All Linking class partnerships are special and unique however, the link between Ben Rhydding Primary School and Marshfield Primary School is a linking partnerships developed between reception classes in Bradford. The teachers began with a discussion in September supported by TLN, where they chose some interesting starting points considering how each idea would work appropriately with children at the beginning of their primary school journey, keeping in mind the four key questions: Who am I? Who are we? Where do we live? How do we live together?
In January, TLN joined the teachers for their second bespoke planning meeting at Ben Rhydding Primary School just outside Ilkley. The meeting gave the teachers a further opportunity to reflect on their linking journey so far. Both classes had used the book ‘The Name Jar’ as a starting point for exploring the key questions Who am I? Who are we? The children had thought about the meaning of their names and teachers had exchanged this with one another alongside a class photo. Each teacher reflected on the positive impact of this and the discussions around similarity and difference that they were able to develop with their children.
Using the ‘Book Creator’ App as a tool to share images, questions and information about the children in their classes has also proved to be a powerful communicator. Teachers from both classes have been adding information into the book, then share the outcomes digitally in both schools. As ‘Book Creator’ has the facility to add sound to any text this means the information can be shared for all children to access whatever their stage of learning. The teachers were keen to continue developing the use of this app to support their linking relationship.
To continue sharing work, the teachers plan to create plant pots. Each child will decorate a small plant pot that will then be given to a child in their linking class. The classes will also exchange ‘mixed sunflower seeds’ as a gift. It was felt that the mixed colours would add an element of surprise and excitement. The classes will then compare sizes, growth rates, create artwork, feed the birds using sunflower seeds- so many sharing and learning possibilities that connect well with the curriculum of both classes during the summer months. Before children meet for the first time, classes will Skype one another to not only answer one another’s Curiosity Questions, but to also be introduced to their carefully chosen Linking partner.
The classes have their first neutral venue visit at Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley in March. To prepare for this, both teachers attended a pre-visit session so that this first meeting with the Reception Linking classes could be thought through and planned for.
After careful discussion it was agreed that on arrival the children will share a drink and snack and will at this point, exchange their plant pot gifts. Marshfield will bring juice to share and Ben Rhydding will provide fruit modelling the sharing and giving ethos so important at this stage. Children will then be divided into two linking groups with their partners to embark on the first of their two workshops. On this visit there will be an overarching theme of exploration in the museum.
Environmental explorer- Based in the natural history gallery the children will work with their partners, adults and peers to interpret the environments within the displays through tissue paper collage. They will also have the opportunity to draw the creatures within the cases, selecting from a variety of papers on which to record their images. These drawings will then be added to the collages which in turn will be shared between the schools to display in their own classrooms.
This will be a bespoke workshop developed for younger linking children using the period rooms of Cliffe Castle as inspiration for a very special meal or party. The children will make model food using a media such as playdough. The artist leading the workshop will show the children appropriate techniques. They will practise formal greetings, wear and create crowns to increase the atmosphere of luxury to mirror their surroundings. The children will then come together to role play their special meal sitting with their partners.
After their first meeting at Cliffe Castle, children will meet again for a ‘A Picnic in the Park’ visit. This will take place in Lister Park (another neutral venue for both classes) at the beginning of July. This visit will be developed to incorporate parental engagement opportunities. Both class teachers have shared how parents from their schools have expressed an interest in their involvement with the Linking project and so parents from each school will be invited to join the visit. Sporting and Craft activities will allow further engagement between the Linking classes and their parents in a beautiful Bradford Park. We look forward to seeing how this partnership continues to develop over the year!
For information on the Bradford Schools Linking Programme please contact email@example.com or in other areas please contact your nearest schoolslinking facilitator https://thelinkingnetwork.org.uk/contact-details/
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If you wish to purchase the Name book please click here to be taken to information and click here to be taken to a Name Resource for linking.