Children learn in many different ways and it's worth remembering that each and every child is very different. What works for one child, may not work in the same way for another, and that's one thing that being a parent to Leo has highlighted to me over the past couple of years.
Describing Leo is always such a complex account, because he's so kind and is always thinking about other people and how their actions will effect them. He's considerate, emphatic and just down right beautiful. He just shines, he truly sparkles and he models amazing behavior (usually....) and he is always a joy to have around with that contagious giggle that he shares so freely. That same little boy though is head strong and down right stubborn. He has selective hearing and only picks up the information that interests him, and that same little boy is struggling with school.
We are at the end of reception year now, and he is not reading. He is not where all of the other children are and I know that year 1 is going to bring it's very own set of challenges to accompany those that have already been highlighted in the last 12 months. Leo is aware that the work load is about to get more demanding, and he is worried about how tricky it is going to be, but at the same time he is also so excited about his new class and his new teacher. As much as he worries, he is also excited, and it has already been decided that he is going to have a varied curriculum from his peers. Leo's curriculum will work with him to ensure that he is supported and guided so that he can achieve to his fullest potential, and the school have been absolutely fantastic in putting everything into place for him.
Leo loves to be outside and the school have realised that he responds better in a learning scenario when it is more hands on and structured in a way that helps to keep his mind where it is supposed to be. Leo loves Forest School as this is a chance for him to get outside and learn through a fun approach, that to Leo doesn't feel to pressured and is out of the confines of the class room. I absolutely love that the school are willing to provide Leo with these varied learning techniques, and getting him outside to complete mathematics with raw materials like acorns and leaves is such a fantastic, natural way to help him come on in leaps and bounds.
I personally think that getting outside and making the most of the natural resources is an essential part of learning, because not only does it aid the theoretical part of the learning process, but it provides an essential knowledge of the great outdoors that can only truly be picked up through getting out there and getting your hands dirty.
Learning and development outdoors contributes to the over all development of children and encourages them to develop and maintain life long skills such as problem solving, team work and boosts their confidence while offering endless imaginative play opportunities.
Towards the end of the Summer term, I was invited into the school to watch the entire school participate in Sports Day, and I was so looking forward to seeing my little man take part in the event. He gave it his absolute best shot, and I was so proud to watch him running, jumping and throwing his way through each of the activities.
Leo may have found the last 12 months challenging, and he may have so many hurdles to jump over the coming months ahead, but he will do so with the complete support of myself, his Father and his entire school. We all only want the very best for him, and as long as he tries his best and keeps on smiling, then everything else will fall into place as it is supposed to.
For now though, we are enjoying the Summer holiday and have lot's of exciting things planned!