As yet another month rolls on and uncertainty persists over our place in Europe, it is becoming increasingly important to secure our own meaningful connections across Europe and globally.
As a school we recognise that forming connections, not dictated by the state of politics, is crucial in ensuring that our pupils have a broad and balanced view of the world in order that they understand that they are an important part of the global future.
We are focussing on global sustainability during the Festival of Learning on 9 July. In the weeks leading up to this event, we have been identifying collaborative actions which are greater than one school or one nation which will support the protection and regeneration of the biosphere. Mrs Graham started our sustainability journey recently by encouraging us to support the Saffron Walden Against Climate Change, walk to school initiative. This one step encouraged families at Dame Bradbury's to join with those across Saffron Walden to look at alternative ways of coming to school. This garnered greater discussion about how we might make small changes on a regular basis to decrease air pollution.
The live air pollution made for really interesting discussion amongst both staff and pupils. During the Festival of Learning in July we are going to focus on the areas of animal diversity with Early Years, Rainforests with Year 1 and 2, Oceans with Years 3 and 4, Climate change with Year 6, and Year 5 will be collaborating with the senior school on a global connections project. If you work in any of these areas or know of someone whom you feel would be able to contribute to the day we would love to hear from you. Please let me know through contacting the office. Parent speakers are an important aspect of our Inspire Me programme and we appreciate your generosity of time.
It is clear that in the UK the Foundation approach to education is quite unique, and as we constantly strive to improve to meet the needs and interests of our pupils it is increasingly necessary to build relationships with schools and education settings across Europe and across the globe to be critically reflective and ask the ‘So what for our pupils?’ question.
Miss Wynne-Powell, never one to shy away from a challenge and innovation in the learning she offers her pupils, has been busy connecting with colleagues on an e-twinning platform and is linking Year 6 Learning with a school in Norway as they bring together creativity and coding. We are excited by the possibilities of these new links and we will keep you informed on how this develops.
Nursery and Early Years is an area of education that has seen one of the most significant changes in recent years. Moves towards focusing on emotional and social development as well as phenomena, or thematic, and play-based learning have been embraced by practitioners and parents across the UK and many other countries. Anyone passing through our Beehive, Kindergarten or Reception environments cannot but notice the emphasis on child-initiated learning, continuous opportunity to explore outside and the happy, sociable children who embrace this approach. Levels of individual wellbeing are high and so is curiosity and enthusiasm for exploring and learning. This week I have been studying aspects of the Finnish education system, once thought of as the most successful in the world. I have connected with schools and practitioners from across the globe, Singapore, Nepal, USA, Indonesia, Argentina, Mexico and Iceland, to reflect on Finnish and Swedish systems promoting child development. In doing so we each identified elements that are successful for pupils in our schools, and how we can connect to share ideas which bring greater joy and wellbeing for our pupils. At Dame B’s our outdoor provision and Forest School activities are outstanding, and children can be observed developing skills of decision making, problem solving and collaboration en route to becoming confident, creative and resilient learners.
Closer to home we have another Author in our midst. Amelie has been making her own connections by joining a writers group in Saffron Walden and has contributed poetry to a published book which was released at a book launch at Harts bookshop. Read the article here.
Head of Dame Bradbury’s and Vice Principal, 3-11