Every term Oscar’s school take part in themed projects that involve whole school participation. Earlier in the year they did a term of work on Grand Designs, using architecture as a way to explore the ancient world. Last year they did a term of activities based around Shakespeare’s world. This term they have two topics. They are learning all about food from around the globe, and presumably to make sure they don’t all pile on the pounds, the last three weeks of term are also about getting active.
I love this about the school. I love that when they do something for the whole school they really do something for the whole school, and every teacher gets involved as much as the students. It makes everything so much more fun and nobody is left out.
On Monday Oscar did a whole day of sport related activities instead of being inside the classroom. At half nine in the morning his teacher sent me a Twitter picture of him doing archery. They tried all kinds of things and spent the whole day learning outside. On Tuesday they had their annual sports day. This took place up until lunch time. After lunch Oscar had his weekly swimming lesson in the school pool. On Wednesday afternoon he had his Forest School session which involved more running around.
On top of all the classroom activities they are doing, the teachers offer a carousel of different lunchtime activities for the children to try. These vary every day, and the day’s offerings are chalked up on the noticeboard by the dining hall for everyone to see. There has been table tennis, dancing and orienteering, along with football and the other more ordinary offerings.
As well as this, every morning when the children are all on the hard standing lined up in their class groups, there has been a ‘Shake and Wake’ aerobics session for ten minutes before they go into school. Each morning it is hosted by a different teacher accompanied by a banging sound system and the tune of their choice. On Monday they were doing the Cha Cha slide for example.
This leads me neatly to recounting to you that this morning I have had the best school run of my life, watching the Forest School teacher performing his Shake and Wake offering.
When I tell you that despite being outdoorsy, the Forest School teacher used to be a librarian, and looks more like a librarian than Bear Grylls, you will imagine what this looked like.
He was festooned with lei wrapped around his Crag Hopper style fleece, making no concession to sports wear in his sensible black trousers and yet giving everything he had to a freestyle, frenetic dance routine the like of which has never been seen before, and probably won’t be again.
There were limbs flying everywhere. At times it was as if he had more than two legs he was moving so fast. At other times I worried that his knees might fly clean off. There was hip shaking, there was windmilling of arms, there was a suspicion of jazz hands. There was everything but the kitchen sink.
It was inspired.
It was a dazzling virtuoso performance that gave me deep joy at every level imaginable.
Education gets such a bad rap these days, but if I had had any experience like this when I was at school back in the day I’d have thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I’d probably have redoubled my academic efforts and be giving Stephen Hawking a run for his money right now.
Gold definitely goes to the Forest School teacher in my olympics. Well done that man.