During my placement at Merrylee Primary I worked mostly in Primary level 1 classrooms. The students in this grade level are four and five years old and there were around 20 students in each class. The majority of children are dropped off at school around 8:00. They are allowed to play outside in the school yard until 8:30 when the day starts. In Primary 1 there is a lot of free play and less formal learning because the students are so young. For the first 30 minutes they usually have play time, followed by a literacy lesson. The curriculum at Merrylee stressed the learning of letter sounds and phonics. I was even shocked to see that they displayed letters on the classroom walls out of alphabetical order. They opted instead to put them in the order students learn them (from what I could tell this was from least to most difficult).
In the morning the children had two snack breaks where they went outside for fresh air and had a little bit of time to play. My CTs really utilized teaching in the outdoors and tried to take students outside whenever possible. After break the students would typical practice writing with a series of small group activities. They had a lunchtime and full length recess at 12:30. I went to school on Fridays so the time after lunch was used for specials, like time in the school's technology center or working on a grade level nativity play. I found that Primary 1 was interesting to work in because of how different each day was. I even got to go on a field trip to the science center with one class!
Working with both teachers and students in Glasgow was different than what I experienced at BC. All of the teachers at the school work closely together and there was a strong sense of community. I was lucky enough to bond with my CT during my pre-prac at BC and we got along really well, but I didn't interact with as many teachers as I did at Merrylee. The students in Scotland were a little more independent than children I've worked with in the US. Because I rotated between classes the students didn't always see me as an authority figure in the classroom. They were definitely less well behaved and like to test their teachers more than the American students I worked with.