Waltham St Lawrence Primary School
Waltham St Lawrence (WSL) is a small primary school in a village outside Maidenhead in East Berkshire. Head Teacher, Li-Juan Ellerton, has used our original Values programme for 5 years to underpin the school’s ethos.
“The Big Think has shaped the way we teach and learn and actively defines our Whole Child education. It’s a true whole school approach that helps each and every child to understand, appreciate and put all these values into action day in day out!”
Li-Juan Ellerton, Head Teacher, Waltham St Lawrence Primary
The Big Think makes Assemblies more interactive and linked to everyday learning. Staff and children at WSL both enjoy the Pair Share element of assemblies where children discuss and then feedback their ideas using Sentence Stems.
“Giving children sentence openers helps them organise their personal thoughts and views. Through this practice, our pupils can now express their empathy much more readily.“
Teacher at Waltham St Lawrence Primary
This sentence structure helps even the youngest children feel confident about contributing in large Assemblies.
“I like speaking up in assemblies now. We can all do it!“
Y2 child WSL
The Big Think Journals
The Big Think Journals completed at the end of each lesson progressively nurture children’s ability to reflect on themselves and their experiences. After taking the WSL children’s feedback into account, the journal sheets have been designed to provide a structure that encourages the children to express themselves in a defined, safe space.
“We are very proud of our children as reflective learners. Children at our school really are respectful, kind, tolerant, committed, resilient and confident.“
Li-Juan Ellerton, Head Teacher, Waltham St Lawrence
Pupils at WSL reported that they liked to make a personal choice each week, whether or not their journal was private. Sometimes children opted to share their writing with others while at other times they wanted to add to their TBT Journals
and keep them in their trays.
We all agreed that the journals weren’t to be marked but a short check-in with children on their reflections could be helpful at times. The children were excited about building up their personal journals over the school year and taking them
home to preserve their memories.
Involving The Early Years
One of the exciting features of The Big Think programme is its age-related material. There are 44 lesson kits for KS2 and 44 for KS1 but 10 of the KS1 modules are particularly suitable for including 4- and 5-year-olds without any differentiation needed.
Some of the stories we have now included for ages 4 to 7 have been selected from The Book Dash series, written and illustrated by volunteers in South Africa keen to promote children’s love of literacy. (www.bookdash.org) We trialled the Book Dash picture books at WSL and found that along with some of our specially written Silent Sitting relaxations, the Early Years
could now participate fully in the sessions.
Building Links With Parents And The Wider Community
At WSL we ran an interactive workshop for parents to introduce them to The Big Think programme and find out which values play an important role in their own lives as parents. Parents felt that being included at the launch of The Big Think really helped them to keep in touch with their children’s personal development. They began to understand and gain a shared language of values, which has made it easier to talk to their children about issues as they arise and helped them make links for their children between real events, their thoughts and their feelings.
Just as with North Harringay Primary School parents, many WSL parents like to discuss at home, The Big Questions that arise each week from the Assemblies. TBT Values for each week are also shared regularly with parents via the Weekly Newsletter to encourage further discussion and understanding of the focused values at home.
“I chose Waltham St Lawrence for my daughter because it demonstrated the value of Kindness more than any other school I visited. From the moment I walked in, I felt that this is a school that does things differently.“
Father of a Reception child at WSL
Register for a FREE Sample Lesson Kit
There are 88 The Big Think Lesson Kits – 44 for Ages 4-7 and 44 for Ages 7-11.
Each kit comprises:
Silent Sitting track
The Big Song karaoke video
Lesson Plans and Screens
My Big Think Journal Page
The Big Story
Try out this free lesson for LOVE: Caring About Nature!