ALAS. I am not a miserable porker. I decided to go away and sort my life out. In January I went away for the weekend - whilst I was there I found a book called "Aladdin's Magic Carpet" by Marneta Viegas. 52 visualisations/stories/mediations for children, all based on classic fairy tales and designed to help children relax. They are so busy. The poor little mites don't have a moment, as a typical day in school looks like this:
8.45 - White board work
9 - Literacy (5 ability groups)
10-Guided reading (5 ability groups)
10.30 - Play
10.45- Phonics (5 ability groups)
11.10-Maths (5 ability groups)
1-Foundation subject 1
2-Foundation subject 2
Not forgetting for some, they start at 7am at Breakfast club and finish at 6.30pm with dinner club. Or any other amount of clubs after school.
Where possible, in my classroom I always tried to use lots of different techniques to allow the children some time to breathe. So we'd aim for 3 very short 'brain breaks' a day to help them calm down and remember who they are for a second. Every morning we'd start with some stretches, breathing and forgetting our worries - blowing them out of the window. My TA's and I always let them know when they're at school, they are safe and will be looked after. On a Friday I had them all laying down, listening to some music and giving them a chance to actually reflect and think about what they'd learnt that week - there's no time for consolidation otherwise.
Sounds daft - but the children relish the opportunity for this. Sometimes we'd go off to a make believe land, all whilst sat on the carpet. I'd watch the kids, their arms stretched out like wings, flying them off to another world inside their head. Magic. "Please Miss, can we do that again?"
The children in my class always made progress. Sometimes phenomenal progress - I believe it was because they were happy; happy children learn.
Back to my Aladdin's Carpet book. When time I bought it I remember thinking, I wish I could do this for a living. Go into schools and focus on making the children relaxed, happy, confident - ready to learn. As I said, when I went into teaching it was because of Miss Honey - she saw the magic in Matilda, gave her confidence and love and all the things she needed to defeat The Trunchbull. WELL. It bloomin' well turned out I can do it for a living. The lady who wrote the books, the lovely lovely Marneta, owns a fabulous company called Relax Kids. 'Calm Kids in a Chaotic World' - is their motto and you can train to be a relax kids coach, learn about their methodology on how to help the little darlings out in today's busy world. So guess what? I found a course - booked it - and just got back from a glorious training weekend in Devon.
I don't have time to write about it now, as I'm on a train on my way my best friends wedding (so excited I could wee) but, I look forward to writing about the GLORY of my training weekend.
As I've said before, I'm not here to slate the government. I'm not about muck spreading. I'm about JOY spreading. If we can't change the system from the top, get in at the bottom and do it, on the front line with the kids.