Afternoon Workshops | Home-ed support
A group of parents have set up a programme of workshops and activities that will be run by artists and practitioners across the week between 13:30 - 15:00, Monday to Friday. These workshops will be attended by children from the Canterbury New School Initiative and will also be open to the wider community of home schooled children between the ages of 6-10. If there is demand for workshops for older children we will also look at expanding this programme.
These workshops are run by artists, musicians and practitioners. They are structured sessions consisting of either two x 45 minute workshops or one of 1.5 hours. Activities will be developed over the course of the term (craft activities will take a term to complete and stories will unfold across this time frame too) so we do ask that children sign up for a whole term for either one, two, three, four or five afternoons. Meeting the same group each week will also support the children to make stronger relationships with each other and form lasting friendships.
Fees for Afternoon Activities
The fee per afternoon (1.5 hour session) is £15 and we ask that parents sign up for a whole term (10-12 weeks).
How to sign up for Afternoon Activities
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Your child's name and age
- What days you would like your child to attend
- The date you would like your child to begin
- Confirm that you are happy to sign up for a term (approx 10 weeks)
Music followed by Landwork
Handwork followed by Storytelling
Forest School Activities
Handwork followed by Storytelling
“If you can walk you can dance, and if you can talk you can sing”
In 2016 a study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that exposure to music from early childhood onwards helps children to speak more clearly, develops a larger vocabulary, strengthens social and emotional skills and helps the body and the mind work together. In addition to the developmental benefits, it provides us with joy.
The children will sing songs about nature and the seasons and will enjoy movement and song games that will give them a strong understanding of rhythm and rhyme. They will also learn to play the pentatonic flute. Learning to play music precedes learning to read music just as in human development learning to speak always precedes learning to read and write. With this in mind, children during these workshops will learn to play beautiful music by memory and ear rather than focusing on learning to read music.
Through gardening and Landwork children take part in practical experiences that demonstrate how we as human beings, draw our daily sustenance from the earth, and therefore have responsibilities toward the environment both for our sake and for the well-being of others. Through these workshops we encourage a sense of wonder that then awakens this sense of responsibility, which ripens into love for the world around us.
The children take great pride in participating in the production of the food they eat. From plotting and planning, from seeds to seedlings and from planting to harvest, the students weed, water, and tend to vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits. They love caring for the wildlife and enjoy harvesting and learning to prepare what they have grown. They even get to prepare and eat it! Coming full circle, scraps from meals are composted, and children use that compost to renew the topsoil of the gardens.
Gardening gives children an opportunity to temporarily escape the fast-paced world of human society and to slow down and relax, taking the time to notice the details of nature and to use all five senses to experience the world more deeply.
“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul”— Alfred Austin
Many handwork skills are integral to various cultures around the world. In our modern society, many of us often see handwork, but we no longer always realise what it is or how it happens. Any item of clothing you buy was probably sewn by someone on a sewing machine yet how many children are even aware of what a sewing machine looks like nowadays?
One of the first handwork activities that is introduced in our workshops is knitting. Each child learns to knit a simple potholder or a scarf for his/her doll and once the basic techniques of knitting is accomplished they are shown how to knit a simple animal form, which is then stitched, together and stuffed with wool to give it form. By knitting we introduce the child to mechanism, we work with the child’s ability to be in control of the movement of their fingers and we train the power of attention (stitches are easily dropped). Children are given a sense of the whole process from helping to make a wooden drop spindle using it to use it to spin, to making their own knitting needles.
Once children can knit they are taught to crochet and this is done through making a small bag or ball. In this activity the right hand is engaged differently from that of knitting and the children learns to use each limb independently of the other. Felting is also a wonderful activity that the children get to experience.
In these Handwork sessions children acquire a sense of how to create things that not only look beautiful, but that also have a functional purpose. Activities such as knitting or crocheting also involve using both sides of the brain. Other skills reinforced by handwork are as basic as eye tracking (supporting their ability to read) and numeracy. Number skills are essential to all types of handwork—knitting, crocheting, sewing, cross stitch. How many stitches did you cast on? Did you lose any? How far apart are your running stitches?
Handwork also instils a sense of value and concern for the environment. If you can sew a hole in your jeans or replace a button on an article of clothing, those items can continue to have use. So often our society tends towards the disposable gesture. Instead of throwing something out, we can repair it and continue to use it. In addition, we use natural materials such as wool, cotton, linen, silk, which are beautiful to work with and are renewable resources.
In a climate where children spend more and more time in front of televisions, computers, and video games, storytelling’s educational impact is augmented as never before. Rather than passively receiving images when children listen to stories their imaginations are enriched and stimulated.
Young children are developmentally wired to love language, and storytelling encourages this expansive love of words and the desire to “try out” new language. The language and literary elements of storytelling are not its only merits, however. Through stories, children learn about the cultural values of their society and gain an appreciation of other cultures as well. As our world grows smaller, telling stories from around the globe fosters understanding of other people and places. The folk stories and fairy tales of other cultures teach children to embrace the uniqueness of different societies. At the same time, the commonalities among the different stories highlight the deep connections all cultures share.
Many of the types of stories we choose to tell can help children deal with their own fears, challenges, and difficulties. Stories reach children on a very deep level and help them bridge the confusing dimensions of the world. Good and evil, fear and courage, wisdom and folly, fortune and misfortune, cruelty and kindness are personified. Through fairy tales, children can integrate these elements of our world into their own, and may be better able to deal with such trials and tribulations themselves.
During these Storytelling sessions the children will also have the opportunity to draw from the stories that are told.
Sport and games are an important part of life any child’s life and education. During this Games afternoon children are given the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of different activities, developing poise and balance, individual skills and the value of team work.
“Carrots and Rabbits”, “Storm the Castle” and the Dodging the Dragon skipping game make up some of the social, energetic and imaginative games that children enjoy. Creative jungle gyms during which all the equipment becomes things in nature: rocks behind waterfalls, crocodiles in rivers, swamps and lagoons. Children become the adventurers travelling with their friends through the jungle.
Forest School Afternoon
Children are carried along by the rhythms of the world in which they live, from the breathing, waking and sleeping of their own bodies, to the yearly cycles of the seasons and stars. Children thrive when their daily activities are arranged to reflect this natural order in life.
Each Friday afternoon our children go on a woodland or nature walk during which they collect seasonal treasures, take part in woodland activities and gain a wonderful understanding of the rhythmical experience of the year. They may gather beautiful leaves for a leaf rubbing activity gather stems for weaving or make camps to play in. Each week wood needs to be collected, stacked and dried and a fire made to heat a warm drink and snack.
The natural environment provides varied and nourishing opportunities for self-education, physical skills and sensory integration and is essential for holistic child development.