Igniting children’s interest in learning is one of our key missions here at Wandsworth Prep. Igniting a child’s curiosity is imperative if we want them to take control of their learning. But you can’t ignite all children in the same way. What makes children wonderful is that they’re unique and each child is switched onto learning in different ways. It’s our job as educators to find the switch that will engage every child.
I do love the first week of October in the school year as National Poetry Day always falls within it. We have a tradition here where one classroom is transformed into a Poetry Cafe. We could, of course, just visit a cafe and perform poetry there but that’s not the point. I love to watch the children’s faces sparkle as they peer into a usual classroom and see it transformed into something twinkling and magical. It’s their very own Poetry Cafe - inside their very own school. Changing a physical space and giving children purpose for their learning inside that space is just one way to ignite a child’s interest in their learning.
Children work hard to compose a poem around a theme, knowing they have a voice and knowing that their effort is valued by the work the teachers do to create a space that makes it meaningful. I particularly like the fact that the charm of the Poetry Cafe hasn’t diminished over the years...to see a new Reception child delight in the wonder of the room at the same time as a Year 6 child feeling sentimental about their last performance there.
This is our year of partnerships and within this, we want to bring experts and inspirational voices from all walks of life into our school. A surprise visit from Tomos Roberts, poet of ‘The Great Realisation’, caused a hubbub of its own around the school this week. The children had read his poem, some even studied it in lockdown, and their excitement at his virtual visit was so present on their faces. His message for writing poetry was clear...spend time thinking before you write, explore what it is you want to say and then the words will come. Tom definitely ignited a love of words and possibility...of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. Just look at the faces below staring up at Tom ...they’re ready to give it a go!