Schools Linking 2020-2021 will be different – it will be virtual and it will build on our existing learning about what works in connecting children to build their confidence in contact with others. It will support the return to schools. We believe we can create a sparky, enjoyable programme that is simultaneously, and very importantly, manageable for teachers.
Our vision for Schools Linking 2020-2021 includes:
- Building a sense of togetherness with other children;
- Creating shared learning adventures from within the classroom;
- Helping children recognise their feelings, promoting recovery and developing trust, empathy, awareness and respect for others;
- Providing opportunities to contribute to the wider community.
Using the questions Who am I? Who are we? Where do we live? and How do we all live together? the programme will enable a focus on well- being and sense of belonging in our home and school communities leading to reaching out to others in another school.
We are currently writing new programme resources and couldn’t be more grateful for the generosity of artists including Matt Goodfellow the Manchester based poet who has read his inspiring poem ‘Together’.
We are arranging the most exciting, digital, shared experiences- theatre pieces, storytelling, video calls, poetry readings, learning sign language together, virtual museum tours and the sharing of ideas through Philosophy for Children (P4C); we can’t wait to get started! Later in the year we will have further digital get-togethers across each linking district and across the entire linking network.
Many important aspects of the programme have always taken place from within the classroom and these will all continue; playing games, exploring the four questions, preparing and exchanging work between the classes, reflecting, discussing and enjoying receiving information about the other class. Virtual Teacher training by webinar will be new for us all but thanks to breakout rooms we are discovering that making time to meet and plan well is within reach. For Secondary Pupils ideas include ‘Shuttle Dialogue’ and Pupil Voice on Social Action are opening up new possibilities which have potential.
As an educational network we know the planning needed to make linking work for both schools and pupils. Linking is a flexible vehicle and the potential for connection and dialogue to aid recovery and deliver core curriculum that is enjoyable, age- appropriate and socially distanced. Linking 2020-2021 will be fully resourced. Schools may not be able to arrange visits for some time but children can connect with others they will otherwise not meet through this programme. We’ve always had a place for ‘within school’ linking where a school community needed to connect with one other and this model fit well where one class is separated into two socially distanced groups, in school at different times, and there would be the opportunity to join in with wider events.
We continue to offer a library of free home learning primary and secondary resources that aim to build hope and connection with others https://thelinkingnetwork.org.uk/home-learning-resources/You can see what’s new on Facebook and follow us on Twitter too.
Click here to find further information about joining a linking programme.