Learning Space for 6 to 10 year olds
Learning Space is on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am to 3pm.
Topic-based and fun.
The learning is topic based and tailored to the needs of younger students. It develops literacy and numeracy within the topic context as well as introducing children to fun hands-on science. Creative arts including painting, acting, singing and music. We also have sessions where the children decide what they want to learn, either as a group or individually.
Younger children do yoga and meditation and get involved in democratic meetings.
The children split into two different groups to learn about numeracy and literacy. Each group has a dedicated teacher that tailors the learning to the children.
An ordinary day in an extraordinary school...
Sally is 6 and her brother Jude is 10. They're both in the same learning group. Their mum drops them off at 9am and they skip into school, say hello to their friends and then go and find their yoga mats.
Jude loves concentrating on the yoga while Sally finds it funny and turns it into a game rolling around on the floor. She knows that, so long as she's not interrupting anyone else's learning, then she's free to express herself.
Today Sally loves the meditation though; it's a chocolate meditation! Everyone gets a piece of chocolate which they slowly, deliberately eat, noting the texture, taste, sensation in their mouth and then sharing their experiences with the group.
Then it's checking-in time. Sitting in a circle, the children and educators share how they're feeling today. Jude shares that he's excited because he's having a sleep over at his friend's house tonight. Sally shares that she's worried about her dog who has to go to the vets. The children then share similar experiences with pets and vets.
Science starts at 9:45am. The topic this term is The Body and today they're learning about the digestive system. Their educator, Natalie starts by describing the digestive system and asking them about what they already know. They then construct a digestive system using a variety of materials including a pair of old tights for the large intestine. They then introduce real food into their digestive system and process it all the way through until they produce 'poo' at the end. Everyone finds this highly amusing. They then consolidate their learning in different ways according to their abilities. Some draw what they've learned, other write about it and some use a mixture of both.
The group then splits into two smaller groups for literacy and numeracy. The younger group are studying phonics and numbers games with a dedicated KS1 teacher. The older group do a creative writing session with Natalie inspired by a journey through the digestive system.
At 11:15am it's break time and snacks come out along with a number of soft balls and a dodgeball game breaks out.
At 11:30am it's time for the democratic meeting. The whole school comes together for the first part of the meeting and then later splits off into different groups. The meeting is chaired by one of the children. For many of the children, the meeting is at the heart of their school experience and is the element that they most value. Everyone is free to add to the agenda before the meeting and then the chair goes through each item, listening to different opinions. Items are discussed, options proposed and then decisions are made by voting. Today we are discussing the Topic for next terms. Ideas include Medicine, Engineering and Astronomy. One of the children feels that they need more input from the educators to help them make an informed decision and so the educators agree to write a paragraph for each topic to help stimulate ideas for next week.
Lunch is at 12:15pm for an hour. Jude eats his lunch with some of the older boys and plays ball in the hall. Sally takes her lunch into the woods with one of the educators and some of her friends.
After lunch it's time for Art and the children and Natalie go into the woods behind the school to search for materials. Today they're using clay and foraged materials to make body sculptures inspired by various artists. Sally makes a self-portrait with a 'crazy mossy head' and Jude makes a series of figures doing acrobatics using small branches inside the clay for support.
At the end of the day the children and educators all tidy up together. Jude is the tidying up monitor today and so checks that everything is getting done and then it's time to go home.
(descriptions based on real events but with children's identities kept private)
Natalie Rees is a specialist KS2 teacher with a background in art therapy. She has a masters in creative writing and is dedicated to bringing out the innate creativity in children.
Anil Sarna is our lead teacher. He works with this group teaching yoga and meditation and also facilitates our 'learn what you like' session, supporting the children to learn about whatever sparks their imagination.
We are currently recruiting a KS1 teacher who will teach literacy and numeracy with the younger children in the group. We'll let you know as soon as we find them!