Fabulous morning at a school in Buda this morning. Saw three classes in succession; kindergarten, first and second graders - so our reception, year one and two.
A morning of inspirational music teaching and an insight into the Hungarian school culture, with which I will start. Pupils wore their own clothes rather than uniforms. The school went up to 16 so there was exposure to a mix of ages. The relationship between teachers and pupils was incredibly loving; kisses, cuddles, holding hands, warm facial expressions.
The atmosphere in lessons was positive, lessons went at a great pace and children were engaged. There was no raised voices from teachers, no cross facial expressions, just gentle scaffolding and support. The kids weren't perfect (which I was pleased to see!). But any talking or silliness was jut ignored by the teacher and the children were soon re- engaged.
The music teaching was just inspirational, and seeing what the children could do was impressive. It made me long for my own sons to receive such an education. How I wish primary school teachers in our country had the confidence, and competence, to teach in a similar fashion. Why is there a shortage of such people? Probably because their own music education was lacking and we now have a chicken and egg situation.
So how did seeing the primary lessons help me? Apart from making me determined to do as much as I can with the 12 hours I have to prepare Durham University teacher training students to teach primary music?
Well, it's all about seeds, musical seeds. The teachers today could not have had the same outcomes if it wasn't for the foundations put in place by the kindergarten teachers. It made sense of everything I have seen over the last few days! The work of the kindergarten teachers is vital! With the right musical seeds being planted, and nurture, deep roots form, the tree grows, and bears much fruit.
Thank you parents for entrusting us to 'plant seeds' in your children. My one hope is that schools like I saw today would become a reality in England and I would have the surity of knowing the nurture and growth would continue.