“There is a greater sense of equality.” Graeme (Educator)

During the third week of the second year, the educators presented the children with ‘an empty room except for four white suitcases’ which each contained a brief description of an activity. The children could choose which they wanted to pursue.

“Possibly my best day in teaching and the one that felt least like teaching. However, in the evening, I was surprised to find myself feeling a bit dissatisfied with the way things were going, It still felt as though we were turning up each day with parcels of fun . We were still leading and weren’t yet following their fascinations. I mentioned this at the reflection meeting I think it’s about who owns the learning? What’s the balance? … It’s like the gates have been thrown open, that they [the children] recognise something … that we’re explicitly changing it.” Graeme (Educator)


How could they give the children permission to take the lead.

“Matt and I were thinking of turning up with four empty suitcases, and see what they do. I’d like to ask them why they think they are here.” Graeme (Educator)

“We all decided that it felt like the right time to experiment with giving the students complete control over their learning. We decided to structure the Friday around prompting the children to reflect on their experience so far and then to dream up their own projects/activities/lessons. The children were able to offer a very valuable insight into their experience and when asked challenging questions about the egg project, showed a real understanding of what it was all about. 
For me this was one of my favourite days so far. We had designed a rough outline that evolved and changed as we went through it. This meant we were really open to responding to the children’s ideas. The children seemed to warm up into their role of creating projects as the day progressed. The classroom was a busy hub of activities with the children all really engaged and motivated. I was struck with how rich their ideas were. Their ideas could easily be integrated to cover all aspects of the curriculum. It seems like a great way of collaboratively planning to include the children’s interests and likes, and a process I would be keen to use again.” Matt (Trainee Educator)