Archive of: June, 2021

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How can we help children become more resilient?

During the current pandemic we have all faced adversity in one form or another and having the resilience to weather times like this is key to maintaining a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Paradoxically resilience tends to develop and strengthen in the face of adversity. Facing up to the challenges of multiple lockdowns and the disappointments these have inevitably brought actually provide the building bricks for developing greater resilience. However, in order to utilise this opportunity, children need constant support and encouragement from the adults around them. Helping them navigate their way, providing emotional guidance and encouraging perseverance leads children to a better understanding that things will get better and disappointment and sadness don’t last for ever.

In encouraging and developing resilience it is important to allow children to engage in some minor risk taking and decision making even if there is the chance of some bumps and bruises along the way. They are then able to learn how to fail and try again, set and test boundaries and take control for themselves.

Using the “Power of Yet” is also a powerful tool in encouraging children to try new things. It teaches grit and helps develop a growth-based mindset. When they say, “I can’t do this,” then you need to add “yet, I can’t do this, yet.”

rightColBody

Helping children to see themselves as “orchestrators of their own fates” helps them to become independent and autonomous in seeking out new experiences. They understand that while you can’t always control what happens to you, you can always control how you choose to respond to it.

When children are experiencing anxiety, our natural impulse is to protect them. It is tempting to say, “I know it is really scary, and you don’t need to do it if you don’t want to.” However, this actually makes their anxiety worse. It reinforces that this thing must be really scary if an adult think they can’t handle. Instead validate the fear and then help the child build baby steps towards tackling their monsters. It is Ok to feel the fear but do it anyway!

On a final note the Pixar movie Inside Out is worth watching with children. It illustrates to them the importance for their wellbeing of acknowledging and embracing sadness and other challenging emotions and contributes to developing an understanding that happiness can’t be forced and we won’t always be happy all of the time. Perhaps something we all need to remember.

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How can we help children become more resilient?

During the current pandemic we have all faced adversity in one form or another and having the resilience to weather times like this is key to maintaining a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Paradoxically resilience tends to develop and strengthen in the face of adversity. Facing up to the challenges of multiple lockdowns and the disappointments these have inevitably brought actually provide the building bricks for developing greater resilience. However, in order to utilise this opportunity, children need constant support and encouragement from the adults around them. Helping them navigate their way, providing emotional guidance and encouraging perseverance leads children to a better understanding that things will get better and disappointment and sadness don’t last for ever.

In encouraging and developing resilience it is important to allow children to engage in some minor risk taking and decision making even if there is the chance of some bumps and bruises along the way. They are then able to learn how to fail and try again, set and test boundaries and take control for themselves.

Using the “Power of Yet” is also a powerful tool in encouraging children to try new things. It teaches grit and helps develop a growth-based mindset. When they say, “I can’t do this,” then you need to add “yet, I can’t do this, yet.”

perch_rightColBody

Helping children to see themselves as “orchestrators of their own fates” helps them to become independent and autonomous in seeking out new experiences. They understand that while you can’t always control what happens to you, you can always control how you choose to respond to it.

When children are experiencing anxiety, our natural impulse is to protect them. It is tempting to say, “I know it is really scary, and you don’t need to do it if you don’t want to.” However, this actually makes their anxiety worse. It reinforces that this thing must be really scary if an adult think they can’t handle. Instead validate the fear and then help the child build baby steps towards tackling their monsters. It is Ok to feel the fear but do it anyway!

On a final note the Pixar movie Inside Out is worth watching with children. It illustrates to them the importance for their wellbeing of acknowledging and embracing sadness and other challenging emotions and contributes to developing an understanding that happiness can’t be forced and we won’t always be happy all of the time. Perhaps something we all need to remember.

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Cargilfield

How can we help children become more resilient?

The importance of developing a growth mindset

Read More


Posted on

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Educating our children for the 21st Century

This is a phrase that I have seen bandied around at educational conferences throughout my career and, as a Head Teacher, it is something to which I must pay attention.

As I sit to write this, my first observation is that anyone considering an answer to this question might have come up with very different priorities twenty years ago. There were very few of us that would have placed the response to a global pandemic high on our list of priorities (very few…but I do remember that Mike Wilson, a friend and now retired headteacher, was already planning for just such an outcome). We knew that technology and the internet were going to become more important but were we expecting the death of the fountain pen? It hasn’t happened yet.

Some of the wisest observations that I have heard more recently have tried to address what will happen in the job market when technology replaces many of the skills that currently require human input. When the robots can do it all for us, will our learning start to become redundant?

