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The Gem Project

The Gem Project? Metacognition? What’s it all about?

At Hillcrest Early Years Academy you will hear everyone talking in terms of Gem Powers’. The Gem Project underpins everything that we do at the Academy and is focused around developing the positive learning behaviours of our children.


The Gem Project is a metacognition approach to teaching and learning. It builds children’s self-confidence as learners and, in turn, their self-esteem towards life. It was invented by Tom Robson (scientist and educationalist) who visited the school to help us launch the project. Children’s ability to reflect on themselves as learners (metacognition) is now recognised as critical to children becoming resilient and successful learners. This project allows the children to do just that!


Below is a brief introduction to the powers, why as a school we decided to implement the project and how you can use it at home!


‘The way we talk to children becomes their inner voice’


Why the Gem Project?


When Dr Robson visited us, he worked with both classes and the staff, his sessions were really exciting and thought provoking. His basic approach is for children to take responsibility for their own learning, to be focused and be resilient. This is a shift in language and communication… Changing the way we talk to and interact with young people.


Below are the 4 main powers that we use in school and examples of how you could use them at home:


Diamond – Being able to notice a problem and thinking of ways to solve it.


Diamond power at home: Picking something up rather than stepping over it, cutting up their own dinner (even if it is a struggle) or tidying their bedroom without being asked.


Ruby – Being aware of others and how what you do or say might make them feel – thinking positively about other people. Also, helping and supporting others.


Ruby power at home: Supporting siblings in a game, getting dressed or reading. Random acts of kindness – helping prepare dinner. Understanding how others might feel because of their reaction to a situation (shouting, getting angry etc.).


Emerald – Bouncing back from mistakes and disappointment and controlling anger if it starts to appear. Also, being able to cope with not getting your own way or being disappointed.


Emerald power at home: When they are told they can’t do something or can’t have something or being told to tidy their room, they able to control the ‘it’s not fair’ attitude.


Sapphire – Keeping focused and staying in control of the monster distractions, only focusing on what is important.


Sapphire power at home: Focusing and finishing one task at a time, for example, homework or tidying up.


All of these 'Powers' are celebrated daily with 'Gem Powered Learner of the Day' medals for children who have displayed one of the Gem Powers. We also love inviting parents to attend our Friday Celebration Assemblies for children who have achieved 'Gem Powered Learner' certificates. At lunchtimes, we have our ‘Playground Gems’ who play an instrumental role in being ambassadors for Ruby Power, Emerald Power and Diamond Power and making playtimes wonderful for our little learners