Feb 21, 2022
Robert Kyle, teacher and global learning lead at Ashfield Junior School in Workington, shares with us his reflections on creating the Singing Tree mural.
For the past 3 years we have started our school year with a whole school project to welcome the children back after their summer break. Each project has a theme and this year our theme was ‘Community’. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to link with CDEC and Gabi to work together as a school community to produce our Ashfield Singing Tree of Abundance.
We knew that we were going to face challenges as we continued to deal with the pandemic. We knew that we would need to be flexible and that working together was going to be absolutely vital. We were unsure what was going to come from the project and some of us found it difficult not knowing what the end product was going to be like. It was clear though that we needed to listen to the voices of our school community and hear what was said.
For the children and staff, the process of using art as a tool for self-expression and reflection aided the healing process and as we tried to find familiar routines the Singing Tree project guided us all. This year continues to bring unique challenges and difficulties and the healing process will need to continue for some time to come.
Gabi was brilliant at facilitating this for us and guiding our Core Team of pupils and staff as they discussed their feelings, hopes and worries. The theme of Abundance came from their group discussions about what was important to them. Family, nature, animals and friends were the topics that the children wanted to talk about the most. It was clear how grateful they were for these things in their lives but also how concerned they were about the future following on from the impact of the pandemic and issues such as climate change.
As the mural developed we decided to change the way we sat in the hall for our weekly celebration assemblies. We now sit facing the back of the room so that the Singing Tree is visible for all of us. We refer to the tree and its protection when we are thinking about working together, our community and how we need to look after each other. We refer to our bubbles and leaves, reminding ourselves what makes us special and what we can offer to our school.
Our hall has now become a hub for celebrating our communities- school, local and global and our part in all of them. Our displays centre around these themes and link back to our Tree. As a school we really struggled with having to be apart from each other. We really missed those daily opportunities to come together in the hall as a ‘family’. The Singing Tree really reminded us of the importance of our community and the feeling of protection that it brings. Now when we are in the hall it provides us with a real focal point to help us come together and heal our worries and concerns.
We cannot wait to be able to share this wider with our parents, grandparents and members or our local community when the time is right. We feel that our Singing Tree will enable more voices to be heard and more stories to be told, knowing that we are now part of a wider ‘Global’ network.
Check out our photos...
And the finished result...