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St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Isleworth

Operation DIY

Operation DIY


We encourage children to develop the skills to become responsible citizens of the future.

We believe that this is vitally important, not just in terms of personal and social development, but also in terms of developing good attitudes towards learning and academic achievement.

We have identified qualities, attributes and behaviours of children who are independent and responsible learners.  We want our children to lead confident, healthy and increasingly independent lives.  We have sorted these into three categories: personal, social and community. We develop these by working in partnership with parents.

Operation DIY includes lots of tasks where children have to think independently, take responsibility and use their own initiative in order to be successful. Some children will find this easier than others, but with resilience and perseverance everyone will be able to achieve.

Operation DIY

Supporting Children in Reaching Milestones towards Independence and Responsibility

If a child is unable to manage certain tasks that we would consider appropriate for their age, we would:

  • Ask the child to request help from their parent to teach them the skill e.g. tying a tie
  • Encourage them to try for themselves and provide a demonstration if needed (e.g. doing up a zip)
  • Help some of the way and then expect them to continue by themselves (e.g. cutting up food)
  • Only complete a task on behalf of a child if there was a real safety risk (e.g. tying shoelaces whilst out in the street)
  • In school, the children are familiar with the ‘Help Desk’ and using the 3 or 4 B’s (buddy, brain, bits ‘n’ bobs and be brave)

If a child asks for help with a problem we might ask them to first think about how they will sort it for themselves - asking questions encourages learning.

If a child has behaved in a way that is disrespectful to another or the community we would ask them to consider the impact of their choice.

We will praise and encourage independent and thoughtful behaviour when we see it so that all children are aware of the things that we value.

Qualities, Attributes and Behaviours of Responsible and Independent Children

These are a selection of the skills we would expect infant children to be working towards with independence; and junior children to be achieving.

  • To be able to independently complete their 'Learning at Home'
  • Carry their own belongings, school bags/PE bags etc
  • Be responsible for remembering to bring additional items to school e.g. PE kit, musical instruments
  • To pack their own school bag/PE kit
  • Lock their own bicycle/scooter up
  • To be able to dress themselves, including ties, shoelaces, zips and buttons
  • Use a knife and fork to cut up their own food
  • To take responsibility for looking after their own belongings, particularly removable ones such as coats, jumpers, hats etc
  • To be able to make the right choice about when they need to wear a coat, hat etc.
  • Tidy up after themselves
  • Look after their own physical needs e.g. going to the toilet and washing hands etc
  • To be able to listen to and follow instructions
  • To understand the consequences of their own choices

You can access the Skills sheets here:

Year 1 & 2 Skills
Year 3 & 4 Skills
Year 5 & 6 Skills