After months of planning, we were delighted to host the team of teachers from schools working together with us on the project “Frog, Squirrel, Cow and their 4 mysterious friends”. This is based mainly in the early years of our school, and children have been learning how to welcome and befriend those who are different to them, through the project. It has huge potential, and one of the lovely things about this project is that we can see all sorts of work being done by different countries in different ways, all of which are quite inspiring and challenging – some good adult led material and masses of super work from children. I know that our Early Learning Phase have been working their socks off for this.

IMG_0974Yesterday the participants arrived to take part in a time of collective worship where Thistle and Conker classes had memorised poems about squirrels, and where the whole of Years F1 (Daisy) to Y3 had learnt our new Comenius Song. This is less a song than a ditty, but it works for us and roots some of the learning in song so we can memorise the main features more easily. We also shared prayer songs and our school song, and heard wonderful stories about the animal mascots from the different participants.There were some hilarious and totally spurious accounts of why our cow was so small (and why that was a good thing!), and why the Slovenian chicken was so, well, vast!

We have been hosting Ekke, the Swedish squirrel, and later today will swop the animals over – Ekke will go to Holland, whilst our own concrete cow will go the second of the two Swedish schools in Helsingborg, where we will visit in May. And we will receive another mascot, which will be a secret until later today when we share the information.

After the collective worship, and some cake and coffee (any excuse) 14 fantastic Y6 children (big thank you – you too will get cake!) showed the guests around the school where there was plenty of chance for professional learning between our teachers and the guests. These conversations are always the heart of any visit and are the reason why most teachers want to go on the visits – our insatiable professional curiosity.

In the afternoon, the teachers had elected to go on one of two visits – to Emberton School, where Verity Stobart is acting head until the summer, and where they got to experience the forest school there; and to Walnuts Infants School in Bletchley, where they saw the amazing work that Kim Harman and her team do with children with severe autism. Our thanks to both schools for their willingness to let us come.

After that, we held the official project meeting, where representatives of the schools decided on progress and how next to work with the children. It had been a long day, especially for those who are away from their routines, and I am delighted with the way so many of our Christ the Sower staff members and parents came to events and helped with transport and hospitality. Thank you.

In the evening, I heard the only German teacher joke I have ever heard: Why do teachers never get run over by cars  after dark? Answer? Because they are so good at reflecting….

We have an incipient project website now – another WordPress account – at www.comeniusstorybook.com It is still underdeveloped, but will grow and grow as the weeks go on. It has been designed by the Swedish pre-school in Helsingborg, but we will all contribute.

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About Huw Humphreys

I am a headteacher in the city of Milton Keynes, where I have been since April 2011, looking to make education effective for the whole child and keeping a distant relationship with the powers that be and their narrowing approach to education... but most of all I am looking to find out what it means to be both a follower of Jesus Christ and a passionate educator in the midst of an unsettled community. I am also a part time musician, part time linguist and lover of history and literature...committed both to freedom to learn and depth of learning for all our children. The views on this blog are all my own, and not in any way those of the school I lead!

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