At my daughter’s school this week they are having a theme week. I like the idea of the theme week as they take the kids out of the classroom to do something a little more hands on. Last theme week was during the Olympics and every day they looked at the culture and history of a participating country, learnt some of the language and tried out the food. It really caught the imagination of my daughter and I heard a lot of enthusiasm for school and learning.
So this week they are studying the elements. Today was all about fire. I love to listen to my daughter describe her day to me, not least because she doesn’t have the vocabulary yet to really explain what she has been up to, so I have to interpret it from what she can tell me.
When I picked up my daughter after school, I asked her what they had learnt. Had she used cooked the jacket potato and egg she took to school with her?
Kid1 – ‘No, we didn’t have time.’
Me – ‘Why, what were you doing instead?’
Kid 1 – ‘We were cooking marshmallows on the fire. We had a long pointy thing . . . ‘ (I mentally picture a piece of wire) ‘ . . . and we stuck the marshmallow on the end and held it over the fire in the playground . . . ‘ (Cue picture of burning books surround by impish children) ‘… and the end of the pointy things kept catching fire.’ (swap picture in my mind for that of a kebab stick with marshmallow attached.
How great is that – roasting marshmallows in the middle of the day at school! Not something we ever did.
Me – ‘So what did you learn about fire?’
Kid1 – ‘You mustn’t get too close or your face will blister.’ (Ouch!)
Kid1 – ‘And we learnt how to make fire’ (Picture a class of 6 year olds rubbing sticks together or striking flints.)
Me – ‘And how do you do that?’
Kid1 – ‘Well first you need to make a wall.’ (Kids with trowels slapping cement mix onto bricks.) ‘And then you make a chimney.’ (Ok, a little confused here. Did the school actually have them working on the new extension in secret?)
Kid1 – ‘And then you take a stick and you light the chimney’
Me – ‘Hang on, you light the chimney with a stick?’
Kid1 – *exasperated tone* ‘Yes mum. You know, you use a stick with a funny brown lump on the end’.
Me – (Think like a child!) ‘You mean a match?’
Kid1 – ‘Yes, you take the match and light the chimney’
Me – ‘And what’s the chimney made of?’
Kid1 – ‘You put the sticks together, three upright and then two more next to them. And the wall is made of sticks as well.
Me – ‘OK, that sounds fun. Was it a good day then?’
Kid1 – ‘Oh yes, it was fun. Oh, and I forgot the most important part. You can’t light the fire without the crackle.
Me – ‘Crackle?’
Kid1 – ‘Yes, you know, the crackle. You need the crackle in the fire. And not the type you eat.’
Maybe I should go back to school!