HALF a century after their last school bell sounded, a group of grandparents have turned back the years and gone back to school for one more time to become the oldest kids in the playground.
As part of an educational event, grandparents of children at Fleetwood’s Rossall School have swapped shopping bags for satchels and traded places with their grandchildren to go back to the classroom.
The adults had the chance to see how they would measure up against the youngsters in a unique international teaching programme aimed at infants and juniors, which has advanced dramatically the learning capabilities of young children at the school.
The pupils’ grandparents spent time with the kids, getting to grips with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), an enquiry based method of learning, which helps even the youngest children to acquire and develop research and self management skills.
Youngsters are able to follow a curriculum led by their own interests.
The programme has been in use at Rossall Junior and Infant Schools for four years and has shown remarkable results, with children shown to be ahead of their years in literacy and numeracy skills.
So grandma and grandpa got to see how it compared to life in their days at school, when they arrived in the classroom for registration.
The old kids on the block were as well behaved and attentive as their younger counterparts!
And teachers at Rossall, which is the only school in the area to offer PYP, believe the experience has been a real eye-opener for even the most sceptical grandparents.
One grandmother, Kathleen Pickup, of Cleveleys, who has two grandchildren at Rossall, was really surprised by the flexibility of PYP and enjoyed her return to school.
She said: “It’s been fascinating to see how this form of teaching engages the children.
“Although it wasn’t the rigid ‘three R’s’ that my generation was taught, it certainly interested me, and I can see real developments in my grandchildren, Grace and Harry.
“They are enthusiastic learners and much more confident than I’d expect them to be at their ages; because Harry is just six and is Grace seven.”
Rossall’s PYP co-ordinator, Sue Tyldesley says the exposure of grandparents to 21st Century teaching methods has educational significance, despite the fun element.
She commented: “To many grandparents, the Primary Years Programme methods seem familiar, especially if they’ve been to university, because the skills developed by our children mirror those needed by university students, who need to be self-sufficient and even at this age have well-honed research abilities.”