Our fabulous Year 6 pupils had their final assembly and spoke about their time in the Junior School, recalling their favourite memories and thanking the teachers. It is always a very positive assembly but it is tinged with sadness as they are leaving to go up to Year 7. They are all ready to go and spread their wings in the Senior School. In their speeches, every pupil mentioned that they had had fun in the Junior School. This made me smile.
In her speech at Prize Giving, our Head Student Olivia said that I’d taught her learning was fun. I’ve known her for fourteen years and was very proud and emotional during her speech and it made me smile.
As a primary teacher, especially in Early Years, you want your pupils to love coming to school. You want them to be excited to learn. You want them to have fun. So hearing Olivia and our Year 6 pupils say just that was wonderful. It made me realise that we are doing something right. That the way we teach, encourages the children to want to learn.
I also remembered that when I was mentoring Miss Vincent-Jones one of the tasks we’d set her was to make the children smile in every lesson so that the school motto was embedded in everything she did. The days that make us happy, make us wise. It is so important. Happy children learn. Happy children want to learn. We want to help each child be the best they can be and help them to cope with any difficulties they may have and encourage them to work hard and try their best.
At the end of the Summer Term I always ask my class what they have enjoyed at school, what they have got better at, what they are proud of and what they would like to improve. Without fail it is a lesson where I have made them laugh. Singing the alphabet in an opera style (truly awful!) or when demonstrating forces, I’d hit a toothpaste tube with a hammer so hard and it exploded or when we set fire to our Fire of London houses. Getting the children excited about their learning is so important. It also creates happy memories.
Trips featured on their lists too; Falling Foss, National Railway Museum, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Pickering Castle and Robin Hood’s Bay were highlights. These trips are linked to our topics and help bring what they are learning about to life.
Favourite lessons were different for each child but the main thing is they enjoyed them. It is unrealistic to imagine that every child loves every day at school but it is possible to make their learning fun and to embed our school motto into everything we do.
The days that make us happy, make us wise.
Amanda Freer, Junior School Headteacher