what allows each animal to be successful. In this way a focus is given to work on life processes, habitats and adaptation with some useful cross curricular work on their Maths skills. The likelihood that each group will probably not be able to place an animal in each ring will hopefully create this “self-imposed pressure” to research, to find out the answers to the gaps in their knowledge. 

I will also be using the Mind map technique which gets children to create their own mind map laying out what they know about a topic at the beginning of the teaching. This technique uses a central theme, for example, light and then expands outwards based on associations their own brain makes. Light, eye, reflections, shadows, light sources, speed of light- each of these could radiate from the central idea.  Each idea can be accompanied with an appropriate image. Every mind map is personal albeit containing common information. It is learning based on their own starting knowledge giving them a frame to start from and build on. The next step is to consider what they would like to find out. At the end of the topic they return to their own diagram and add what they have learned. Learning which has a personal element is often more successful as the memory retains it more successfully.  

On a final note, I am sure parents will be relieved not to have to assist in Science experiments at home! Thank you for all the support you gave to your children over the two lockdown periods. It was much appreciated. Let us hope we have a full Summer term in school with lots of great noisy learning! 

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Cargilfield

A noisy classroom!

Talking makes thinking better and thinking makes learning better

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One of the most rewarding aspects of the human experience is our ability to connect with others. Being able to communicate with someone in his or her language is an incredible gift.

Why would we want young children to learn a second language while they are focused on learning their primary one? It seems like this would be learning overload at a time when they are also learning how to be friends, count, play in the playground and so much more. However, this is a time in our lives when acquiring a second language comes very naturally.

As adults, we have to consider grammar rules and practice, but young children absorb sounds, structures, intonation patterns and the rules of a second language very easily.

Here I are just a few of the many positive side effects of learning a foreign language:

Picture 1

Learning a language exercise your brain

How many times have you heard that phrase? It is a simple fact – the more the brain is used, the better its functions work. A new language requires not only familiarity with vocabulary and rules, but also being able to recall and apply this knowledge.

Working with new words and grammar rules gets multiple areas of the brain working together.

Learning a language will teach you a lot “About How To Learn”

Picture 1

People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.

After learning one, it’s much easier to learn another one!

    As you begin to learn a second language, you’ll find that the acquisition techniques you’re using can be applied to learning additional languages as well.  After learning one language, you retain the muscle memory. Your brain will intrinsically understand how to learn a language and how different languages are structured and you’re increasing your ability to replicate the process with multiple languages.

    Picture 1

    Just like exercising your body, providing your brain with a regular workout has great health benefits. Many studies have shown a link between being bilingual and delaying dementia by an average of four years. The reason for the delay is that learning a language challenges our grey cells, which help them from degenerating.

    Your brain thrives on learning things that are new and complex, learning a second language will slow brain ageing – you will stay smarter for longer!

    So, are you up for a brain workout?


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        One of the most rewarding aspects of the human experience is our ability to connect with others. Being able to communicate with someone in his or her language is an incredible gift.

        Why would we want young children to learn a second language while they are focused on learning their primary one? It seems like this would be learning overload at a time when they are also learning how to be friends, count, play in the playground and so much more. However, this is a time in our lives when acquiring a second language comes very naturally.

        As adults, we have to consider grammar rules and practice, but young children absorb sounds, structures, intonation patterns and the rules of a second language very easily.

        Here I are just a few of the many positive side effects of learning a foreign language:

        Picture 1

        Learning a language exercise your brain

        How many times have you heard that phrase? It is a simple fact – the more the brain is used, the better its functions work. A new language requires not only familiarity with vocabulary and rules, but also being able to recall and apply this knowledge.

        Working with new words and grammar rules gets multiple areas of the brain working together.

        Learning a language will teach you a lot “About How To Learn”

        Picture 1

        People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.

        After learning one, it’s much easier to learn another one!

          As you begin to learn a second language, you’ll find that the acquisition techniques you’re using can be applied to learning additional languages as well.  After learning one language, you retain the muscle memory. Your brain will intrinsically understand how to learn a language and how different languages are structured and you’re increasing your ability to replicate the process with multiple languages.

          Picture 1

          Just like exercising your body, providing your brain with a regular workout has great health benefits. Many studies have shown a link between being bilingual and delaying dementia by an average of four years. The reason for the delay is that learning a language challenges our grey cells, which help them from degenerating.

          Your brain thrives on learning things that are new and complex, learning a second language will slow brain ageing – you will stay smarter for longer!

          So, are you up for a brain workout?


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              Cargilfield

              Learning a foreign language is good for your brain!

              Go on, have a brain workout!

              Read More


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              Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

              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.

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