That would, of course, imply that we only learn to prepare us for the world of employment. Education also makes us more interesting, attractive and happy people. If we do end up with more leisure time (as might be expected given that our own generation generally enjoys more than our ancestors whose manual chores were significantly more time consuming) then we will also have have to learn how to manage more information coming from a wider range of sources…and the stress that this entails. What would Reverend Charles Darnell have made of the nature of my working day?

Many people ask why, in an age where information is so easy to access, do we need to learn things? Nonetheless, knowledge remains important as a framework on which we can build our skills. How will we know what to look for if we don’t have a handle on the core information or recognise the terms of reference? Learning also develops the capacity of our brain and so much of our life requires immediate understanding and we cannot always be stopping to type in or dictate the questions.

rightColBody

Do I think that subjects like Latin or Greek will continue to play a part in a hundred years? Yes, I do. The cultures upon which we pin much of western democracy will continue to be of interest and the intellectual challenge of manipulating a language that is the root of so many other languages remains an exciting challenge for children. I believe that handwriting and mental arithmetic will still play their part and allow us to access the world as human beings – setting us aside from the robot or the computer.

There will be certain skillsets that will continue to set the human brain apart from the microchip (for at least the next eighty years or so). An ability to work in teams, to empathise, to debate or communicate with each other: these will remain important skills and must, therefore, be at the heart of our education, alongside a deeper understanding of how technology can be used to help us. And this pleases me because these skills are at the heart of a Cargilfield education, whatever the subject or activity.

And what are the immediate challenges for our children? In addition to the pandemic, our young people are having to navigate an increasingly challenging world where the behaviours of those who have come before them (including our own generation) have made it more difficult for them. They will have to make massive progress with the need to cut carbon emissions and to create a society less concerned by race, gender and sexuality, but more sensitive to complex and shifting values. Their education must equip them with the necessary emotional intelligence to navigate that world.

I came into teaching because I liked studying English and wanted to coach sport and direct plays. I continue to enjoy my role because I have come to realise how much more sophisticated a good education can be. I don’t have all the answers but the questions are exciting.

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Educating our children for the 21st Century

This is a phrase that I have seen bandied around at educational conferences throughout my career and, as a Head Teacher, it is something to which I must pay attention.

As I sit to write this, my first observation is that anyone considering an answer to this question might have come up with very different priorities twenty years ago. There were very few of us that would have placed the response to a global pandemic high on our list of priorities (very few…but I do remember that Mike Wilson, a friend and now retired headteacher, was already planning for just such an outcome). We knew that technology and the internet were going to become more important but were we expecting the death of the fountain pen? It hasn’t happened yet.

Some of the wisest observations that I have heard more recently have tried to address what will happen in the job market when technology replaces many of the skills that currently require human input. When the robots can do it all for us, will our learning start to become redundant?

That would, of course, imply that we only learn to prepare us for the world of employment. Education also makes us more interesting, attractive and happy people. If we do end up with more leisure time (as might be expected given that our own generation generally enjoys more than our ancestors whose manual chores were significantly more time consuming) then we will also have have to learn how to manage more information coming from a wider range of sources…and the stress that this entails. What would Reverend Charles Darnell have made of the nature of my working day?

Many people ask why, in an age where information is so easy to access, do we need to learn things? Nonetheless, knowledge remains important as a framework on which we can build our skills. How will we know what to look for if we don’t have a handle on the core information or recognise the terms of reference? Learning also develops the capacity of our brain and so much of our life requires immediate understanding and we cannot always be stopping to type in or dictate the questions.

perch_rightColBody

Do I think that subjects like Latin or Greek will continue to play a part in a hundred years? Yes, I do. The cultures upon which we pin much of western democracy will continue to be of interest and the intellectual challenge of manipulating a language that is the root of so many other languages remains an exciting challenge for children. I believe that handwriting and mental arithmetic will still play their part and allow us to access the world as human beings – setting us aside from the robot or the computer.

There will be certain skillsets that will continue to set the human brain apart from the microchip (for at least the next eighty years or so). An ability to work in teams, to empathise, to debate or communicate with each other: these will remain important skills and must, therefore, be at the heart of our education, alongside a deeper understanding of how technology can be used to help us. And this pleases me because these skills are at the heart of a Cargilfield education, whatever the subject or activity.

And what are the immediate challenges for our children? In addition to the pandemic, our young people are having to navigate an increasingly challenging world where the behaviours of those who have come before them (including our own generation) have made it more difficult for them. They will have to make massive progress with the need to cut carbon emissions and to create a society less concerned by race, gender and sexuality, but more sensitive to complex and shifting values. Their education must equip them with the necessary emotional intelligence to navigate that world.

