We all need to feel part of something bigger than we are. Working together. Collaborating for a common aim. Laughing. Playing. Eating. Sharing space, time and purpose to make our lives and the lives of all those around us better has been part of what makes us human since before we became humans. This is what September is all about.
What the children say
What the research says
There is extensive evidence that connected and empowered communities are healthy communities. Communities that are involved in decision-making, supportive and where neighbours look out for each other, all have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
A guide to community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing, Public Health England (2015)
Start them thinking
Communities are formed by getting married and having children" - Matthew, age 9.
"My neighbours talk to us a lot, they’re very annoying to Mum and Dad." - Shifa, age 7.
What we say
What does the word 'community' mean to you?
How many people do you need to create a community?
Can you not be part of a community?
Are animals part of a community? What about trees?
Can you be part of a community without knowing it?
Feeling we are part of a community nurtures, supports, protects and sustains us in a way nothing else can. What’s more, it is wonderfully symbiotic. The more we support and sustain others, the more we are supported and sustained ourselves.
Find out about the youngest and the oldest members of the school community.
Identify and interview key community members and invite them to school.
Do a 'community audit' and find out how many communities children belong to.
Identify what being 'community minded' is and how to promote it.
What You've Been Up To So Far:
"We have used this first month to introduce the year. All classes have had some community topics going on. The year 5 have created community display boards that they have added lots of information to. Reception have been learning more about the school community since they joined in September. Year 4 have thought about all the different communities they are involved in and the personal qualities that they bring to each community. We have attended different assemblies throughout the school including faith prayers and 'house' assemblies strengthening our links within our school community."
"I delivered whole school training throughout the month with a focus on happiness and wellbeing to help create a happier team in school and also to help them create more happiness at home with their families, friends and wider community."
"We also celebrated International Day of Peace on 21st and crashed our curriculum for the day doing fun activities such as learning about John Lennon, circle times about bullying and being kind to others, mindfulness meditations about creating peace within, creating word collages about what peace means to us and discussing and appreciating all the wonderful things that make our world a peaceful place to live. We concluded the day with a shared discussion with the children ways we can create a more peaceful, school, local community and world."
So here's a quick summary of community-related activities we enjoyed at our nursery - Put up a display for parents, staff and children with pictures and provocations on the theme of community; picked blackberries from a nearby hedgerow to make black velvet cupcakes for a cake stall in aid of Meningitis Awareness Week (we were approached by an ex-parent about taking part in this event). Families also donated cakes, bought things from the stall and we gave out information about the symptoms of meningitis. Walking into our local village, planting bulbs outside the village hall and putting herbs into a 'gabion' fence there. We celebrated International Literacy Day by watching a video about a library book bus in Zambia. Preschoolers also visited the baby room to read books to them, and we held a book swap at which families could exchange books for free.
We have also made a connection with a Charitable Trust who are managing a local historic building - a Tudor tithe barn. We are visiting the barn next week, and are looking forward to another interesting strand to our community focus. Thanks for having us in the project - we are enjoying it a lot!
We have had assemblies on community, collected donations for our local food bank and taken part in a languages day.
This theme was launched by Nina Jackson who visited our school to lead pupil workshops on ways to develop positive mental wealth. She led assemblies on happiness using the theme of 'Only One You'. Nina worked with Years 2-6 using a range of Art and IT based activities to develop the idea of how to create a 'Happy ME' as well as a 'Happy ME to Help Others' in our community.
Children were invited to continue their work on the theme of community as voluntary homework, which they shared within their classes.
We have just introduced Jigsaw, our new PSHE scheme. The theme of Community linked well and extended the children's learning throughout the 'Being Me in My World' unit.
Flourish is a community garden where each week we have a group going there top work in the community garden - our work with the community