I rarely write in detail about any schools I've visited as an author - for a mix of reasons - but I've decided I must use this resurrected blog to tell you about the good egg school, and how very pleased and hopeful that author visit made me!
For a start, the school buzzed with busy, happy learning. It was a village school, tucked deep within the Yorkshire Moors. Sounds idyllic? Yes, but rural schools can have their own particular problems. Village school children often return to isolated homes, where they spend long hours on video-games or in front of the tv or computer. A child’s only company may be their siblings. Busy working parents may not have time, travel-time or money for the range of outings possible in cities. Additionally, rural children may grow up meeting very few people outside their own small and remote community, yet that is unlikely to be where their twenty-first century life will lead them, or even their secondary school years.
Each year, the children were taken to the theatre in the nearest seaside town and the oldest children went down to London by train for an overnight stay. The staff saw such outings as a way of developing the children’s future independence and knowledge.
Now for the main thing! What I really want to mention was their whole-school initiative., known as "Forest School.” You can find out about it, in general, here at the The Forest School Association
And real LOG BOOKS – made of split logs, string and laminated paper entries.
And there was much more I didn’t have time to find out about.
Think amplified Andy Goldsworthy with much much more attached!
Certainly, such stuff costs, so the school is constantly fund raising to help the pupils. I felt very honoured to be the chosen “author experience”, and hope the children and staff enjoyed the sessions as much as I did. It is also a brave stand at a time when many schools are cutting out anything but OFSTED requirements - yet this programme had been closely matched against those needs. Yes, it was a very very good day!
However, teachers, school staff - and children - are all busy people and the day passed and as I left I was presented with a dozen eggs, laid by the school’s hens.
PS.. Rather sadly, I’ve heard of urban schools who might have been just as interested if their nearest woodland hadn’t been dangerously full of drug-taking detritus and similar health hazards. So very, very sad! Nevertheless, it’s good to share the happy stories too, despite everything.