Whether new to the school or one of the current Bede’s family, the start of any new academic year can always feel slightly daunting as Year 7 begin to navigate, for what is, the start of their secondary education.
One of the key advantages of an independent prep school, is that this transition is made more seamless and manageable, as much of what they have previously experienced remains the same. However, this year, as we know, has been slightly different with much of ‘normal’ school life having been put on hold. Therefore, the return to school has been more important than ever, with the wellbeing of pupils being a key priority. With so many new faces and, indeed, faces that we have not seen since March, the annual Year 7 teambuilding proved why being around peers is so significant to a child’s education and mental development.
However, even the team building games had to take a different format to previous years to ensure that children remained in their ‘bubbles’ and that games had minimal contact with each other to so as to adhere to ‘staying safe’ guidelines. Children were split into four random teams, to encourage new friendships, acceptance of one another’s abilities and to develop skills in communication, whilst more importantly having fun!
The carousel of games included a form of noughts and crosses, poison ball, musical hoops and games that involved carrying out instructions without talking; a challenge within itself! Each game lasted 15 minutes, with a 5 minute break between each before moving on. However, during the drink break, children were faced with another challenge, in which they were given an ‘unusual fact’ about a member of staff and they had to try and identify which staff member the fact was linked to! It was very interesting to see what the children’s perceptions were of their staff present and their justification as to why they linked a fact to a particular member of staff.
Many of the games played involved a huge amount of running around and tactics and it was clear to see that the children were once again allowed to be children again. The Astro echoed with laughter, screaming, cheering, but above all a sense of belonging and we hope that the experience has brought them ‘closer’ together (socially distanced of course!) and made them all feel part of something special. In all, a hugely valuable and successful morning that has provided a little bit of ‘normality’, whilst hopefully suppressing any anxieties that they may have had and allowed them to come away with some new or rekindled friendships.
My sincere thanks to all the Year 7 team and Mr Morriss for making this happen!