I hope you had a great summer and enjoyed the wonderful weather either holidaying abroad or here in Wales. I'm not sure there was much difference to be honest. The months are quickly passing by, and the nights are drawing in far too quickly. Here's an update on what I (Arawn) am up to this term with the Welsh churches and schools in Flintshire.
I'll begin with the older youth - our Tuesday evening studies have relocated to Costa, Mold from 6-7 pm. We've been using the Alpha 'Big Questions of Life' resource, but have now moved on to the excellent resource 'Prodigal God' by Timothy Keller. It looks at the parable of the Prodigal Son over six short sessions, which raise a number of worthy questions from the Gospel of Luke.
The first six weeks of term have gone by in a flash! (says Wendy)
Our non-formal work in the high schools is going really well again this term. It's great to have two new placement workers involved in schools with us; Nicola helping with the Rock Solid nurture group in the Alun, and Steph who joins Nicola and I for Xplore, our drop-in sessions around the school. Xplore usually takes place in the Faith Garden, but on wet days we engage with pupils in their classes and in the hallways. We usually have a game going on, with reflective activities and space to 'Pause for Thought' too.
There's a hole in our hearts.... We're really missing our Interns Hannah and Ben who are now settling in to University. Wendy in particular is really lost without Hannah's brain to download to, and is amazed she hasn't lost all her props by now!
Hannah was our first full-time intern, and Ben worked with us for a day or two a week. We miss their ideas and energy, the banter in the office, studying the Word together and most of all their hard working servant hearts. Hannah's gone on to study Physics at Southampton and Ben is studying Theology at London School of Theology. Who knew they were such brainiacs? They hid it so well....*
Author: Wendy Swan
*this is a joke. Both interns dazzled us with their wit and intellect
We are invited guests in our local schools and must always work within the policies and procedures of those schools.
Anyone who listens to the news is most likely aware that the world of education is constantly changing. This can have an impact on our work, as we always work within the policies and procedures of the schools we support. Will RE be dropped from the curriculum? Will Collective Worship still be a requirement in all schools? What if my local school has to form a cluster with other schools and comes under the control of a Headteacher who does not support our work?
In my experience, schools place a high value on the support they receive from volunteers. The beginnings may be very small - one assembly to speak about Christmas or Easter from a Christian perspective, for instance. It's very important for any volunteer who hopes to develop their work in an educational setting to be professional in their approach from the very beginning. This includes personal appearance and attitude; relevant training to deliver high quality work and a good understanding and adherence to the policies and procedures of the educational setting.
One of our main reasons for being involved in local schools is to help fulfil the desire of local churches to support our local schools.
Volunteers in educational settings can offer support to schools in a variety of ways, the best place to start is to talk to local school leaders and discuss where the volunteers' skills, knowledge and training overlap with the needs of the school.
At Agathos we focus on offering our support within the Christian elements of the curriculum, including Religious Education and Collective Worship, as well as Pastoral Support. Examples of Pastoral work we undertake are
Open the Book assembly
There's a lot to learn when it comes to working in schools. Knowing the Bible and being passionate about sharing the gospel is a great place to start, but the more skills we can develop as educators, the better we can engage learners with the material we deliver, and the more likely they are to develop their own understanding of God's plan for His world and for them individually. Using a variety of teaching and learning approaches is vital for effective work to take place.
If you'd like to read about we're applying some of our learning in this area from the Enable BTEC course, read on below.......
(check our Internship Programme for more info on Enable...)
This week we have had Mim with us doing work experience, she has been a great asset to the team and has worked very hard! We have been doing a lesson called 'It's Your Move' with all of the Welsh schools we go into and many of the English. We do the lesson with the year 6's and discuss the transition from primary school to high school. Mim has been great helping with this, delivering these lessons both in the Welsh and English primary schools. She has been able to add some of her own experiences from her High school in and was telling us about how she still gets lost there, even though it's a small school and she has been there 4 years! She is great with kids and confident at leading. She has also been involved with our Open the book assemblies and has got very stuck in! (Hannah)
<<<<<<It's true isn't it?! I can't believe it! It's gone so fast! I now only have 3 days left! I've had a great year, but it seems to have flown by. I've now already had some of my last visits into a few of the schools. My enable coursework is just about all finished! Yay!! :D with our deadline in 2 weeks. Everything is starting to wind down ready for the summer holidays, although many of the schools still want us in for our usual assemblies on the last week, which is such a privilege! (Hannah)
This week I've been teaching Bible Explorer Lessons with Year 5 at Ysgol Glanrafon.
Hannah's latest craft, the fab Ark of the Covenant (left), was a huge hit. The lessons are really fast paced and energetic, moving through the key stories of the Old Testament and tracing the relationship between God and his people through all the ups and downs of stubborness, sin and forgiveness.
The children learn 77 handsigns and keywords over the 5 lessons, which really reinforce the learning. So much so, that a Year 10 pupil, working in school on his Work Experience week, could remember some of them from his lessons 5 years ago!
(written by Wendy)
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