30 January 2013
Sharon Haston recalls the fun of outdoor learning, musical movement and the audio visual room at her school in the Seventies. ...
Sharon Haston recalls the fun of outdoor learning, musical movement and the 'audio visual' room at her school in the Seventies.
The pocket calculator may have been in its infancy but in the early 1970s at my primary school, we used wooden sticks to help us learn to count. They were different colours and sizes with each length representing a number between one and ten. Ten of the tiny cube sized ones made up the same size as the long number ten stick. It may have been basic but it worked. Although my husband may say otherwise about my arithmetic skills nowadays...
We seemed to have time for play as well as learning. In the corner of our Primary one classroom was a blue and white toy house which was ideal for us to play inside. Such was the power of our imagination that an empty bottle of Old Spice aftershave doubled up as a milk bottle. In the afternoons we often painted, or did Arts and Crafts such as making papier mache items (it would have been more appropriately called papier messy), listened to a story or had gym. I always loved making Christmas and Easter cards with lots of glitter and glue.
In our ‘gym hall’ our equipment consisted of some wooden benches and a couple of ropes. A lot of the time we seemed to do something called ‘musical movement’ during which we pretended to be trees swaying in the breeze or trolls tiptoeing in the woods. No wonder we had such good imaginations.
Of course before we did gym we changed into our ‘gutties’ which were either black plimsolls or white tennis shoes. No fancy trainers with logos for us.
On sunny days we'd have gym outside and played games such as ‘In and out the Dusty Bluebells’, or ‘The Farmer Wants a Wife’. Our teachers would sometimes take us outside to read a story. They obviously wanted to enjoy the sun too. Teachers were strict but fair.
You would never answer back and ‘getting a row’ or a rap on the knuckles with the ruler was a matter of great shame. You didn‘t tell your mum as she would have given you another row plus a skelp. Two tellings off for the price of one!
In the days before computers, our technical equipment consisted of the radio and the TV. We had an ‘audio visual’ room where we watched educational programmes such as Music Time and, my favourite, How We Used to Live which detailed the lives of different families in various time periods. I credit it with giving me a lifelong love of history. We also sang along to songs such as 'Yellow Bird' on the radio.
We were all very fond of our lollipop man and were especially grateful for his help during the time when the clocks weren’t put back and it was pitch black in the mornings. We wore reflective sashes decorated with lollipops so we could be easily seen. When it was playtime, we girls often played with skipping ropes, or Chinese ropes (elastic bands tied together). We also threw a small ball against a wall, singing rhymes and spinning around and catching it or throwing it under our legs and then back at the wall. Ah, such happy memories. Now where can I get a ball to see if I still have the knack...?