March 05, 2007

Workshop At Milborne First School, Dorset, Friday March 2

Ah! if only all schools were like this. The Head told me he believes that the prerequisite of all learning is that the child is happy. Very good, I thought, they all say that. But this learning environment really was a happy one. Set in a wonderful Wessex wold a few miles north of Weymouth, this well-appointed and extremely well resourced new school had a welcoming Wessex air. It wasn't just the setting or the (unusually spacious and well-purposed) modern building, it was that not only the children but the staff seemed happy in their work. I did not hear a negative whisper all day and that includes all the various support staff! Is it something in the water down Wessex way I wonder? Children got on with their work with happy enthusiasm. Staff also seemed to all like their classes, each other and their Head!! (Like I said, this is rare!). I also liked all the classes, aged between 4-9, all young enough to call me "Gareth" and show me their work with grinning pride, some so young they called me "Author". "Bye bye Author" as I left will be an enduring memory.

I have had several experiences now with the younger end of the school age-range now and I have to say, the complete lack of cynicism and the big-eyed wondering enjoyment of words and all things creative of that age range at Milborne was a real restorative. It was a six hour drive down for me after work the previous day and I also had a car breakdown and a need to call the AA (the car people not the alcoholic agency) so I was wondering if it was worth it when I travelled in to this relatively unfamiliar territory.

Well, it certainly was. Even the fact that the school was not in Weymouth (as I expected) - hence all the compensating w alliteration here - could not take the edge off a wonderful day, chanting, becoming and bespeaking animals and revisiting infant memories recorded in crayon drawings with captions like "I am four/ I poo on Daddy's shirt!!". I understand there is even going to be a 100 page booklet of the poems produced and properly printed. So all power to you, Milborne. One of my best ever days in a school!

No comments: