Barefoot and Fancy Free?

Following on from one of my previous blog posts about the benefits of children spending more time on  digital devices I have allowed my class more access to the iPads in the classroom. I have been specifically allowing them on them during golden time and guiding them toward the APPS they have been learning to use and not taking 12,425 selfies (I swear I didn’t teach them that!). They have not disappointed me… they have been making soundtracks to other children playing board games – creating tension, praise or disappointment depending on how the games turn out. They have also been creating their own mini movies based on the book that we have been reading – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which is making me wonder when the Peterborough Oscars are because I would love to enter some of their work. They have been loving applying the skills they have been taught in computing and in my mind this has allowed for purposeful application of what they have learnt. A win/win situation for me and my class. Something I will definitely continue with.

I love shoes – I am a shoe hoarder and I have shoes that I shouldn’t really have any more – but I can’t bear to part with them. Now for a lady who loves shoes as much as I do – I also love being shoe free. I kick off my shoes as soon as I get home and even though I have many pairs of adorable slippers I still prefer not to have them on. I feel more relaxed and comfortable without shoes of any type on my feet.

With my shoe/less preference in mind I stumbled across this article – Primary school makes pupils take their SHOES off before lessons in an attempt to improve classroom behaviour and cut down on bullying. The article I read spoke of research carried out by boffins at Bournemouth University about the benefits of shoeless classrooms, as seen around the world. Many schools from all over the world such as Scandinavia and New Zealand have already implemented ‘No Shoes in School’ and have seen improvements  in behaviour and academic achievement.  Now I really don’t like the idea of making the children take their shoes off because in the past I have taught some children who hate the feeling of not having shoes on however, it did get me thinking once again of these benefits and if it was something worth trialling with my class.

I decided to ask my children how they would feel about me letting them take their shoes off at certain points during the day for lessons or tasks such as Art or Big Write. I shared with them a video of CBBC Newsround where they saw children of a similar age who were saying that they worked harder and that they thought other children were better behaved when they didn’t have their shoes on. Their response following my proposal and the video was overwhelming- firstly they were shocked that I would ‘allow’ them to take their shoes off and secondly they all agreed that it would make them work harder and seemed excited to release their feet!

So this week I am going to trial this. We are having a Big Write on Wednesday afternoon which is always hard work (they tend to write better in the morning not following their lunch when they are likely to slip into a carb induced coma!) I am hoping that them having the choice to have bare feet will make them feel more grounded and more focused which in turn will hopefully impact positively on their work. I will let you know how they got on and if it is something that I will do more regularly.

Wish me luck!

Mrs W

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