Mayflower Primary School is a highly creative, arts-based school with an intake for 97% of whom English is a second language. For this year’s Creative Partnership, they wanted to improve the children’s speaking and writing skills, through storytelling and story creation. This was to be combined with visits to London arts venues, and to be linked with the themes each class was studying that term.
We introduced ourselves with a practical Inset session at the start, teaching a simple story-creation technique that could be used by the teachers with children of all ages. We then met the KS2 teachers to get a better understanding of their requirements, their themes, (Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Disasters, Local History and Conflict & Resolution) what their pupils enjoyed doing and where ideally they would like to go on their trips. Armed with this information, we visited a number of museums and galleries, designed guided visits that helped bring the exhibitions to life, prepared workbooks for each pupil and planned follow-on activities for the teachers to complete back in the classroom. We introduced ourselves to the children by offering storytelling performance in the classroom, before leading the visits ably assisted by the teachers and TAs.
Six safe and successful trips were conducted, to the Museum of London, Docklands Museum, Tate Britain, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. Stories were created by the children to help them understand who might have used, worn or traded particular objects, how life would be different over periods of time in comparison to today, albeit in a similar place, what might happen before, during or after the snapshot shown within a painting, why volcanoes and earthquakes occur, and what devastation they cause. By always finding real characters, settings, time and actions, these weren’t generic stories but rather ones that held true meaning and allowed their creators to connect with their subjects on a deeper level. All workbooks, worksheets and stories used were left with the school to ensure their ability to run their favourite aspects of the project next year, ensuring sustainability.