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.
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!?