‘Hakuna Matata!’ – A window into the world of Year 3

‘Hakuna Matata!’

This was the surprising expression used when I was asking Year 3 for words and phrases that sum up the best things about being in Year 3 at Exeter Cathedral School. We were also discussing any tips or advice they might give to a Year 2 child who might be wondering or worrying about life at The Chantry once they have ‘crossed The Green.’

At first, I was taken aback, as you can imagine.

‘Are you sure you mean, Hakuna Matata?’ I asked, somewhat bemused, ‘You do know what that means…?’

‘Oh, yes,’ replied the child, ‘it means ‘No Worries!’’

At this point, the whole class started giving me a surprisingly tuneful rendition of the song. I have to confess that I joined in, just a little!

To my mind, ‘Hakuna Matata’ implies a certain lack of effort, a laissez-faire attitude to work and to life in general. This particular child and, in fact, the whole of Year 3 are extremely hardworking and enthusiastic, and they have been tackling everything, even the more demanding tasks, with gusto. Some of them are working at a standard well above their age: we never underestimate the capabilities of Year 3.

I pointed this out to them. ‘Surely, you don’t mean that we don’t bother about working hard or respecting other people, or following our ECS Habits?’ I asked, my face full of mock horror.

The answer came amid hoots of laughter and disbelief. ‘Of course not! I mean that there’s no need to worry – it’s NOT scary!’

‘No, it isn’t,’ added another, ‘the teachers are awesome…kind and not strict’

‘And we have more work but it’s fun,’ was the response from another. This theme of enjoying the hard work seemed to be a common one.



You’d be forgiven for thinking that I have made up these comments (or bribed the children!). 

I assure you that I haven’t, and I didn’t. If you were at the preliminary session of our Crossing the Green event on Wednesday, you will know from the faces and responses of the Year 3 children there, that they are genuine comments.  

It is comments such as these that give us a real window into the world of a child in Year 3: they show us what is important to a 7–8-year-old and whether we are achieving our aims of creating a nurturing, supportive, stimulating learning environment in which they can grow and develop.  

So, what other ‘best things’ did the children think were important for other people to know? What else do they love about life in Year 3?  

They love the fact that they have their form teachers who they look forward to seeing and upon whom they depend, but they also love having a variety of specialist teachers for different subjects, too.  

They love the Art Room with its kaleidoscope of colour and opportunities; being part of a choir, performing in the cathedral, having performance lessons where they can be expressive and hone their drama skills. (There will be an opportunity to see the results of their labours when they showcase their presentation to parents in the Trinity Term. They are excited, already.) 

They love the playground which they say is huge; they love being able to explore The Chantry and having a little more independence and responsibility. They love the library: the activities there, and the fact that they can go there to read or simply book browse during breaks. They love earning house points; being a recipient of the Gold Star Award and wearing the golden badge on their blazer; playing with more friends from across the year groups, Little Tea, Games…the list goes on. 

Year 3 just love being at Exeter Cathedral School, and yes, there are times when, as in life, things don’t go quite according to plan, or they can’t quite grasp a new concept straight away, or there is a tricky friendship issue, but they know that they will be listened to, supported, and encouraged. 

Three more comments from Year 3: 

 ‘If you get stuck, just ask your teacher and they will always help you.’ 

‘Just try your best.’ 

‘Never give up. Always persevere.’ 

So just what do all these comments tell us about life as a Year 3 child at Exeter Cathedral School?  

It tells us that our children are happy, enthusiastic, fulfilled, stretched and above all, enjoying their time in Year 3. What more could we ask for?  

Hakuna Matata!


Mrs Trudy Porter
Head of Lower Years
Year 3 Form Tutor

21 January 2022
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