Last Tuesday April 28, St Michael’s School, Aldbourne, were chosen to take over the Instagram account of international early years consultant, author and blogger, Alistair Bryce-Clegg. Alistair is the early years specialist and education advisor for the Channel 4 programme ‘Old people’s home for four-year-olds’.
Alistair, who has over 23,000 followers on Instagram, runs a scheme entitled ‘Takeover Tuesday’ and schools or other educational settings who share Alistair’s ethos and approach are invited to apply to participate in the scheme.
Judith Arkwright, Headteacher at St Michael’s, said, “We were thrilled to have been chosen by Alistair to take over his Instagram feed as part of Takeover Tuesday. Alistair is a very-well regarded early years consultant and staff at St Michael’s have attended many of his courses over the last few years. He has inspired us to shape and to develop our early years teaching into the outstanding play-based approach we now have in place.”
The photographs chosen to appear on Instagram were taken before lockdown over the last couple of years. They were chosen to represent the varied learning that takes place throughout the Reception and Year 1 classes.
Karen Mearns, Reception teacher, and Jane Godfrey, Year 1 teacher, said, “We have adopted a continuous provision approach which means our curriculum is designed to interest, motivate and enable our learners to follow their interests. This in turn enables them to learn independently. We believe passionately in the power of child-led learning.”
The photos depict the children enjoying a variety of activities. Karen Mearns commented, “In Reception, the children love to explore the water and often make long watercourses outside using the gutters. Inside often involves lots of pouring and bubble making. One of the photos shows the children busy exploring the water and deciding they wanted to change the colour. They added red and yellow paint, discussing, dissolving and colour mixing. It looked like orange juice, but it certainly didn’t smell like it!”
Other photographs depict a session being run by the school’s Forest School Leaders in the on-site woodland, children working co-operatively to make a train track, junk modelling, and experimenting with water, gravity and air pressure.
Jane Godfrey explained, “In Year 1 we have the same approach to continuous provision, giving the children free access to resources both inside and out. Our outside area is designed to allow children to be physical as well as to develop their imaginative and collaborative play. We have a lovely, large sandpit, which is fantastic for high levels of engagement and wellbeing, but play can easily become low level. We provided a new set of resources, including real bricks, sticks and planks. The result was high-level challenge in their play.”
The school believes that the continuous provision approach is the best way to teach young children and leads to high levels of wellbeing which ultimately leads to high levels of learning.