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Open Homework and Purple Pledges

7 May 2021

The hum of the ‘working bees’ in the Prep School continues and our girls have made great progress with their learning throughout the challenges of lockdown. Over the past year, not only has their learning developed, but they have continued to demonstrate resilience and adaptability to their new way of virtual school. I often chuckle about my first online assembly where the girls were still novices (we all were) about Teams and then, by my second assembly, five days later, they had learnt how to unmute (useful to give me feedback) mute me (not so handy!) and the power of feedback through the chat zone. Our learning curve steep, our motivation high, and a change happened, normally it would have taken weeks, it happened (literally) overnight.

Now, it doesn’t feel like the new normal, it feels like another way to approach teaching and learning, to use technology to enhance what we do at school and a new skill set we all need to maintain. Out of a difficult time there have been successes: Parent talks online which can be recorded, assemblies which have incorporated everyone participating, calling Big Sister/Little Sister and shared reading, GDST workshops across schools at the Globe Theatre and the Science Institute which everyone can attend. Quite simply, we have thought out of the box and creativity has soared. We want to embrace this storm we have (and are still) come through and think positively about the skills we have developed.

In the Autumn Term, our girls set some amazing Purple Pledges as part of our Autumn Term ‘Open Homework’ which you can read in this article. Many of these pledges capture the time we were in, the challenges we face. I think we all were amazed by their ideas and I am in the process of talking to the girls about what they have done towards their pledges.

For us, ‘Open Homework’ (Reading Week in Senior School) is an important strategy to develop creativity and independence.

The aims of it are:

  • To plan, complete and present an independent project
  • To think out of the box - there is no right/wrong way to do this project
  • To develop your own style, your own strengths and to 'Be You’

‘Open Homework’ is deliberately open ended, not pages of sums. We want our girls to learn how to break a project task into steps, to manage their time, to think for themselves and not to be spoon fed. Our girls are the future architects, project managers, headteachers, astronauts etc. They need opportunities to have blue sky thinking for themselves and, yes, they will need some steering, but this lessens the more they experience these types of tasks.

Starting on 10 May 2021 is our next Open Homework. The theme is: The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be. Inspired by the book of the same name by Joanna Gaines, it embraces the idea of individuality and being proud of your differences, understanding your strengths and acknowledging others. It captures our motto: with courage, with truth, with joy.

On their own Teams Channel, the girls will write, draw, upload photos of drawings, models etc. In response to four statements:

  • All About Me
  • What Makes My Heart Sing
  • How I learn best
  • Purple Pledge follow Up

We cannot wait to celebrate Who They Were Made To Be. Please do read some of our purple pledges here.

 Miss Musgrove, Head of Prep School