This week St Paul’s school celebrates ‘One Love’ week, during which each child has the opportunity to invite a loved one to join them in school for the morning.
The idea is the brain child of the newly appointed Deputy Head teacher Jerry Aguilera, who together with Head teacher Rosanna Hitchcock and the other teachers is aiming to promote the schools ethos ‘Together we are better’.
“The idea came about because we want to contribute not just academically for the 21st century, but where they need to think outside of the box, problem solving, collaborate learning and communicating,” Ms Hitchcock said.
The different year groups will have a loved one attend over the course of this week. The accompanying adult can be mum, dad, a guardian, grandparent, cousin or even a family friend, as long as the person is over 18.
“Jerry [Mr Aguilera] had done something similar in the UK and suggested it,” said Ms Hitchcock.
“It is brilliant because it also allows the school to open the doors to the wider community.”
“My belief is that together we are better and if we have parents who are on our side then it seems like a recipe for success.”
“It is a win win.”
Ms Hitchcock also noted that it gives the school the opportunity to show parents that it values them and it brings a positive relationship and removes the more traditional mentality of “you and us”.
“Together we are better,” she repeated.
Mr Aguilera described ‘One Love’ as a collaborative learning task and reiterates Ms Hitchcock’s comments about having 21st century skills.
“We want to give them the skills they require in order to success and flourish in our modern day society. Skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, talk, social and emotional skills,” he said.
“Based on this we felt we wanted to do a project that incorporated all those different skills because we believe in a skills based curriculum. It’s a holistic approach to education that is concerned with the development of the whole child as individuals,” he added.
Mr Aguilera also believes that the week will empower young children to succeed and engage in purposeful learning opportunities, not just with teachers and each other but also involving families in the learning process.
“Building on their self-esteem as it enables them to showcase their work to their families and it is all happening in real time as the loved ones are in school and getting to engage in the task with them,” he said.
Mr Aguilera adds that confidence and self-esteem are fundamental skills for succeeding.
Communication with the children is also important said Mr Aguilera.
“Often children, especially those in nursery, go home from school and when they are asked what did you do at school, they say nothing,” he said.
“Getting the loved ones in means they get to experience the core skills we need to embed within these small children. I also think it will help strengthen our partnership between home and school, which is fundamental as we believe we are better together.”
The project will see the loved one attend school in the morning with the child and complete a task. Every pupil will have the same task to encourage a community feel.
All the children had to bring in a shoebox and a wrapping paper that represents them as an individual and from this, they create their dream bedroom.
However, during the task they are presented with a problem. They have the box and the wallpaper but not the items needed to furnish the room. So, via communication and problem solving together with their loved one the child looks at various recycled items provided to see if they can make items such as a bed from the piece of plastic, foam or card.
“They create a bedroom that represents them and it also gives the loved ones a real insight into the creative minds and imaginative world of every child,” said Mr Aguilera.
After this activity, the children will spend time in the playground with their loved ones, where there will be tea and biscuits. A large banner has also been placed there where children and their loved ones can take selfies.
The event will be held two more times this year this enables children who have parents that do not live together to bring each parent or even a grandparent or other family member who happens to be equally special to them as their parent might be.