D is for Daddy

Have you ever wondered what Father’s Day is all about? Cynics would tell you that it is no more than a shallow, modern imitation of the more traditional Mothering Sunday, orchestrated by greeting card companies to boost their sales. The children in RLW, however, would say that it is a chance to say thank you to their daddies and to tell them just how much they are loved.

As you know, the teachers in Reception don’t do things by halves, and they certainly didn’t want the daddies to feel left out after the glorious Mother’s Day Celebration last term. Accordingly, daddies have been the number one priority for the children and their learning for the last week or more, culminating in the Father’s Day Breakfast, which was held at school last week.

In RLW, after giving the children a chance to discuss what makes their particular dad so special, Miss Wigmore read the book Mr Large in Charge by Jill Murphy. In this story, when Mrs Large is feeling under the weather one day, her husband gamely offers to take over, enlisting the children’s help with all the household chores. Needless to say, things don’t quite turn out as planned, and Mrs Large doesn’t get the restful day she was hoping for. Poor Mr Large…at least he tried! RLW also explored the character of Dad in the Oxford Reading Tree series, another man for whom the course of domestic life does not always seem to run smoothly, and the children had the chance to make comparisons between several of the books they have read this year.

The children in RLW were keen to express their ideas about their daddies in writing. Using whiteboards, where mistakes can quickly and easily be rubbed away, gave them the confidence to write freely, with delightful results, as you can see from the photographs. Now that the children are about to move into Form 1, Miss Wigmore insisted on the correct use of finger spaces, capital letters and full stops, not to mention accurate spelling of the word ‘Daddy’. All this practice helped the children put into words exactly what they wanted to say in the special messages the children wrote on the back of the smart stripy ties they made in DT.

Meanwhile, Mrs Pemberton, who loves art, supported the children as they painted portraits of their daddies. The critical thing here was to stop and think carefully about the detail required to make a true likeness, and the effect they achieved by adding pastels to the paint was certainly impressive. I am confident that, with these portraits to help me, I would have no problem recognising all the daddies in RLW if I was to meet them in the playground.

Miss Wigmore tailored a whole range of learning during the week to help develop the Father’s Day theme. In PE, for example, the children had a go at practising throwing balls used in some sports that daddies (and indeed mummies!) might enjoy. The balls have different weights and textures, and quite different skills are required to propel them. The possibility of throwing overarm or underarm was explored, together with the likely effect on the trajectory of the ball.

The children also worked together to complete a dad-themed word search and, of course, they made Father’s Day cards using the materials in the craft trays. In Maths, the children explored simple fractions in a practical way by sharing objects into two groups, and using Numicon to help them see the two halves visually. “Half for me, half for Dad,” they said as they worked. As I told you, except in this instance, Miss Wigmore doesn’t do things by halves!

One activity I would have loved to try myself was in the construction area, where the children very cleverly fitted Lego blocks together to spell out the word ‘Dad’. All in all, an exciting and worthwhile week, during which the children never once lost sight of the purpose of their learning.

On Friday, of course, came the climax to it all – the Father’s Day breakfast. The dads enjoyed a treat of croissants and juice in the Dining Room, and were thrilled to be presented with their specially made and personally inscribed ties. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr Biggs appeared and entertained everyone with a rousing tune on the accordion, and the children surprised their fathers with a song about daddies they have been learning in their music lessons.

There were lots of very happy daddies in Solihull on Friday. And on Sunday, too, I hope, because the children in RLW had yet another present to take home ready for the big day! They worked all week on a beautiful watercolour collage, which the teachers framed and sneaked into the book bags for the daddies to open and proudly display at home.