Our Nursery classes today joined together for a full day of school in preparation for Reception next year. They spent the day meeting their new teachers and getting to know children from different classes. They also had lunch for the first time in school and coped beautifully with this responsibility; carrying their plates carefully to their place, cutting their food (some with a little bit of help), chatting to their friends and enjoying see their teachers also eating lunch!
In addition to this, the rest of the school also had a Moving Up session where they met their new teacher and classmates. The excitement of finding out who your teacher will be, what your new classroom looks like and which friends you will be with was palpable across the school. There really was a lovely positive atmosphere.
Managing change with children requires simple, consistent and positive messages. They generally take their lead from the adults around them and if change is presented as exciting and is explained clearly enough, they will happily tread the path ahead. In my experience children are very adaptable and as adults we probably experience more anxiety around change than children – perhaps because we don’t have any ‘grown ups’ to tell us everything will be ok!
One of the joys of being a Head is seeing my 192 children take little steps forward in their development, the growth of their character and their ability to self-regulate. In a few weeks’ time Year 2 (the eldest pupils in the school) will also take their next steps into our Prep School, Belmont. They too were once in Nursery, spending their first lunchtime here and experiencing their first full day at school. All the tiny steps along the way have led them to this point of transition and they are more than ready for a slightly larger leap.
In a way, the tiny steps towards big leaps never stop – my son in Year 7 is approaching his final year at Belmont before moving to Mill Hill Senior School. My sister has just taken her first steps back into the world of work after having children, securing a job as a Librarian – and my mother aged 73 has just started ballet classes called ‘Silver Swans’!
Life is all about tiny steps leading to exciting leaps and I feel privileged to watch and support our Grimsdell pupils taking these every day.