I loved being a Y1 teacher. It is the age where children’s personalities really come to the fore and so it was with great pleasure I welcomed Brambles Y1 to our Centre today. Things have moved on quite a bit since my last stint as a Y1 full time teacher and the focus today would have been unheard of 15 years ago. The children came to learn to code.
As ever, the focus here is rarely just on the context, the way that children work, how they behave, how they present themselves is also really important and very much applied to 5 year olds as much as the 15 year olds. Well from the moment these 39 children entered the building, they were a credit to their teachers and their school. They spoke confidently and appropriately when given the opportunities and were amazingly focussed all day. It wasn’t a case of the teachers constantly reminding them to quite down, or remember their manners, these children showed amazing self regulation … from one of the ‘toughest areas’ in the UK. It wasn’t just my opinion either. The whole staff of the Centre made a point at various times during the day to remark on how well behaved they were, how polite without being prompted and yet how independent they were. That extends form sitting and quietly chatting with their friends at juice time, to appropriate use of the buffet provided and exemplary table manners. That sort of behaviour doesn’t come about overnight and it they were a credit to the environment they must enjoy at school.
And then their work! I suppose it should be no surprise, but with such a calm, focussed approach to work and great support from all of the adults who were helping them, they went from having done barely any coding before (many are still only five years old) to create a short narrative and illustrating it through a programmed algorithm that they had created. Their programmes required accurate measuring and an awareness of sequence to ensure the robot danced, changed colour or made appropriate sounds in the right place. Absolutely brilliant. I am sure it happened in many groups but I sat with one for a couple of minutes while they debugged their programme because a dance function had resulted in the robot pointing in the wrong direction for the next function. Amazing.
If anybody has any worries about the potential for children in the Tees Valley area, what our digital economy might look like without the right expertise over the next 10 – 20 years I can assure you that you can sleep easy.
This lot have it covered, both the boys and the girls. See for yourself: