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Autumn Term 2018
Update
Welcome to our Autumn update!

We now have even more resources available for some upcoming dates that may help with SMSC. You can find these in the links at the end.

Additionally, we have an article by The Big Think, a newly started programme aimed at teaching essential values within primary schools. Read on to find out more!
The Big Think is a new, empowering, personal development programme for Primary schools to improve the wellbeing of all children.

It follows a structured, experiential-learning approach using discussion, debate, storytelling, quiet reflection, singing and journaling.  The programme builds on each school’s core values and is ideal for integrating SMSC, British Values, PSHE, Citizenship and Relationships Education schemes of work.

The 44 learning modules are delivered in whole-school assemblies with age-appropriate (KS1 and KS2) follow up in classrooms. Every session nurtures personal qualities as well as growth mindsets and fosters the development of each child’s own values. 

Often teachers can feel frustrated trying to find a healthy balance between driving results, while sensitively tending to children’s physical, mental, emotional and social needs. The Big Think is a comprehensive, cross-curricular programme designed to support both teachers and children in addressing such challenges and promotes life-long wellbeing for all.


The Big Think programme components

Each assembly and lesson is based around The Big Story – a story that allows children to think creatively by walking in the shoes of a fictional character to experience a range of feelings, thoughts and possible responses to dilemmas that they can then apply in their own lives.  The Big Questions prompted by the story, encourage the children to consider others’ viewpoints and think independently. 
  • A session begins with Silent Sitting, a short visualisation to still children’s minds and allow them to focus.
  • The Big Talk follows through a Values Inquiry which uses real life decision-making and encourages each child to speak their mind, then clarify and justify their thoughts.
  • To deepen learning, they reflect on their own lives while writing in their My Big Think Journal.
  • Finally, The Big Sing brings the children altogether to have fun and express themselves through song.

The Big Think’s Journey So Far
 
The Big Think Pilot ran at North Harringay Primary School in north London  and was a BIG learning curve, but very successful.  Together, we linked the school’s values with The Big Think’s universal values (Truth, Love, Peace, Right Action and Non-Violence) to ensure continuity and clarity for the children.
Watch this short film to see what the children thought about the programme. Parents are equally enthusiastic about what the programme offers.
The Big Think will be officially launched in Autumn 2018.  You can download from the webpage (the-big-think.org) a sample lesson kit on Tolerance.
Some food for thought...
A place for fiction?

Children's-book lovers are currently celebrating David Walliams' 10th anniversary as a bestselling children's author. His novels are known for being comedic and enthralling, whilst also incorporating real life moral and ethical choices such as cross-dressing (The Boy in the Dress, 2008), greed and wealth (Billionaire Boy, 2010) and even theft and robbery (Gangsta Granny, 2011; Bad Dad, 2017). Similarly, looking ahead to September 13th, Road Dahl Day celebrates the life of another famous children's author, a day reflecting Dahl's charitable and amiable nature that also captures his passion to inspire and educate children.

In light of this, it is perhaps poignant to contemplate the role of the books, novels and other forms of literature that today's children read since it is from this that many learn of cultures outside of their own. Novels can also help to expand a child's understanding of moral dilemmas, demonstrating the wise and unwise decisions they can make in life, as well as providing them with motivational messages.

In what ways can we focus our attention on the SMSC values within children's books and literature? How can we use narratives and storytelling to demonstrate SMSC within schools? What other forms of media are children being exposed to and can these also be used within education to teach children how to respect other cultures and beliefs, and to respond to social issues with care and compassion?

Whether real stories or not, the role of narrative has a wide application...
  • Spiritual values can be explored through Biblical stories and prayer books. See http://www.lionhudson.com/ for a wide range of Christian children's books
  • As mentioned, many social dilemmas and moral decisions are encountered by characters in children's books by authors like Walliams and Dahl. Perhaps we can encourage students to discuss and evaluate what they have read or watched in greater depth.
Wider research and discussion on the topic of linking literature with SMSC:

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
The Twits (Roald Dahl, 1980)

Dates and Links

September
8th: International Literacy Day
13th: Roald Dahl Day
14th-17th: Great British Beach Clean
14th: National Teaching Assistants' Day
16th: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
16th-22nd: European Mobility Week
18th-19th: Yom Kippur (Jewish)
21st: International Day of Peace

26th: European Day of Languages
28th-30th: National Prayer Weekend (Christian)
28th: Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning (teaching resource here)


October
Black History Month, Spinnaker resource / Tes resource
1st: International Day of Older Persons
1st-7th: Dyslexia Awareness Week
5th: World Teachers' Day
5th: Harvest Festival (Christian)
6th: World Cebral Palsy Day
7th-13th: Fire Prevention Week
16th: World Food Day
17th: National Heroes Day
23rd-30th: Sukkot (Jewish festival)


November
Children in Need, Appeal Show this month
1st: All Saints' Day (Christian)
5th: Guy Fawkes Night
7th: Diwali, Tes resources here (Hindu)
11th: Armistice Day
13th: Kindness Day
12th-16th: Anti-Bullying Week
19th-25th: Road Safety Week
30th: St Andrew's Day (Christian)


December
1st: World AIDS Day
2nd: Hanukkah (Jewish)
2nd: International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (useful resource here)
3rd: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
5th: World Soil Day
7th: Christmas Jumper Day
10th: Human RIghts Day
25th: Christmas (Christian)
Other useful for links for SMSC information
https://spinnaker.org.uk/smsc
http://www.doingsmsc.org.uk/
https://www.youngcitizens.org/
http://www.cstg.org.uk/2014/02/smsc-provision/
https://www.thoughtboxeducation.com/
http://thelinkingnetwork.org.uk/
https://www.smscqualitymark.org.uk/
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