Tuesday, 10 November 2015

KULES - School Workshop

The first Schools workshop in KULES this year took place last week, as Sarah Hardacre took ideas of protest and the fight for suffrage to Sneyd Green Primary School and a really great engaged group of Year 2 children.

It's fair to say that Sarah was a little nervous at the outset, but by the end of the 2 hour session, our teacher liaison, Victoria Bennett-Smith told us the group had thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and had made a series of placards which would be presented in their assembly.

Here, Sarah sets out her experience.

Initially I was very daunted about believing this workshop as I've never worked with children of this age range (year 2, 6 and 7 year olds) but the class immediately made me feel very welcome with huge smiles and waves.
We started the session talking about the Suffragettes and how they rallied to change the world for women. And we discussed 'the vote'; what it means to vote, both in the context of X Factor as one pupil pointed out a vote is to "vote for the best" and in terms of electing a Prime Minister to run the country on our behalf.

As the children have recently been learning about 'Super Heroes' we looked at the question 'if you could change the world what would you change?' and 'if you could tell the world what you want to change what would that be?'

The children were very passionate about peace and caring for others and talked about stopping fighting and killing; one pupil wanted to stop people stealing and all the children wanted a world where people were nice to each other. And one of the top things the children wanted to protect and care for was animals.
The task I gave to the group was to make their own banner to show the world what they wanted to change. It turned out that the group were unfamiliar with the word 'banner' but once I'd explained a banner was like a poster and could be made up of pictures and writing, they were all so enthusiastic to get going.

The next hour whizzed by as we all got stuck into painting our banners and creating our statements about how we want the world to change. At the end of the session we attached small wooden sticks to each of the cardboard placards and each pupil from the group came forward to hold up their banner and tell the group how they wanted to change the world.

There were lots of animals in the final banners and 'Sneydie' the frog, the school mascot makes an appearance on a couple of the banners which tells me the children are very proud of their school. One banner that features 'Sneydie' says "It's good to be green" and has Spider-Man, the sun and a huge love heart. The school have a colour coded behaviour system with a red card issued for persistent bad behaviour, yellow cards for one off naughty offences and green cards for good behaviour.

Other quotes from the banners include "It's good to save the world", "I save animals", "Save the world", "Keep animals safe" and "No stealing ever". Other banners just had pictures of animals or the world and Orishae made a very special picture of himself with a sword saving the world.

In all I had a brilliant afternoon. I pushed myself way outside my comfort zone and found that I survived; I might even say I enjoyed myself! And the response I had from the children was mega; with a couple of kids saying it was "the best afternoon ever!" The staff were super supportive and Mrs Surtees even made her own banner about recycling, while I made one about pollution (which I spelt wrong, missing out an l and proving these 6 and 7 year olds are better spellers than me!!!).

I won't be rushing off into Primary School education any time soon, nonetheless the workshop has provided me with the opportunity to do something totally outside my experience, to push myself to the edges of my competencies and the absolute reward was getting to work with these super creative kids and see them inspired to make a positive impact on the world.

The banners will be presented to the school by the children from the group during assembly on Friday and after that we hope to display them at the public view in November.

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