As a primary school teacher, I have always regarded our profession to be responsible for enabling the young people in our charge to become well rounded, not just in academia, but socially, emotionally, and mentally as well.
It, therefore, made no sense to me why Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) has not always been given the voice that it requires and deserves, even though it is not a compulsory part of the National Curriculum.
So, when my last school took up the baton and started using Jigsaw to teach PSHE, this was a game-changer, for everyone. These are my top five highlights of that experience.
Whole School Approach:
Teaching is full-on and so when someone gives you a scheme of work that has everything in it- it really is a gift. It is time; something that all teachers, myself included, crave, as there is never enough of it! The lesson plans were so well researched, planned and laid out, that everything was there for you to deliver the lesson and deliver it well, step by step.
The resources provided in the Jigsaw scheme are fantastic. From a pupil's point of view, they provide an opportunity for peer to peer or whole-class discussion. There are also opportunities for individual work as well. All of the activities build on the themes and encourage the children to use and develop a range of cross-curricular skills such as speaking, listening and writing. From a teacher’s perspective, whilst the resources saved time, they complemented and reinforced the work that was done in the children’s assembly at the beginning of the unit.
Teaching that prepares the pupils for life:
The final highlight and probably the most important is that this scheme of work is designed to prepare the pupils for life. It has real research behind it which supports teaching and learning and so enables teachers and pupils to explore themes within the Jigsaw framework, in greater depth.
Additionally, from my teaching I saw that pupils were able to understand who they were and how they related to other people in the classroom, year group, school and their families; so again building and developing those social and emotional skills. This was really important for them if they were to become well-rounded individuals.
All in all, I found that Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, was a wholly worthwhile experience. As a result of having this scheme of work, the impact on the children was noticeable and they began to enjoy and engage more with PSHE lessons.
For me as a teacher, I enjoyed teaching it. The time saved with having everything given to me was better used by reading through and getting to grips with the material, so I could teach my pupils to the best of my ability and differentiate for their needs.
The impact of the teaching and learning that extends from implementing Jigsaw extends far beyond the bounds of the classroom. Each pupil is given an opportunity to develop and grow as an individual and as part of a community. Each teacher is given a solid framework to work within, to ensure that this happens.
Using Jigsaw now means that PSHE has the voice that it demands within the profession for our young people.