I had the pleasure of attending the annual Year 2 Swimming Gala this week. This is the first time the children have competed in a school based gala and the atmosphere was alive with excitement and anticipation. The effort on the children’s faces was inspiring and the desire to do their best was palpable. So many things struck me during the course of the afternoon, not least their swimming skills. There is of course a range of ability but the standard was incredibly high across the board and everyone was pushing themselves to their limits and feeling proud. I also noted the discipline with which the children approached their races – focused, mature, confident and meticulous in following instructions. Preparing themselves as athletes would. What fantastic swimming and PE staff we have at Grimsdell to instil such attitudes.
Perhaps still more impressive was the support they showed for their team members. Cheering them on as individuals and enjoying being part of a team. Not only this, but the way in which this support extended across the teams. At the end, when the winning house was announced, each of the runners up took the time and effort to shake hands with the winning team – congratulating them on their achievement. I felt so touched and proud to see such spontaneous examples of sportsmanship in 6 and 7 year olds.
At Grimsdell we have a big focus on mutual respect; the children shake hands with me or the teacher on duty at the door each morning. They are greeted with a smile, eye contact and recognition and they offer the same back to me or whoever is greeting them. This routine also takes place at the end of the day when teachers and pupils shake hands and wish each other a good afternoon. We have expectations of our pupils to respect adults, display good manners and courtesy at all times – but we offer this back in return. Children will show respect and feel it naturally when it is mutual and when it is modelled to them consistently. It was very special to see this borne out in the behaviour of those at the top of the school. Thank you to the Year 2 children and to all the staff who have helped develop such kind and thoughtful people.