Sooo, my day ‘Learning Through Laughter in Schools’ loomed after Patch had done his 2 days, and Lesley Quilty a magnificent clown therapist who works across the UK and internationally, ran a highly acclaimed clowning workshop….Then me!
Now – those of you who know me well will know that, even after all these years, I get horribly tummy-churningly nervous, before any presentation. And this ‘Laughter’ day was no exception because I was doing something completely NEW! I had decided that as many Scottish schools may have, in my view and due to the ongoing terrible financial cuts and then the rigorous embedding of their Excellent Curriculum for Excellence, slipped away from our once shared pure hearted, child-centred philosophy, they need to be gently reminded that, despite cuts, change, targets setting and inspection, it is possible for a school (even the most disadvantaged, large, problematical) to shine with a golden heart. Hence I asked lots of people from my previous Scottish trainings to come to Findhorn. It is possible to create a school where no adult ever raises their voice, and children’s needs, individual potential and unique personality is everyone’s priority. A school where all staff (over 80 in a school of 550 pupils), (cleaners, admin teachers etc) are equal and deeply respectful and united in the vision to help children be happy, joyful and calm! Now some of you may know my background; I’ve been teaching since 1972, after 12 years teaching full time, I gradually started to work freelance in scores, then hundreds and thousands of schools over 38 years! So I do not make this claim lightly. I’m very clear sighted and rapier-like in my feedback to schools when I am invited to work in their classrooms, playgrounds and staffrooms. But Watercliffe Meadow School (see my last blog) is superb. So I asked Ian, the deputy and co-head at Watercliffe to come up, with his family, to Findhorn and co-present the day with me. Linda Kingdon, the head – a woman who emanates intense love, joy and chuckles – had decided not to come with us, but as her vision is embedded in everything the school does, she was with us in spirit! Ian and Mash (a young hugely respected film company) had edited a film of many of the occasions when their staff, children are lit up with joy and laughter. I have a particular approach – The Whole School Quality Circle Time Model – and they featured it as a merry-go-round where we could just press one of the moving carriages holding my ideas – and light up the big film screen in the Universal Hall. Everyone was inspired by all the school had managed to achieve.
It was wonderful for me because in the audience there were Scottish teachers I had trained in depth over 15 years ago and new heads and deputies who had never met me and the model. So to have Ian there, a calm, focussed man of obvious deep integrity, himself a deputy headteacher, explaining how they as a whole school had achieved this whole school vision – there could be no arguments!
Jenny Mosley attended the Findhorn Patch Adams and Lesley Quilty conference and training days on 28th, 29th, 30th May 2011 and gave her own conference day entitled “Learning Through Laughter” on 31st May. The day was open to all teachers and anyone involved in teaching and working with children. For further information about Jenny Mosley’s training programmes and availability, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01225 767157.