…but it can need time, focus and effort to share it.
Miss Easton’s class have been developing their positive habits recently including keeping a book of kindness going with children taking the time to recognise, write and share positive thoughts or actions they have seen from others. It has been very enthusiastically created and every time I have taken visitors to the class, the pupils have been delighted to explain what it is for, the impact it has on people and why it’s important to ‘tell good tales‘.
Some very enthusiastic campaigning from one of our Year 3 pupils led to a change in drinking cup usage in school in 2018 from single use plastic cups to reusable beakers for all of the children. This initiative coincided with the launch of a whole school focus on sustainable living and education.
Some incredible work has been happening at Halterworth over the last term in developing education for sustainability. Thanks to the time, passion and commitment of Natalie Martin, our volunteer sustainability officer, we now have a very ambitious Eco-Schools committee and a wealth of experiences, opportunities and projects to consider and take forward.
So far this academic year, the achievements include:
- Babboe Curve: electrically-assisted cargo trike acquired. This is now in school and awaiting some final paperwork before being able to be introduced, loaned, shared and used by parents and staff.
- £271 raised at the Christmas fayre towards sustainability.
Two plants with pots acquired and bought for the interior environment in school.
Eco-committee elections taken place with representation from each year group and staff & parents.
Presentation to governors about Eco-Schools ambition.
Parent representatives for Eco-Committee.
First Eco-committee meeting taken place with roles assigned.
Staff survey completed.
Report / sustainability audit complete with a huge range of ideas, suggestions and options to explore.
Plans for the Eco Display Board are in the making.
75 bulbs donated to gardening club for planting around school.
Sincere thanks to Natalie and the team for all of the hard work, energy, creativity and thought so far this academic year. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!
On 29th January, we will be hosting a very special Food & Friends lunch for local residents and community members. A free lunch, served by pupils, with the chance to chat, play games and share skills & experiences, will be provided in school. This idea has been developed by one of our fantastic parents and the school council in school.
There are 27,000 over 65’s who are lonely in Hampshire alone. It’s a valuable lesson for the children to remember why it’s important that we all think about and help those that are more vulnerable in our community.
In addition there are many benefits of intergenerational activity to both children and older people including sharing and learning new skills, energising older people and giving both a sense of purpose.
We will also be asking those that attend if they have any other skills or experiences that they would be happy to share with the children, or if they would like to volunteer any time to support our school in any other way. This could be teaching children skills such as gardening or knitting, to listening to children read or telling them about a country they have visited in their life time or a special experience that may align with up coming topics being covered across the school in different year groups.
We are so excited to be able to host such a valuable and important initiative. Watch this space for updates.
The Monday Mindfulness lunchtime sessions at Halterworth led by Mr Thomas and Mrs Welch have been fully attended and relentlessly popular throughout this year, with some children attending every week and more developing interest as the year has progressed.
The activities covered have ranged from a focus on breath, developing sensory awareness, the use of guided scripts and practising some mindful listening techniques such as looping.
This week, as well as children developing their trust and focus on touch/feeling through recognising patterns traced on one another’s backs, they also listened to a script called ‘Just Like Me’ from Daniel Goleman’s ‘Focus for Kids’ which aims to sharpen attention skills whilst improving emotional intelligence, in particular an ability to empathise.
A positive, productive learning environment
Empathetic concern offers the foundation for what’s been called a “caring classroom,” where the teacher embodies and models kindness and concern for her students, and encourages the same attitude among the students. Such a classroom culture provides the best atmosphere for learning, both cognitively and emotionally.
Learning in general happens best in a supportive environment. There’s a feeling of safety, closeness and connection. In such a space children’s brains more readily reach the state of optimal cognitive efficiency – and of caring about others.
Such an atmosphere has particular importance for those children at most risk of going off track in their lives because of early experiences of deprivation, abuse, or neglect. Studies of high-risk kids who have ended up thriving in their lives – who are resilient – find that usually the one person who turned their life around was a caring adult. If you ask them what made the difference, very often they’ll tell you it was that teacher who really saw them, who really understood them, who really cared about them and saw their potential.
The more upset we are, the more self-focused we become. We tune out the people around us, tune out the systems around us, and we just think about ourselves. Being able to manage your inner life lets you tune in to others with genuine care, and function at your best. It’s true for teachers, for parents, for administrators, and for kids.
For instance, one of the guided reflections a teacher in such a program might lead students through is all the ways other kids are “just like me.” The children would be instructed to consider their common hurts and hopes, their fears and anger, their kindness, and their need to be loved. Such a widened view of how others feel and see the world acts as an antidote to a one-dimensional view of other children that can lead to negative stereotyping or bullying.
Year 3 had a great morning down at Romsey library this term, finding out about all the books and audio tapes that are on offer, how to use the library and where to find the books that interest them.
They also got to enjoy a book that was read to us by the librarian. Some children were able to borrow books whilst others spent time browsing and enjoying all the different books on offer.
We know that whilst some families and children use the local libraries extensively, this was a fantastic opportunity for every child in the year group to spend protected time in the library, collect their library cards and borrow from a range of books which complements what we can offer in school. The social skills shown and taught to the children, the cultural value of the resources on offer and the role of a library/librarian, as well as the huge SMSC benefits stories can offer made this morning a hugely valuable experience.
This week, children across the school worked incredibly hard on their fitness skills with sessions from British high jumper Robert Mitchell. They had fun doing their circuit exercises and raised funds for good causes in the process. In addition, they learnt about setting and achieving realistic goals, sustaining motivation and getting the most out of training sessions.
Books of all descriptions are vital for us all in learning about different points of view, characters, empathy, moral/ethical dilemmas and different environments & cultures. On World Book Day, despite the snowy conditions, children at Halterworth chose some of their favourite books, before sharing their reviews and their choices with children in different classes.