The latest Acts of Kindness event at the school was a whole school 'Happening day'. 'Happening' days are 'surprise' creative learning days for the students, usually planned and delivered by the school's resident artists, working in collaboration with the teaching staff. Each happening day is very different but these carefully planned days aim to be thought provoking days that are full of unexpected events that challenge and stimulate the imagination, encourage in depth explorations and develop creative thinking skills.The school's latest Happening day this term was inspired by the acts of kindness project and the idea of developing 'safe spaces' for those in need.
Children arrived in school to be presented by an unusual assembly. As they entered the hall, images of refugee situations around the world were being projected on a screen. As they watched this film, three characters entered into the hall, carrying their belongings with them in small suitcases or boxes. These characters watched the film silently alongside the audience and once the film finished, these 'lost' characters performed a story which showed two girls and their mother being forced to leave their home because 'Something has happened....'
Pupils were asked to imagine that the school was to become a 'safe space' and a place of refuge for these characters. It was their responsibility to reflect upon the needs that these 'lost people' have and how the school community can work together to look after them. Each character had a small suitcase with a few belongings within it and children were invited to look closely at what the artefacts and objects within the suitcases symbolised. The whole day was devoted to children having time to act upon their thoughts and reflections about care and kindness, putting into action their ideas of how to show kindness to people in vulnerable refugee situations. Children's ideas included making welcome banners, designing blankets of kindness, writing positive poems and lullabies about care and compassion, creating mini safe spaces and constructing larger scale dens, exploring kindness through movement, trust exercises and drama.
The day was a rich and moving exploration of the stories of displacement and refugee situations around the world, developing empathy with the 'lost people'. It was also an important reminder of how we all need a safe space to belong to and how we are all collectively responsible for caring for those who no longer have this safe space. As a school community we looked at how this care can be provided through even the smallest acts of kindness.