Hot on the heels of the national call to action for grandparents to become more involved with schools, St Mary’s Junior School, Cambridge welcomed families into the school for its annual grandparents’ afternoon on 15 January.
Data shows that the amount of childcare provided by UK grandparents and their impact on the lives of their grandchildren is continuing to increase, a trend witnessed by St Mary’s Junior School, Cambridge among its own children.
Chris Hald, head of juniors at St Mary’s School, Cambridge, said: “Grandparents are playing an increasingly important role in modern family life and are often involved with looking after children while parents are at work. They have so much knowledge and life experience to impart and their involvement with school life should always be encouraged.
“This year’s grandparents’ afternoon was again a huge success. Each year our pupils look forward to showing their grandparents around their school and showcasing their great work. Our girls gain confidence from seeing their families take an active interest in the school and, consequently, we benefit from the involvement of a vibrant and friendly family community.”
Rapport with families is central to the ethos and teaching at St Mary’s and the school believes this helps to reaffirm parents and family care givers as the first educators of the child. Last year’s Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report stated: “The school is keen to work closely with parents and provides numerous opportunities for them to be actively involved in the life of the school as well as in the work and progress of their children.”
More than 47 grandparents toured the school grounds with their granddaughters. One grandmother came all the way from Devon just to see her granddaughter’s school. “I just couldn’t resist,” she said. When asked how they thought learning had changed since they were at school, many referenced the use of information books in today’s schools and the use of IT rather than chalk and a blackboard. The school’s grandparents’ afternoon is to be followed by ‘living histories’ days throughout the school year.
Mr Hald continued: “Having read the recent article referencing Michael Morpugo, the former children’s laureate, saying that grandparents can teach students about their own histories and the increasing importance of capturing the knowledge and life experience of grandparents as living history, we have extended this invitation to our grandparents and look forward to our first session.”