At a recent joined governor-staff meeting we discussed what makes our school special and unique. KFC (Kindness, Fellowship & Confidence) was one of the things that was brought up. The pupils do a lot of work on it. And I love hearing my own children or the other children of the school talk about this and see their work on it. It always makes me grateful that we can send our children to such a wonderful school.
The following week, I went along to support two groups of pupils on a trip to a Maths workshop called Nrich as part of the school’s STEM week. And with the previous week’s discussions still fresh on my mind, it was fantastic to see so many of these KFC skills play a major part, and be demonstrated and practised by the children on those days. These KFC skills are not just words that exist on paper, they are values that run throughout the whole school. Maybe it doesn’t always get talked about enough. So that’s why I thought it’d be good to record and communicate it here, using this one example: the Nrich Maths Roadshow.
Nrich had organised two separate days, one for yr 1 to yr2 (KS1) and one for yr 3 to 6 (KS2). On both days they had a room set out with different math problems throughout the room for children to solve in small groups. Two of the more obvious KFC skills that I observed were ‘Resilience’ (a subcategory of Confidence) and ‘ Cooperativeness’ (a subcategory of Fellowship) as the workshop leader asked the pupils to focus on these while working on the math problems. The instructor named these ‘Resilience’ and ‘Communication’ for the older children, and ‘Talking’ and ‘Trying’ for the younger children…and I saw this all around me. Children trying over and over again to see how they could transfer rings onto another peg with only one more peg to use, and the rule not to allow bigger rings on top of smaller rings.
Seems easy enough to start with, but after one or two moves it suddenly seems like an impossible task. But by sticking with it and trying over and over again, going back to the beginning if needed to, some children managed to find a solution. They had worked out a pattern along the way, until that moment when -suddenly- they had done it. And they experienced that moment of pride, which was beaming from their faces and I could hear their excited cheers of having solved something tricky. What an important feeling for a child to know that when you stick with something, you get that feeling of joy at the end as a reward. Not when something is easy to start with, but only when it was challenging and you stuck with it regardless.
A few children choose to work on one problem for almost the entire session: Determined (Confidence) to solve this problem that caught their interest. I sat with three girls working together on a puzzle combining shapes. When one was about to give up, one of the others encouraged her to stay with it for a bit longer, and vice versa. I was pleased for them to see them solve it in the end!
For the younger children, Nrich had paired up each team with an older workshop buddy. They encouraged the children to talk to each other and share their ideas.
When passing by different tables and puzzles, I could hear how the older children had already developed these skills a lot further. I heard words of support (Kindness) and co-operation (Fellowship): ‘Let’s stick with this a bit longer. I think we can do it.’, and conversations like ‘No look, something is missing here? What do you think could go there?’ or ‘ I know. What if we do it this way?’ Working together solving a puzzle that neither of them could have done on their own.
The children showed inquisitiveness (Confidence) throughout the workshop, such as the team that used resourcefulness and creativity (Confidence) to build a cube out of a set of soft-play shapes within the set time limit. They were the only group to do so, which of course made this group very proud of their achievement.
I could give you more examples of the KFC values I spotted: even on the bus travelling back, I saw how a child shared her pocket-puzzle game, and so many children in the bus showed support (Kindness) and encouragement for another child to solve it, whilst having fun with it, too.
All these examples demonstrate that it’s not just maths skills that the children develop on a trip like this!