‘And there was this turtle, and it was like it was in a spa, and…’ As I strolled into a Science lesson a few weeks ago, the conversation about sea creatures massaging each other lurched to a halt. The class exchanged nervous looks and the odd giggle, but a brief conversation established that we were into Blue Planet II territory. If you haven’t seen the series, I implore you to do so generally, but it is the common octopus that specifically drew my attention this week. Caught in the open seas, with sharks eager to eat it, the BBC team discovered an octopus that pulled together shells and created a suit of armour to protect itself. As resourceful a solution as you are ever likely to see, I was able to introduce creativity as our second Lyonsdown Learning habit with David Attenborough’s words ringing in my ears.
Creativity – in my assembly on Monday, it was clear that the boys and girls knew plenty of examples of how to demonstrate this habit in English, Art and Drama. However, many were interested to discover that Maths, Science and PE all have elements that allow us to express ourselves. In fact, every subject has a creative element: as I explained, the great thing about philosophy is that there is no right answer, as long as you can explain your reasoning. The children’s ideas about creativity were fascinating, as we discussed what the contents of a closed box could be. ‘Chocolate’ was one popular suggestion, but when a Senior girl asked if we were thinking “outside the box”, the assembly became dangerously self-referential.
This is but one snapshot of the sort of conversations the teachers at Lyonsdown are privileged to be a part of every day. A Lyonsdown pupil is comfortable speaking to adults, their peers and children in other year groups. Not every child feels naturally comfortable putting their thoughts forward, but all have the opportunity to speak if they wish. Those who are reluctant are encouraged, reassured that anything they have to offer will be listened to.
As we move into Advent, and my non-chocolate calendar sits blank except for one chicken (other animals will appear in the coming days), we enter the final two weeks of term. As always, there will be plenty going on at Lyonsdown and opportunities to be creative, as well as independent and collaborative will be in abundance. I am sure the boys and girls will take such opportunities with both hands.