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As part of their Community Action Project Year 8 students at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School got into the festive spirit this week when they organised a special celebratory tea party for residents of Christian Head care home.
The event was due to be held at the school, however the poor weather on the day meant that plans had to be changed last minute and so the party was taken down to Christian Head.
The party was the culmination of a term long ‘Community Action’ project run as part of the new subject IVB- Issues, Values and Beliefs. During the project students have found out about the work of different community groups in the area and have discussed why such groups are important to the continued wellbeing and spirit of our local community. In their ICT lessons they also worked to create a leaflet and advertisements about the groups.
The active part of the project involved all Year 8 students going out into the community and visiting the residents of Christian Head, the residential home for elderly people, over a two week period. During the visits students and residents shared stories about their school days and childhood and got the opportunity to have a chat with one another.
After the visits students worked in small groups to make a ‘memory book’ for residents based on what they had found out during the visits. Joanne McGarr Citizenship and IVB teacher said: “The effort that students put in to this piece of work was superb and they made some very individual and personal books that were presented to residents during the afternoon.”
The whole event was planned and organised by the students themselves, which helped to develop their communication, team working and organisational skills. One Year 8 class made some festive decorations and banners. The also organised the entertainment, right down to the choice of Christmas songs ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ and ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’, which were belted out to a delighted audience who filled the large lounge at Christian Head. Music teacher Jayne Crow was able to bring her keyboard down to the care home where she supported students Megan and Bethany Capstick, Joanna Keetley and Megan Buckler who performed a beautiful rendition of Silent Night and Away in a Manger on keyboard and flute. Throughout the party a number of students also took responsibility for preparing and serving refreshments, mince pies and delicious scones made by Year 7 students during their food tech lessons.
The other Year 8 class used their ICT skills to design a ‘Virtual Tour’ of the school for the residents, with photos and video of the school and included some of the activities and visits that they have had the opportunity to take part in. Unfortunately they were unable to present the virtual tour to Christian Head residents due to the last minute change of venue. However it is hoped that they will get the opportunity to give their presentation after the New Year.
After the entertainment students had the opportunity to meet up and have a further festive chat with the residents and members of support staff when they handed out Memory Books and presents.
There was also an added cross curricular dimension to the project with the contribution made by Year 7 citizenship students who made Christmas cards, decorations and gifts for each resident at Christian Head. This work was undertaken as part of their ‘Individuals can make a Difference’ volunteering project.
Reviewing the project Citizenship and IVB teacher Joanne McGarr said “I have been delighted with how well the community action project has gone. I think it is very important for our students to get the opportunity to interact with older people within the local community as it helps to break down barriers on both sides and builds mutual respect and understanding across the generations. This understanding is vital if we are to have a cohesive society in the future where people from different ages and backgrounds interact and communicate with one another.”
Headteacher David Keetley said: “This is a fantastic cross curricular project. Staff and students have worked very hard in school but the main benefit has been developing these important links within our local community. Thank you to everyone who was involved in making the 2011 community action project a great success.”