Young Changemakers create quiet space at school

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Six pupils from Stanion C of E Primary School in Kettering have received their ‘Ruby’ Changemaker School Award from the University of Northampton.

The Changemaker Student Team, who are all members of the school council, responded to pupils’ requests and created a ‘quiet’ area of the playground. The area, which has picnic benches and quiet activities and games, has proved popular with children of all areas playing it the space, so popular that the school are now looking to provide more benches.

The pupils knew that the resources for quiet play needed to be easily and quickly moveable, as break times are short, and things would need to be packed away quickly if the weather turned. When posed with this problem the team used their imagination and problem solving skills to come up with a solution – the quiet trolley was born.

The pupils wanted to make sure that children of all ages and ability would be able to play together, so the quiet play resources were specifically chosen by the Changemaker Student Team so they covered a wide range and levels of games, books and art activities.

Teacher Sarah Hankins said: “The changemaker Student Team wanted the trolley to be accessible to all and have something for everyone; an ethos of trust and responsibility was put into place. Pupils were allowed to help themselves to resources on the understanding that they were returned at the end of playtime. Regular inventories are carried out on the trolley and so far this trust has not been broken.”

“The area has been used extensively by all year groups at the school and the staff have noticed that the older pupils have been interacting with those younger than them, either by playing games together, helping with art activities or sharing stories. It’s been a lovely thing to see develop.”

“The school community have noticed that there has been a decrease in the sense of isolation that some pupils had felt previously at break time. The pupils and the Changemaker Student Team are proud of their accomplishments and this is clearly reflected in the treatment of the resources.”

Rowena Panter, Changemaker Hub Coordinator at the University of Northampton said: “This project has united the school community and increased empathy and understanding between older and younger pupils. This project has empowered the students to make a change within their own school community and has exposed them to the possibilities of making change further afield.”

The Changemaker Student Awards form part of the University’s commitment as an Askoka U Changemaker Campus to work with, celebrate and actively engage local schoolchildren in social change. The award aims to recognise, celebrate and build children’s skills as Changemakers through innovative self-designed projects in their schools and the wider community.

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