We are all built very differently and learning styles and speeds can vary from not only child to child but also, week to week. It can be difficult to keep up with all the excellent teaching and learning taking place at Cargilfield. You, yourself, may have asked a teacher what you could be doing to help your child reach their potential, this may also be an especially daunting question should your child have a specific learning difficulty. I would like to take the opportunity to summarised some areas where you could help boost your child’s learning from the home front.
In Maths, in the Pre-prep, the fundamental learning is based around a child’s understanding of number. What it really means: how big a number is, what it looks like divided up and seeing it as a concrete object, picture or a graphic representation. Once the children move the Upper School this remains an important concept but their knowledge of their multiplication and division tables(timestables) soon becomes the driving force behind their experience and success in Maths, as it is used in almost all of the syllabus. It, therefore, goes without saying that slower recall can lead to challenges in mastering increasingly complex and abstract concept. By the time they get to Form 6, not knowing their timestables will can have a real impact on learning and development. The majority of us would have been subjected to the age-old method of rote learning, which although is a method that works well for some, for most it does not translate to retention of knowledge. There are a multitude of methods which can be used ,in addition to rote learning, that will really help your child see the groupings effectively and understand the structure, patterns and commutative law of timestables.
At this point, I would like to refer you to an excellent blog written by Fiona Mackerron on learning multiplication tables which you can read here. As is often the case, little and often is always the best approach no matter which style of learning fits best.
The abstract nature of maths means that small and seemingly irrelevant slipups very quickly lead to anxieties and dislike of a topic. In a bid to help reduce this, we have signed up the form 4 and 5s to Timestables Rock Stars. It is an excellent website, app and organisation which takes the pressure and attention off learning timestables by masking it in a scenario of equipping your Rock Star avatar with the skills, and wardrobe, to climb the fame ladder. We are hoping the children will really enjoy this and want to practice and improve their knowledge as often as they can. These year groups will receive an email with their child’s login and password and more details once it is fully set up at school.
In literacy the foundations lie on good knowledge of letter, sound and common words. Your child will have ample opportunities to practice all of these skills while at school and over the last few terms there has been a big push to make reading, as well as reading for enjoying, a core part of pupils’ weekly schedules. That being said, any additional interest in reading from home will massively benefit your child’s development. Modelling reading for enjoyment from a young age, practicing reading aloud to an adult and having a core bank of well-known common words will make a big impact on literacy development.
Although both Mathematic and Literacy core skills are essential for learning and development, there are other factors which can change the trajectory of your children learning journey. One being their mental readiness to learn. A child’s confidence in themselves and their abilities to succeed can wreak havoc on their mental readiness and can lead to a vicious cycle of defeats.
Fortunately, there are many small ways to help ensure they are in their best head space to learn. Mental health is a vast and complex topic and ensuring your child’s wellbeing can take many forms. In the relation to this blog, I would like to focus on the availability of personal equipment and time to process in the morning.
Ensuring a pencil case is well stocked may seem a small ,insignificant , and for many unending, task but time taken to find essential equipment in lessons takes away from focused time and puts a child on the back foot from the get go. A half term check-up may prove very beneficial for many. Essential equipment every pencil case should include is: a bank of ready sharpened pencils or cartridge filled pens, a sharpener, ruler (30cms is best), rubber, scissors, glue and highlighter.
Having a young child myself, I know that leaving the house on time and “calmly” is sometimes a difficult task but just as we adults need time when we time to process the start of the day so do the children. Registration is a busy time in every class, with a lot of learning and “getting ready for the day” happening, ensuring children are in class by at least 8:20 really helps them to have the time to not only process the transition from home to school but also hear all essential information for the day, look at their spellings, Maths, Latin or French work and ensure they are themselves physically and mentally ready for the day.
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.