Monday, 27 February 2012

2012 Term 1 Week 4 - beanbag assembly!

This week has to be the week of the beanbags!
Our students have enjoyed trying out the different furniture we have in the studios and are getting to know what works best for them in different learning situations. The use the wobbly stools, the high chairs, the spinning stools or sit on the floor while engaged in learning.
And then the beanbags arrived!
Our beanbags had been delayed because we had specially requested that they were made of a certain fabric that was waterproof yet soft to sit on, robust enough for outdoors but still pliable and, of course, matched the colour scheme. They arrived on Thursday and it was just delightful to see the kids faces as we called them over to the office to collect their new bean bags. They were over the moon to have this new piece of furniture in their studios!
Luckily we have a great ratio of children to beanbags so everyone was able to squeeze onto one that afternoon and have a go. They were a real hit!
The next morning we had assembly in Studio 3. The Studio 2 children brought their beanbags over and lined them up with Studio 3's and then they all squeezed on to settle down for assembly. Not the traditional assembly furniture, nor the crossed legs and folded arms we are used to in school assemblies but the children were relaxed, engaged, and attentive throughout. We were amazed at the lack of wriggling during the presentations - and we all know how noisy beanbags can be when children wriggle on them!
So, that raised some interesting discussion amongst the teachers as to why we make children sit boy/girl/boy/girl and in rows with legs and arms folded to ensure they are paying attention in assembly? Is it a numbers game where we need to squeeze lots of children into small spaces to all get the same message, or is it something else?
We are lucky with our ratios of teachers, spaces, students and furniture - we know that. And many of us have come from huge schools where the logistics of moving hundreds of students has been a reality. But we are wondering how long we can resist the urge to insist on everyone sitting the same way in rows? Will it depend on norms of behaviour, numbers, expectations, a combination of all of them? It will be interesting to see how we go as our numbers increase.
But while we are small we will continue to try new things.
So … while some people have beanbag cinemas - we will have beanbag assemblies!

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