Friday, June 1, 2012

British classrooms #2 and Diamond Jubilee

Hello!! Busy week.......basically because the sun was shining for so many days in a row, which means I was outside until 9 or 10 o'clock to enjoy it each day!!!  I even got to wear shorts!! Come on London, let's keep it up all summer!

afternoon in a beer garden to enjoy the sunny weather!!

So, in my last post I was talking about my first private school experience (4 days at the same school last week). Here were some of my observations/notes:

the school was in a former church.....look at the stained glass windows!!

1)  It was Preschool 2 (reception-4 &5 yr olds) and they were doing really advanced stuff! I did a phonics lesson with them on oi/oy, sh/ch, etc and they understood it! They also wrote sentences independently!
2) They wear little blazers and ties with their uniform-like little adults.......uniforms....what do we think about these?
aprons on hooks
3) The class size was a bit smaller than classes in England (22 compared with 30......every class in England state schools has 30 almost always).
4) They have specialist teachers for P.E., music, ballet, etc. (this is not the case in state schools)

5) They had the most amazing lunches I have seen.......and all the kids in this class wore aprons! (sidenote.....the school feeds the staff for free.......Brie cheese, baguette, custard with cake......needless to say that I may have gorged myself in my 4 days at the school)........oh and there were 4-5 adults to monitor/help 50 students at lunch (I think schools in Arizona usually have 2 adults for 100 students??)
6) We did Aborginal art as they finished a unit on Australia. Love it!

7) They had French Day (remember France is only 2 1/2 hours away, and it seems most of these students had been there).........there was an assembly where students shared facts, art, etc. A parent came in that speaks fluent French and read a fairytale in English/, what a beautiful language!

8) The ladies I worked with were absolutely lovely to me. They invited me to sit in on a before school planning meeting and we ate lunch together. I might have applied for a job, but half of the staff was leaving......this usually raises red flags to me.

9) Packing up was excruciating. As independent as they were, I had to pack their bags for them while another teacher read a book to them!! This process included: fishing out all of their book bags from a tub, sorting reading log books, sorting phonics homework folder, and things from their trays. Ummmmm, this took FOREVER and they do it like this everyday! 

10) I like the way they mount and trim the students' artwork for displays (see below)

this displayed wasn't finished, but the teacher let me take a picture anyway
up close
"Mini-beast" unit...these are pictures created in Paint by the students. 
In conclusion, this particular school did not seem to be out-of-this-world type of education (no field or smartboards either!?), which sortof dispels the private school myth for me (although this is only 1 school). It was an interesting experience and the children were wonderful. It was an enjoyable week.

{{ Diamond Jubilee }}

The Queen has been reigning for 60 years and the celebrations for that are this weekend.all weekend.

It's kindof a big deal here.

I don't think I will ever need to see a Union flag or red, white and blue bunting ever again.

Every school, every pub, every store, everything.covered in jubilee stuff.

store front window
makeup counters

Has there been much talk of this Diamond Jubilee in the States.......or mainly just about the Olympics? Busy summer for England!

Thanks for reading,


Tammy said...

It makes me wonder what first graders learn if their preschool is so advanced. They must be doing something right over there. Diamon Jubilee? This is the first I've heard of it. I bet it's an interesting event to witness.
❀ Tammy
Forever in First

TravelingTeacher said...

Hi Tammy, yes it's very interesting how school works here. Most children go to Nursery (3 & 4 yrs old) for half day (developmental play and a bit of phonics/math), then Reception (full day for 4 & 5 yr old) which includes a lot of play, but added academics, and then Year 1 (kindergarten). So I think the biggest difference is that kindergarten is not their first school experience as is the case for many children in America (I worked in an area in AZ where most children did not go to preschool) .....developmentally appropriate play and exposure to reading, etc can make all the difference!
Has your summer vacation started yet?
I thought of you this week when a student in my class had LICE! Schools in England DON'T send kids home that have lice-can you believe that?! You're not even allowed to tell the parent-you can only send home an info paper about lice to everyone in the class! Crazy!

Take Care-

Dawn Hilburn said...

I found your blog through Pinterst. (specifically the post about math portfolios and what a wealth of info. in that one post) I visited London when I was a first grader. I was going to school in Cairo, Egypt and we went there on holiday. I enjoyed reading through your blog posts and I am your newest follower.
First Grade Shenanigans

twilliams said...

I watched the Jubilee on tv. I am an English Monarchy addict!! I love anything to do with British history. Must be because my ancestors came from England, so that is actually where I am supposed to be! LOL! Love the pics and the private school was interesting. It's amazing how well advanced they were acadmeically, but could not pack up their own bags!