Finally after all of my organising and essays and trying to balance work and a social life I am back to volunteering within my Reception Class!
I have been volunteering there since September 2012 and had my placement there too; so have become so close to the children, staff and setting. Unfortunately after Christmas I have been trying to balance everything and unfortunately was unable to return to volunteering…
But now that I have reorganised my life and have gotten on top of things I have decided to go back and it was so lovely!
Firstly I walked into the class worried that they wouldn’t remember me, but I walked through the door and their little faces lit up and started shouting Hello’s! And ‘We’ve missed you!’
One of those moments that, for me, were truly life affirming, knowing that I had an impact on these children and that they actually knew who I was, for me, was incredibly rewarding!
I worked alongside a PGCE student who is coming to the end of her PGCE year and we worked with the children on the painting table allowing them to experiment with powder paints and mixing colours. We focused on purple and green as they were discussing the story of the Giant Turnip and so were painting a turnip. The groups were of mixed ability and so differentiation was used and more support was used for some pupils; however every child was concentrating on their mixing and found the experience enjoyable with most of the children asking to mix more colours and some using their own initiative to try and mix different colours once they had finished!
Although a structured activity that was initially adult led- the activity quickly became child initiated with the aspect of their choosing the colours and what they thought might make purple/green.
They experimented with different colours and along with scaffolding from the PGCE student and myself, as a team we all were able to mix purple and green.
I felt so truly happy to be back and to be surrounded by these lovely children that I didn’t even notice walking around with two purple painted lines on my face that one of the children had decided I needed!
The activity was great as it allowed room for experimentation and experiential learning and it was hands on and fun! It was creative and yet still educational and children were exclaiming “I’m mixing orange and brown!” = “oh! It made brown!” and then they would think about why it made that colour. They would think out loud and this thinking reminded me of child monologues and egocentric speech that both Piaget and Vygotsky discussed. This means that at this child’s stage of development they hadn’t yet learned how to internalise their speech; or it could mean that they wanted to get the attention of the teacher for positive reinforcement, praise or just their interest.
If I were to do the activity again I would look at mixing the groups as the groups we attained were all single sex and so it would be interesting to see how the groups would have behaved had they been in mix gender groups.
So happy to be back, the sun has started to shine, out of the dreary winter and back on course with my organisation!
Life must be good…. and I was given a beautiful big bouquet of flowers for my anniversary…. Life IS good!