I came into teaching because I liked studying English and wanted to coach sport and direct plays. I continue to enjoy my role because I have come to realise how much more sophisticated a good education can be. I don’t have all the answers but the questions are exciting.

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Cargilfield

Educating our children for the 21st Century

I don’t have all the answers but the questions are exciting

Read More


Posted on

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Since our return to school, after the last period of remote learning, as a staff we have been reviewing and reflecting on our experiences. Whilst we would all much rather have been able to be at school, we have learned a lot from remote teaching and we hope to be able to use some or our new skill set to develop teaching and learning within the school.

As a teacher, one of the things that concerned me especially during the last period of remote learning was the increasing debate in the media that children needed to catch up…. Catch up from what?

Of course, I am in no doubt that we are incredibly lucky to be well resourced and have the backing of a supportive parent body as well as a staff of committed and talented teachers. However, the question remains, what have children missed out on? I think this goes to the heart of what we aim to provide as a school.

Amanda Spielman, the Head of Ofsted, said recently “Parents know that after a year of heavy restrictions children need time with their grandparents, with their friends, to get out of the house and enjoy themselves again. These are things that will help them learn well in school.”

She also said that whilst,” it was clear “that for most children, getting back on track will happen through lessons in their normal classrooms, with their normal teachers”.

Of course, in Scotland we operate under a slightly different regulatory regime known as GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child). This is a multi-organisational approach which means in essence making sure children and young people can receive the right help, at the right time, from the right people. The aim is to help them to grow up feeling loved, safe and respected so that they can realise their full potential.

GIRFEC is at the heart of what we do and it is these extracurricular things that (bubbles permitting) we have been trying to develop since our return. Our priority has been to get the children socialising and interacting with their peers and with their teachers, enjoying time outside during games and activities. If anything, I think it is these things that children need to catch up on. The lovely weather so far has definitely helped. The multi activity camp that most of our children participated in during the Easter break, was a great way to start. It is amazing to walk around the campus and see the Art Room and the Music School full of children just doing their thing. Debating is in full swing and the weekly boarders are back and enjoying baking and barbeques amongst other things. We are making plans to restart our weekly PSHE sessions with form 8 on Wednesday evenings and looking forward to when we can start a more comprehensive range of clubs after supper. Although we are taking things slowly and in making changes as and when the regulations allow, the mood is definitely optimistic with staff planning lot so exciting things for the autumn term.

It is great to be back!

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Since our return to school, after the last period of remote learning, as a staff we have been reviewing and reflecting on our experiences. Whilst we would all much rather have been able to be at school, we have learned a lot from remote teaching and we hope to be able to use some or our new skill set to develop teaching and learning within the school.

As a teacher, one of the things that concerned me especially during the last period of remote learning was the increasing debate in the media that children needed to catch up…. Catch up from what?

Of course, I am in no doubt that we are incredibly lucky to be well resourced and have the backing of a supportive parent body as well as a staff of committed and talented teachers. However, the question remains, what have children missed out on? I think this goes to the heart of what we aim to provide as a school.

Amanda Spielman, the Head of Ofsted, said recently “Parents know that after a year of heavy restrictions children need time with their grandparents, with their friends, to get out of the house and enjoy themselves again. These are things that will help them learn well in school.”

She also said that whilst,” it was clear “that for most children, getting back on track will happen through lessons in their normal classrooms, with their normal teachers”.

Of course, in Scotland we operate under a slightly different regulatory regime known as GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child). This is a multi-organisational approach which means in essence making sure children and young people can receive the right help, at the right time, from the right people. The aim is to help them to grow up feeling loved, safe and respected so that they can realise their full potential.

GIRFEC is at the heart of what we do and it is these extracurricular things that (bubbles permitting) we have been trying to develop since our return. Our priority has been to get the children socialising and interacting with their peers and with their teachers, enjoying time outside during games and activities. If anything, I think it is these things that children need to catch up on. The lovely weather so far has definitely helped. The multi activity camp that most of our children participated in during the Easter break, was a great way to start. It is amazing to walk around the campus and see the Art Room and the Music School full of children just doing their thing. Debating is in full swing and the weekly boarders are back and enjoying baking and barbeques amongst other things. We are making plans to restart our weekly PSHE sessions with form 8 on Wednesday evenings and looking forward to when we can start a more comprehensive range of clubs after supper. Although we are taking things slowly and in making changes as and when the regulations allow, the mood is definitely optimistic with staff planning lot so exciting things for the autumn term.

It is great to be back!

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Cargilfield

It is good to be back learning and playing together

Social interaction is so important

Read More


Posted on

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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