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Thanks and growth

Photographs: Pexels

Text: Monika Pedersen

The season of Autumn marks the end of the summer and the start of shorter and cooler days. It also marks the passage to Winter. However, we are blessed with the beauty of spectacular colour from the leaves on the trees and a few beloved traditions. In past times, it was mainly known as the season when the crops were brought in. In countries such as the United States and Canada, this appreciation is celebrated by ‘Thanksgiving. It is known as ‘Mortens Aften’ in Denmark, remembered on November 10. The focus is on food, feasting, and celebrating the good aspects of life.

Classroom life

As nature is slowing down, the hubbard in the classroom is heating up, as the thrust of learning is turning up a gear.

The first weeks in August are a time of introductions, review, and consolidation. It is a time to cement previous knowledge and build trusting relationships with the students in the class. September tends to mark the start, in earnest, of the first-grade programme, specifically the teaching of phonic sounds, numbers and their bonds, and about the world around them.

And in an instance, it is October, and the pace of learning is stepping up, for there is a big focus on understanding the sound patterns so the students can sound out the sounds of the letters, run them together, and pronounce a simple word such as ‘red’ or ‘cat’. This is an enormous undertaking for both the teacher and the students. A lot of encouragement needs to be given to build confidence. And the students are trying very hard to grasp the steps to perform. They are incredibly excited to be able to read their first word. This is not to say this is the only focus in the classroom, but it is undoubtedly one of the biggest.

Balance is crucial, so whilst learning to read and count is important, it is equally essential to be creative and artistic. Autumn really lends itself to this, as a science lesson is so much more enriching with collecting leaves of different colours in the park and studying them. As well as a discussion about the seasons and how they differ. And art lessons need to involve pumpkins and carving. And, of course, for almost all children, ‘Halloween’ is a huge date in their calendars, so time and energy are allocated to class decorations to mark the date.

"Balance is crucial, so whilst learning to read and count is important, it is equally essential to be creative and artistic."

Parent and teacher meetings

It is usually the first official meeting with parents during Autumn to discuss a student’s learning and experience in their new grade level. There are small updates as and when you meet parents dropping off or collecting their child, but these are not quite the same. And if any concerns arise earlier, parents are contacted swiftly, so the child can be supported.

At the meeting, parents hope their child is progressing well, and the huge interest is in their literacy, numeracy, and social development. A parent’s natural wish is for their child to be happy, secure, and learn. The next steps and the path forward are also of interest.

The meeting is an important opportunity to take a big stride in relationship building with a parent. The better the communication and the approach, the more trust, faith, and cooperation a parent will share. This bond is crucial as both parties are aligned in raising a child. It ensures that the efforts are supported at home in the coming months with more intense spiral learning. Home reinforcement through reading together and reviewing numbers truly helps propel a child’s learning.

Speeding along

Unlike the season’s developments, the reverse process occurs in classrooms. The most intensive learning takes place in the months of September through to the end of April. Each day is precious, as time passes so quickly that the festive holiday seasons will arrive before it has been anticipated!


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