This was the penultimate session with the girls, coming towards the end of the program. As the time has passed I’ve seen the Mentor’s Booklet in various ways. Sometimes like a helpful friend, sometimes the source of a riddle to be seen if the girls can decipher. The theme for this session was citizenship, mapping out what it takes to be a good citizen. This week they created a map of their ideal school and then we discussed attributes of an ideal citizen.
We split the girls into three groups to work together. One challenge of working with the girls without knowing them very well has been their propensity to cluster into friendship groups when asked to work together. This can mean they don’t always hear fresh ideas on a subject. As Sarah told them, “everyone in this group is great so you’re going to enjoy working with whoever you are with”! We gave them structure by splitting them into groups and then everyone began working on their maps of their ideal school.
“An ideal school should have strict rules so that people can learn in peace!” This was an interesting theme of one group’s ideas about their school environment. There’s also a community theme in some of their ideas, such as key stage two and one to be able to play together in the same playground, which then naturally leads to needing bigger playgrounds!
It became clear that teachers are a really integral part of the school, but they are not the only aspect that is important with the variety of activities being stressed by the group above. They included a workshop room specifically created for drumming.
All the girls included the Rainbow Room where special educational needs are met, showing an awareness of different needs of pupils. For example one girl mentioned autism and how her friend was using the Rainbow Room to learn. Each group presented back to the class their ideas of an ideal school and showed us their posters.
The next activity was to remain in their groups and talk about how they contribute to the class. Are they the kind of people they want in their ideal school/class? In discussing attributes of the ideal citizen they came up with: listening, trust, reliable, learning, kind, honest, helpful and rules! They then thought of two ways they can make a positive contribution to class over the next week. Examples of this were being welcoming to any new students who start at the school, and listening rather than talking in the classroom.
It’s been an a really affirming experience getting to know the girls and their mums. Next week it is the graduation session where they have a ceremony and a chance to feel pride in their achievements as part of the program.