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How we approach learning at Ainslie Wood

Learning during Lockdown

 

Here at Ainslie Wood we have always believed that developing children holistically is the key to good learning.  We believe that people who feel emotionally secure, confident and interested are able to make the best progress.   For this reason we have always worked to understand individuals so that we are then able to provide them with the things they need in order for them to make progress.  Our excellent academic results show that this approach works.

 

When the country went into lockdown, our challenge was to adapt our approach to learning into a new environment with new methods of delivery.  Moving into a 'virtual world' was a transition for us all and we have learned with everyone else the best ways to approach this.  Our steep learning curve has now meant that we have been able to help families with the process and have provided technology to those who have needed it so we know that everyone from Ainslie Wood would be able to access the things we were sending.

 

Then we worked to the premise that every child and every family would be living a different experience; some would want structure and routine and others would either not want to or would not be able to work like that for a whole range of reasons.  This breadth of need meant we needed a wide strategy that we believed would meet the needs of our pupils and families through methods that we believe in as a school.  The strategy we set was to support the wellbeing and continued development of our community and to maintain our community bonds. 

 

Wellbeing and Community Bonds

In order to support wellbeing, we decided that we would remove the pressures and constraints of formal learning and not expect parents to set up 'schools' at home.  As the vast majority of our parents are not teachers, we would not expect them to have to 'teach' their children in a traditional sense, and instead we looked for ways to help our children continue to develop in the wider sense.  Learning as a whole, rather than just an academic focus.  

 

We also put focus into 'maintaining our community bond' as we were aware that the lockdown situation we had moved into had isolated people physically, but technology meant that we would be able to continue to connect. with each other in new ways.  By carrying out live sharing, learning and celebration sessions, we wanted our pupils and families to be able to see familiar faces and stay connected.

 

Interest

We know that interested pupils are the best learners and so, while we can't guarantee that every session or activity will ignite a spark in every child, our aim has been to send out learning which will inspire the children into wanting to engage with it.  This tactic is firstly for the children who we want to engage with their learning and then stretch it further through their own intellectual curiosity and secondly to support the household so that parents who are working from home or who have more than one child to support are able to set them off without too much close supervision.  This is the reason you will not have been receiving worksheets or what you may consider to be traditional schoolwork, but instead have had regular videos and other learning opportunities from different members of staff.

 

Structure and Routine

This way of working will not be able to fully meet the needs of everybody.  We recognise that some of you may want and need more structure in your days - we know that one family have created their own school style timetable and lessons which have been running since lockdown started.  If this is right for you and your family, we absolutely support it and we are happy to point you in the direction of more formal learning resources if you would like them.  Please get in touch with your remote learning team or Ms Baldwin for support with this.

 

How are the children going to 'catch up' on missed learning?

There is a lot of talk in the media and concerns from parents all over the country that the children may 'fall behind' because of this lockdown and may not be able to 'catch back up'.  I would like to TRY to reassure you at this point that learning is a process and is dependent on so much more than the simple 'input of information'.  The belief that children steadily 'fill up' with knowledge at a consistent rate which has suddenly been interrupted by this lockdown is simply not accurate.  The idea that we now need to 'boost them to where they would have been' implies that our children can only learn certain things at certain times and we also know that not to be true. 

 

Here at Ainslie Wood, we believe that (while we will have the initial challenge of getting children back into learning routines and mindset) it will be much more difficult to re-engage children who are either emotionally scarred (for any number of reasons) or completely disengaged from the learning process.  We have a lot of experience of 'moving' children's learning quickly - we have stayed in the top 1% of all schools nationally for the progress our pupils make for the past 5 years - but we will continue to do it by understanding the children and their individual needs. 

 

So what next?

Our remote learning plan will continue to run alongside our wider school opening plan until the end of the summer term (July 17th).  Please continue to support your child's learning in the way you think best through this period.  Have them engage in the live sessions to link up with others and encourage them to complete the learning activities and challenges set through Class Dojo.  If you want to provide them with more learning or more structure we support this, we just ask you to remember - a stressed brain is not a learning brain.

 

We are currently working on transition for all children with the hopes that they will all be able to return somehow in September.  If this is the case, our focus will be on supporting everyone back into school and learning routines while we work quickly to identify where the children are and what they need next to help them move on.

 

Our Usual Approach to Learning at Ainslie Wood

We focus on individuals and their personal journey towards their own potential.

This means that the learning at Ainslie Wood is child centred and relevant and we aim to find out about every individual and what they need to learn next in order to move them on.  We are a non-testing school (we assess our children consistently and individually) but our results for the statutory end of key stage tests show our children consistently achieve significantly above others of their age groups – both locally and nationally.

 

Things you should know about our learning

Our Early Years Foundation Stage uses a carefully balanced combination of choice, freeflow, routine and structure in order to give our children the strongest possible start to their school career.  Our focus on ‘Child Led Independence’ ensures that children make good progress in all areas of their learning; from the beginnings of reading, writing and maths through all aspects including the development of physical, social and emotional skills. 

In EYFS, we want parents to share with us as much as we want to share with them.  All learning and development steps and milestones are shared and celebrated and we love to find out about what your children have been doing and learning outside of school too.

 

 

Years 1-6

 

Whole Engaging  Active Real Exceeding expectations

We believe that the best learning happens when we enjoy it and the deepest learning happens when we own it. 

It is for this reason that our WE ARE curriculum, for Years 1-6, is designed to respond to the needs and interests of our children, with a view to creating experts through a Project Based Learning approach.

The ‘Projects’ we learn about during our time at school will let you know what we are becoming an expert in at that time.  Our project could be anything from ‘WE ARE Local Area Experts to ‘WE ARE Marine Biologists’ – and anything in between.

In order to make sure that our children learn ‘Real Life Skills in Real Life Contexts’, they need to be in the real world as much as possible.  This means that there are lots of trips and visits going on throughout the year aimed at catching interest, delving much deeper or trying out new things.

Further Information

 

If you would like any further information on any aspect of our curriculum, please get in touch with Ms Baldwin our Leader of Learning.

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