It is not unusual for grandparents to visit young children at school and talk about their experiences. It is also not unusual for Prep children to have buddies amongst older students in a Junior School. So why write about such experiences and events? It is important to understand why the Prep teachers have planned these activities and experiences.
Connecting and engaging with children in their learning is important. As part of their investigations into ‘Toys’ this term, the Prep children have been considering and researching how toys have changed (or remained similar) over time.
Recently, they collaborated with their Year 4 buddies, who assisted them in developing a series of questions about toys used in time gone by. These questions were to be used in an interview with an older friend or relative. The children also knew that Loulou’s Great Grandmother, Pat, was coming to visit.
This gave them a real focus and purpose for composing their questions. The children were very excited by the visit and working with their Year 4 buddies developed many great questions and lines of inquiry. They were totally engaged when Pat visited and keenly presented their questions for discussion and answers.
This was explicitly planned as an intergenerational and cross age learning event; that connection and positive relationships with older students and adults are an excellent source of learning. It was also a history of technology lesson and a lesson in developing collaborative skills, questioning (literacy) and thinking skills.
The Prep children had built up a great relationship with their Year 4 buddies throughout the year with House and classroom activities and the older children also practised their interpersonal, organisational and communication skills working with their younger buddies.
Pat was delighted to visit and explain some of her childhood stories and memories to the young children, explaining how her childhood was both different and had similarities with the experiences of the current children. She happily answered many intriguing questions from the children.
The young children had a history of technology lesson based around toys. They learned of the wisdom and experiences of an older person. They enjoyed developing and asking questions to meet the needs of their learning and collaborated with the Year 4 buddies.
The children currently in the Prep classes at The Knox School will conclude Year 12 in 2029 and the expectation is they will go on to further study in 2030. We do not know how the world will be different and the same for these young children in 2030, however at The Knox School we are taking seriously this long term perspective. Thus we focus on developing the adaptive skills, attitudes and dispositions as well as the traditional academic skills and knowledge that will make these these six year olds resilient in the face of whatever changes might occur.