I have spent the last week walking among the riches of the work that goes on in this school, and which every day blesses me. The local branch of Waterstones have been holding a competition to celebrate children’s sonnets written to mark the quadricentennial of Shakespeare’s death. The quality of the work that our Y6 writers have produced has been astonishing and very moving. Some have taken to iambic pentameter like a duck to water. Others have wrestled with it until they found a first line, then turned the poem into something reflecting that struggle (“The hardest part of writing has begun”); others have, in time-honoured tradition, begun with something they have physically done (“You take a piece of paper, scrunch it up” or “I wake up to the morning’s winter sun”) whilst others have started with something more obviously natural and romantic (“Beyond the pond, the water lilies grow” or “I walked along the path beneath the rain”). It has been an education working with the children to get this material written and edited, and I have been proud of every effort they have made. Once Waterstones have judged the entries from schools in Milton Keynes, and exhibited them in Midsummer Place, then I may publish them here or on the school website.
And then yesterday I began to print off the large number of photographs that children have been taking and editing for a large photography exhibition we are holding in school at the end of May. This is just one, from a Year 1 child who obviously has an eye for contrast, for colour and for form. The photos will be a record of a year, of the seasons and the events experienced by the children as they have wondered around the place with digital cameras and LearnPads. It is a wealth I am looking forward to exploring, as more and more teachers compile their portfolios of children’s photography and we choose what really needs exhibiting.
Finally, last term’s hard work in art came to a fruition for 20 or so children who have been learning to paint using acrylics and canvases for the first time. There are many that caught my eye and many that have provoked conversation among children and staff. This one is just a sample of a wider competence amongst those children learning to use this new (for many of them) medium. The inspiration has been the work of Paul Klee.
But for me, these children have provided inspiration enough in their ability to express themselves skilfully in poetry, photography and painting over the last fortnight, and as their teacher and leader, I remain, as ever, grateful.