So there I was giving a ‘masterclass’ demo of circle-time with a year 1 class surrounded by a circle of observing teachers and TAs when that heart-stopping ‘what do I do now?’ moment happened…
The Build Up. I’d been stimulating children’s imaginations by sharing with them my magical (invisible!) skipping rope and how, when turned fast with my new year 1 friend, multi-coloured sparks flew out that delighted us all. We ‘ooohed’ and ‘aaahed’ with amazement. They then turned around to find their own (imaginary!) skipping rope and we discussed the magical properties of each!
Mine, when I go fast, skips out sweets”… “oooh”, says I, “poor countries can phone you and ask you to fly over and skip out sweets to all the very poor children at Christmas”. Child smiles delightedly.
“My rope, when it goes fast, makes bright stars come out”.
“Wow” says I. “You can skip out at night time lots of stars to light up people’s way. Maybe their cars are broken down and they need light to mend them and get on their way again”.
Children’s stories of the magical kindness of their ropes began to sparkle fast. One little lad though, who had a challenging look in his eyes, waited patiently for me to ask him “Well, my little friend” said I crouching down “what happens when you skip fast?” Dramatic pause.
“Poo comes out”. Shocked silence. Lightbulb moment “aah how wonderful” I said reaching out for the imaginary poo in his hand and examining it carefully “it’s cow poo. We call that manure and so many poor farmers would love lots of this to help their crops grow. They are going to be so happy when I tell them. Food in the future for all the hungry people. What a brilliant skipping rope you’ve got.” The beaming admiring faces all around him were just too hard to resist. Reluctantly he agreed to this new story twist, but as he skipped off, manure flying everywhere, he shot me a hard knowing look – and I knew he would be back!!
Website Managers Note
1. Jenny’s webshop and catalogue are both brimming with resources to help stimulate the imagination. For instance:
- The Golden Rules Story Books – with little finger puppets to bring the stories to life and includes the Circle Time Handbook for the Golden Rules Series to help everyone get the most from the story books and the Golden Rules themselves.
- We also have a NEW Circle Time Starter Pack with lots of Circle Time goodies to stimulate the imagination like puppets, books, talking eggs, rainstick and much more. Coming soon
2. This article is based on a Jenny Mosley Working in School Day. Schools book Jenny to come and work with your children. She will work with Early Years KS1 and KS2 children and eat with the children an go out to the playground afterwards to really see how things are working and coming up with great ideas. If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch with Lisa on 01225 767157.
3. From this type of training day we recently received a lovely letter of praise from an Early Years setting. I’ll leave you with this to read, honestly it is such a beautiful letter!:
Once again, many many thanks for delivering such an inspiring, captivating and thought provoking INSET day at Orchard Infant School back in September. Since then, your words and highly amusing yet poignant anecdotes have provided a wealth of discussion with all our staff on how we can develop and sustain high levels of well-being and behaviour throughout our school community. So far we are revising our behaviour rules and guidelines to make it even more consistent across the school; developing lunchtimes to incorporate the fun games and activities modelled to us during the INSET day.
Thus far the impact has been significant; with happy engaged children at playtime and as a result a huge decline in any behaviour issues. The staff can’t wait for the arrival of all the puppets and other resources; we are now looking for suitable and appropriate accommodation to ensure they remain safe and special! (Any found languishing under chairs will be put up for adoption!)
As a Key Priority for the school this year, to measure impact for improvement, staff are currently undertaking a Monitoring Enquiry to investigate how the school promotes well-being for both children and adults. It is already very clear from this enquiry that your input has supported the school to implement rapid changes effectively. Although we still have a long way to go, as a result of the INSET day we have been able to achieved a great deal in a very short period of time.”
Jane West, Deputy Headteacher, Orchard Infant School, Dibden Purlieu