It has probably not have escaped your notice that we are nearly at the end of the year. Through the complex mix of sports days, reports, end of term assemblies, and with a gentle roasting of summer heat, we will soon finish our first year as a school community. The end of a school year can be an emotional time. As adults we are often drawn to look back at and remember children as they were at the start of the school year and to compare how much they have changed and grown. We sometimes regard the end of the school year as a time of completion, of having finished the race or ended the journey.
But learning isn't a race and the journey isn't complete. I think we owe it to children to share a different view, to see the end of the year not as a conclusion, but as a reaching the next level of the adventure where they can go onto even more exciting things.
The educational thinker Jerome Bruner described learning as a spiral. He was trying to challenge the notion that learning is linear, that children absorb one thing after another with no reference to what has come before or will come afterwards. Instead, Bruner argued, learning is like circling a mountain. In each cycle of learning we come around to the same points and see things for a different perspective. Mostly we will have gained a broader view and as we have change, so to our views and understanding has changed.
I like Bruner's metaphor because it contains both the notion of repetition, coming back to the same things again and again, as well as the notion of internal change. We come back to the same ideas but with changed vision, with a different perspective because we are different. Good learning is an adventure, an exciting journey into the unknown, but one that doesn't have an end of year conclusion.
For our reception children that adventure has only just begun, and our new cohort of families who will join us in September are just preparing to start their adventurous journeys. There will, no doubt, be some unexpected challenges, so difficult times when they will need to grit their teeth and over come the difficulties, but there will also be the exhilarating times, the moments of joy, of excitement and achievement. I think this is to be expected. After all, it is an adventure and one I look forward to continuing.