Learning from the learners

Mix all the colours together and you get....brown!
Mix all the colours together and you get….brown!

Everyone should spend an afternoon with a class of six-year-olds, especially when they are making African masks. It’s an education, it’s fun and it’s gloriously messy. As Chair of Governors at Calverley Parkside School, I get to chair serious meetings making serious decisions and read lots of reports and policies, it’s important work, but it’s not what I’d call fun.

So when I got an invitation from Year 1 to join them for the afternoon, I jumped at the chance. Each governor sponsors a year group, then follows them through the school, by gum how they grow!

As I entered the classroom to be greeted by my Sunday name, I had to look around to see who this Mrs Akers was. It was me of course, I felt very grown up.

Six-year-olds are interesting and interested, full of new things and generally enjoying life, no cares or worries (except the sticky question of what had happened to someone’s Show and Tell, but that was soon forgotten after they all went and played out together). They can also be quite serious, so when I asked if they knew what a governor did, I got the logical reply. Governors govern, you can’t beat them, so I joined them.

The first thing I did was break a paintbrush. which immediately caused great hilarity. I don’t think many grown-ups break things in the classroom, ah well, there’s always a first time.

Soon I was surrounded by chatty children painting papier mache masks. Somehow I got covered in paint, though my white tee-shirt stayed white until I got home and dropped chocolate on it.

Of course things have changed a lot from when I was at school all those years ago, but reading time stays the same. I don’t know what the children made of my rendition of Farmer Fred and his wacky tractor, complete with sound effects, but I had fun!

Best of all was one-to-one reading with two children. It took me back to when I sat with my teacher Mrs Elliott, as she followed each word with her pen and I pronounced it, what an achievement to read an entire page, especially when there were no pictures. These two children were opposites, one reading confidently, the other not as sure, but they both made a fantastic effort.

I learned a lot today about how the children learn and how they love to learn. I can’t wait to go back!

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