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Community Links

Explore how to build strong links in the local community to support the children’s learning. There are a number of groups, teams and clubs in the school neighbourhood which would welcome the opportunity to share their knowledge skills with the children in your school.

Taking the class out into the local community will provide a new set of learning experiences that can develop the children’s personal, social and academic skills.

You can also invite different groups from the local community into the school for a range of different activities. Some groups could share their ideas in a whole school assembly. Other groups might want to participate in some after school clubs with the children. Widening the children’s understanding of the world can provide them with a range of opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in different subjects.

Places of Worship
The school neighbourhood is composed of many different religious groups and communities. By building links with churches, temples, synagogues and mosques you can broaden the children’s understanding of how people worship and practice religion in different ways. Taking the class to visit places of worship and meet religious leaders can strengthen their ideas about tolerance and respect for others. Preparation before any visit is key to its success. Spend time in an English lesson getting the children to devise questions to ask about a specific place of worship. You should also make sure that time is built in for review and discussion about the visit so that the children can share what they have found out about a particular religion and you can plug any gaps in understanding. It would also be a good idea to invite religious leaders from different communities into the school to further develop the children’s understanding of how they can work closely with others who might have a different faith so that everyone’s ideas are respected and tolerated.

Old People’s Homes
You can also build some strong links with a local old people’s home. The residents will welcome the opportunity to meet and work with the children in your class. It will benefit the class in allowing them to practice interacting with others from different generations. The visit can be integral to a history lesson where the children can visit and research life in the past with the residents in an old people’s home. Alternatively, the children could compose their own stories in an English lesson that they could then share with an older generation. You could also get the children to team up with one of the residents in working together to produce some artwork such as a still life drawing of some flowers or even a portrait of each other. Allowing the children to meet and work with people from different generations will strengthen their personal and social skills.

Sports Clubs
There are a number of clubs and teams in the local area who would welcome the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge about a particular sport. You should explore links with clubs and teams that participate in sports that the children have never experienced such as bowling or lacrosse. This will enable to class to develop their personal, social and physical skills working in a unfamiliar environment so that they are stretched and challenged. You could either visit the club or team where they participate in the sport or you could invite members of the club or team into the school to spend some time sharing their skills and knowledge with the class. Make sure that the club or team get the opportunity to inform the children how they can continue in the sport by joining their group as a thank you for their support to the school. This could lead to more sporting activities throughout the school year where the local clubs and teams get to develop the children’s skills in a specific sport by leading competitions as part of a school sport’s day.

Adopt an Area
Help the children understand the importance of caring for their local community be adopting an area in the school that can be developed and protected. With the council’s permission choose a location close to the school that is in a state of neglect. The children can then set about cleaning up the area by removing any litter or scrap materials. You should perform a full risk assessment of the selected area before getting the children to take action to ensure that it is a safe environment. Once the area has been cleaned and tidied the class can explore ways of improving the location by planting some new trees or plants. The children could also build murals and mosaics in an art and design lesson which can then be displayed in the adopted area. You can then use the location as an outdoor classroom where the children can experience learning opportunities in a different environment.

Pen Pals
Get the class to share their understanding and knowledge of the local community by writing to some other children who live in contrasting communities in the country. The children could prepare a scrapbook containing information about what makes the school neighbourhood special which can then be compiled into a book or interactive presentation to send to their pen pals in different parts of the country or even the world. The class will then be able to develop their understanding of how communities around the world are the same or different. You could even get the children to use technology to link with schools in other communities such as holding discussions on a closed forum or by using interacting over a web cam.

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