Alternative Activities to Harness Skills and Encourage Self-Reflection | King's College Taunton

Alternative Activities to Harness Skills and Encourage Self-Reflection

On Saturday, our Equestrian Team came sixth in the Jumping with Style at @Keysoe Riding Club! Well done Dandi P, Ti… - yesterday

In the penultimate week of term we facilitated and witnessed an exciting physical and psychological journey in our Fourth Form pupils. Led by a team of Lower Sixth pupils and staff, they set about developing three areas of the school which were in much need of renovation and re-development. As a final activity, pupils were asked to design a memory box and time capsule for Covid, allowing time to reflect on their own personal journey and to bring some sense of understanding to these last 18 months.

The wet weather on Monday created the opportunity for the reflection boxes to be completed in one day and with the sun shining for the rest of the week, we then headed outdoors.

Our Mini Farm makeover required the pupils to build a new eco pond, bring some colour to the swing benches and seating areas, build a fire pit and seating area, and to update the St Francis’ chapel in the garden. The school chickens received a clean coop and seemed to enjoy having some friendly faces around all week.

The Eco Hut took on a brilliant transformation where pupils treated and preserved the exterior and brightened up the space with a new mural for the outer walls. The pupils set about cutting back the overgrown areas and also coppicing the woodland area. On the final day the hazel branches were used to build furniture.

Our final space, the Memorial Garden, received an uplift of colour in sage, slate and blackcurrant hues. The eight benches, previously donated by students, staff and their families, were treated to a sand down and several coats of paint. The brass name plates were polished and the seating area outside Taylor House also received a makeover with the left-over paint. The large decking area was treated with a new coat of wood preserver and planters were placed at the entrance, packed with herbs and bee-friendly plants.

Whilst useful in their own right, the activities were about much more than physical skills. For many months we have been carefully considering what pupils need to experience beyond the classroom. A King’s education is about much more than academic grades or a certificate, and with employers becoming more and more interested in soft skills, it was decided that Activities Week for our Fourth Form should move away from the classroom into a week of community, connections and reflection.

Embedded within the programme, we gave a ‘why are we doing this?’ session focusing on soft skills in depth and, through a programme developed alongside Captain King, the pupils will be logging their experiences and learning to recognise which soft skills they have developed strengths in and which areas still need development.

The week was dotted with breakfast pastries, rounders, ice-creams, awards ceremonies, BBQs, amphitheatre connection games and, the finale, our charity colour run. Raising money for South West Children’s Hospice and Sporting Minds, our Lower Sixth leaders independently set up a fantastic event on Friday afternoon. There was great deal to organise and they did a fantastic job. There was music, a sweets and refreshments stand, warm ups and plenty of brightly coloured paint – the perfect way to end the week.

The aims of the week were more than met and, looking to next year, we hope the idea can reach out beyond the school site.

Thank you to our Lower Sixth leaders for their film-making, photography and journalism over the week. We would like to offer a special mention the following pupils who were nominated by the staff who worked alongside them:

  • Claudia Reda
  • Charlotte Taysom
  • Rosie Taysom
  • Matthew Phelps
  • Christine Roda
  • Charlie Disney
  • Carlotta Fesch
  • Alex Cunningham
  • Lucie Baker
  • Ben Davies
  • Abbie Stride
  • Manal Abass
  • Harry Bishop

Fourth Form Awards went to:

  • Daniela Hustard
  • Hettie Chippendale
  • Jack Wadsworth
  • Archie Hunter
  • Chaplin Chow (pupils of the week)
  • Alyshia Venning
  • Declan Tuohy
  • Lexie Wallace
  • Charlie Spencer
  • Jenny Li
  • Laure Landais
  • Lilly Anne Hodgskin
  • Lenny Paris
  • Jacob Mitchell
  • Maddie Brake
  • Freya Schmidt
  • Reef Simpson
  • Ptolemy Myers
  • Nell Woodgate Jones

Finally, a huge thanks to our staff, who actively engaged and supported the week, in particular, our catering and gardening teams, Mr Lang, Father Mark and the DT Team; Mr Grindle, Mr Friend and Mr Taylor. It was a time for us all to show our own soft skills in initiative, positive-thinking and teamwork.

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