Think back to your own school experience. What do you remember? Your mind is probably filled with images of sitting in the classroom, taking on board whatever lesson of the day your teacher was giving you. Each day will have been filled with a wide number of subjects, and while hopefully, you found success in your lessons, you probably discovered what areas you were also the weakest in. Then, of course, are those other memories, from bunking off school when it was time for gym class and locking your teacher in the store closet.
Perhaps those particular memories are better left in your head!
In some ways, schools probably haven’t changed since you were a kid. Your children will still be learning every subject in the curriculum, though there is a lot more pressure now on schools to perform. With the ever looming presence of Ofsted and government rulings over standardized tests, schools are being forced to think outside of the box when it comes to helping their pupils.
In this article, we will consider how schools are going beyond the classroom to aid your children’s learning. Forward thinking schools have always made steps to look after the children in their care, while other schools are being pushed into doing more because of government interventions. So, without further ado, let’s begin today’s lesson!
Most schools in the country now run breakfast clubs, and they are particularly popular in primary schools. While schools caught up with the idea in the mid-noughties, there were breakfast clubs run by charities and churches within the inner cities earlier than this. Noticing that children were going to school malnourished, these groups stepped forward and did something about the situation. Schools finally caught up with the idea, and the benefits are many.
For starters, children are getting a nutritious breakfast. Sadly, there are parents who in the UK who either don’t have the means to give their kids a sufficient breakfast at the start of the day or they are simply neglectful. When children go to school hungry or loaded up on sugar and E-numbers, their learning potential is stifled.
Breakfast clubs are all about healthy eating, and eating the right foods will stimulate learning. However, there are further benefits. Those children who have an issue with punctuality are now getting to school on time.
There is also extra time to boost social development, as kids have more opportunity to engage with their peers, in conversation and play. Breakfast clubs are also a welcome relief for working parents who previously had to find child care, or who sent their poor children off to school early to stand outside the school gates.
Make sure you support your child’s breakfast club, by collecting Tesco vouchers to raise funding, and ensure your local school is entered into the national Breakfast Club Awards. The benefits to you, your children, and the school are many.
School trips are nothing new, and you will probably remember getting bundled onto the school bus to visit a dusty old museum or an outdoor hike with your exercise obsessed gym teacher. Now, there is nothing wrong with that of course, and schools are still finding places to visit to complement the national curriculum. However, we were impressed to see that UK school trips now include excursions to theme parks, Christmas markets, and West End plays!
Finally, schools have caught onto the idea that these trips should also be about fun, as well as offering the potential for learning.
Getting outdoors and away from the school classroom offers the potential for informal learning. Through socializing with others to taking in new sights and experiences, school trips are a great way to broaden children’s minds. Furthermore, as a parent, you can get involved and take part in your child’s learning. You may also learn a thing or two yourself!
Schools are duty bound to offer pastoral care, but in the past, this was delegated to members of the teaching staff. Nowadays, qualified professionals are employed by schools, and these are generally known as ‘learning mentors.’
Learning mentors have a base in the school but operate out of the classroom. They are there to support children with in a variety of ways. This includes pastoral care, such as helping those children who are being bullied or are having issues at home. Mentors work with children on a 1:1 basis and in small groups to help with other issues, such as low self-esteem, anger management, and behavioral problems. They take on the responsibilities that teachers no longer have time for, and work with children on personal and social issues to safeguard their futures and to get them back into learning.
As a parent, it’s worth getting to know your school’s Learning Mentor, and talking through with them any problems your children may be having. There are so many obstacles to children’s learning today, and the Mentor is there to help your child overcome them.
Many schools have offered extra activities after school for years, but laws regarding an extended schools program ensure this is now compulsory. Again, after school clubs and activities are of benefit to working parents. However, they also give your children the opportunity to take part in activities that wouldn’t normally be accepted as part of the normal school day.
Your school probably has a wide range of clubs on offer, and what they are will depend on the expertise of school staff. Take a look at what this school has to offer, and you will notice some surprising activities such as yoga and archery! Not every child is sporty or enjoys physical activity, but there are sure to be clubs your children can take part in comfortably. Not only will it boost their learning, but it also gives them the opportunity to make new friends with people who share similar interests.
Lesson of the day
School isn’t only about English and maths! Take advantage of what they can offer your children, and give them your support.