The delights of Goa are still the
same but this time, just rather warm at 40c
Having struggled to get all the
resources we needed packed, we were within four kilos of our combined luggage
allowance. We breathed an audible sound of relief at check in. Awaiting our
flight, we bumped into Sue Beales, a former member of APS staff, who took a
photo of us with our red noses. We were determined to support our boys and show
them that we were doing our part on Red Nose Day too! We were talking so much
to Sue and explaining our Goa links that time flew by. We heard the final call
for the Doha flight and had to move rather swiftly!
Debbie and I arrived safe and
sound. We were in good spirits having watched several films and eaten various
meals at odd times!
Our focus has been to develop
Nursery provision and begin to encourage more reflective practice generally
within the Early Years. This includes the lower and upper kindergartens.
Alongside this, we are auditing the progress of Jolly Phonics, introducing Jolly
Grammar as the next stage for Standards 3 and 4 and sharing the schools work on
Jolly Phonics by giving presentations to parents. Thanks to Bob Sandy at Ten
Town and his marvellous donations, we introduced the Early Years teachers to
Ten Town. King One and all his faithful number friends that live in Ten Town
will be introduced in the new academic year which starts in June.
We are delighted to say that
Jolly Phonics is well established and moving from strength to strength. The
teachers are enjoying using all the resources and seeing progress in all
classes. The assessment audit taken bears testament to this and the scheme is a
very visible part of the schools’ every day practice. Useful though such
assessment tools are, it is children who delight in sharing their command of
As part of our visit, we had
prepared two presentations for the parents about the Jolly Phonics programme.
This was well attended and despite my worries about speaking through a Hindi
translator the presentations went smoothly. This was partly helped by groups of
children from UKG, Standard 1, 2 3 and 4 demonstrating their phonic knowledge
and skills which culminated with a shared reading and some individual reading
of ‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse’ with Standard 4 children. The
children were deservedly the stars of the presentation and rightly so.
The parents were amazed at the
standards of English achieved. They loved looking at the small sample of books
and resources we displayed after the presentations. Their children enjoyed showing them actions,
telling them the sounds and explaining what they do in class. Many came to
thank us after wards.
It was a moment to saviour and
just take a moment to reflect on where we started from and just how much APS
has given to make all this possible.
Most importantly though is we now
need to look at resourcing reading books locally which go beyond the Jolly
Phonics Readers. This is another testament to the teacher’s dedication to the
Mrs Dawkins has truly made her mark with the Nursery
Team! Debbie and I have become a well-crafted double act in the last two weeks!
The foundations have been laid for carousel activities with teacher directed
and independent play activities. The Nursery has been transformed into a place
of learning which excites and inspires. Simple planning and continuous
assessment tools have been put into place. Storage has been agreed upon with
baskets so the children can see the resources and be encouraged to take
responsibility for helping to set activities up and put things away. Play dough
will now feature as an activity with colours, letters and numbers of the week
being introduced creatively and appropriately! It has been a really exciting
part of our visit and with learning being reciprocal!
The Early Years teams have met Ten Town and are ready to
go! (Parents of boys who have been at the APS Pre-School will know this number scheme)
Oxdel Pre-Primary Teachers have also enjoyed receiving
the Ten Town resources. Sadly, we were unable to spend as much time with the
Oxdel staff during this visit as we would have liked due unforeseeable
constraints and changes to the school administration. However, the programme
for Oxdel is already in the planning stages for October as a result and
something to really look forward to. The staff were eager to share their
successes with Jolly Phonics and are looking forward to introducing Ten Town.
We have managed to bring out some of the books which were
kindly donated on World Book Day. Plans are afoot to ship the rest out in time
for my next visit in October. This will help my baggage allowance considerably
Working in a temperature of 37 plus degrees is incredibly
tiring and the amount of water that is consumed is mind boggling. It has wonderful to share this with Debbie,
who has taken to the challenge like a duck to water. It is certainly not for
the faint hearted but is rewarding and worth that little extra bit of work.
My sincere thanks must go to Mr. Bob Sandy and the Ten
Town Team for their generous donations of resources. I am always mindful of the impact my visits
have on my APS colleagues when I come out to Goa and would like to thank them
for their support, encouragement and wonderful ability to be so flexible!