In a recent article on the FSF, primary school teacher Clare Hancock wondered 'what will have been considered essential during these times?'
As we move forward, as schools and early years settings open their doors a little wider, as parents begin to trust again, what are the essentials we would put into our suitcase for the future, along with a toothbrush, a change of clothes and probably our phone?
1. Parental Engagement – however you have done it, whether via a blog, packs sent home, video clips, phone calls, or using an online platform, hopefully you will have found a new connection with families. Some teachers have said they feel they know this cohort of children better than any other they have taught, because of the creative ways and extra effort they have put into staying connected. Of course, this will not be the case with all parents and carers and finding ways to help harder to reach families remains a challenge. But perhaps there are more tools available in the box now.
2. Wellbeing – there has been a lot of debate about what our curriculums should look like as we move on into new ways of teaching and learning. Should hygiene have a central role? And should Wellbeing take on new significance? As well as making their settings physically safe for children to return to, educators have also been thinking about how to support them as they make the transition back to nursery or school. Connecting their ‘bubbles’ with each other, making their new-look learning spaces seem familiar, helping to create a sense of belonging and ownership in this same but new environment, time to talk and time to listen. Wellbeing is at the heart of what is happening in schools and settings right now. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bottle that and carry it with us?
3. Learning experiences, not measurements - those who make the education rules may want to take a moment, remember what it is like to be a small child, step into their small shoes, connect with their awe and wonder and their simultaneous longing for routine and adventure. And then try and build a curriculum that nourishes that feeling. This summer a lot of ‘measurements’ won’t have happened: no EYFSP, no Year 1 Phonics Screening, no Year 2/Year 6 SATS, no GCSEs, no A ‘levels. But these children and young people will carry on, they will have experiences, they will learn whether at home or once they are back at school/nursery. Some will have much greater challenges to overcome than others. After all, what do these ‘tests’ really tell us about a child? Perhaps we can pack a suitcase full of rich learning experiences and leave behind curriculums based around such strict measurement and attainment.
So, what would you pack if you had to choose some essentials to carry with you into the educational future?