Issue date: 13 December 2002

18 December 2002 University of the West of England

Schoolchildren from Millpond Primary School in Easton have been invited to play in the ‘street’ at the University of the West of England on 18 December.

The New Redland Building, which houses the Faculty of Education at UWE, is designed around a central walkway that runs the length of the building, nicknamed ‘the street.’ Trainee teachers on the Post graduate early years course will engage the children in a range of activities around the theme of ‘ Myself in the Wider World.’

The children will be the youngest to have visited the Faculty since the move to the Frenchay campus in September 2001.

Liz Newman, Post-graduate award leader, said, “We regularly invite groups of school children to the Faculty of Education and we are particularly excited at the prospect of using ‘the street’ as a location for learning and teaching.

Helen Butcher and Penelope Harnett, both members of the early years unit, within the Faculty are preparing a brief for the students to make provision for children’s play to help enrich their understanding of themselves and the wider world. The children will make ‘special places’ using large cardboard boxes donated by a local company and materials presented by the students.

Dr. Penelope Harnett, Principal Lecturer in Education noted, “ We are going to hand as much responsibility for supporting stimulating, observing, recording and joining in with children’s play as possible. The tutors will give them some suggestions, for example they might present the resources and artefacts as a market stall and invite the children to select and arrange the items they think would make their box special. Children are likely to be involved in design activities, art work, making choices and negotiating.”

Helen Butcher, Senior Lecturer Early Years Unit co-ordinator, added, “The children will have an idea of what they will be doing during the morning. Students will communicate with the children by e-mail telling them what the faculty looks like, who they will meet and what they will do.”

“The students have spent 5 weeks working with children in school this term and it will be interesting for some of the children to come and see where the students go to learn when they are not in school. Not only will the morning add to the range of opportunities students have to work with children it will also meet a university objective to connect with the local community. Hopefully some of these children will look back, as adults, and say, ”Yes, that was the day I decided I wanted to go to university.”

Peter Jackson, Headteacher of Millpond School, says he welcomes the opportunity for his pupils to broaden their horizons, “Very often it is the older children who have the chance to get out and about but this is a wonderful opportunity for our youngest children to engage with the wider world. Millpond is a school which is constantly striving to deliver better quality education for all its children including the youngest. This year we have made a number of successful links with outside bodies and in particular our link with UWE is especially close. This is a chance to strengthen those links further and make the most of what a quality institution like UWE has to offer to our schoolchildren.”

The Early Years Unit are responsible for the specialist study of children’s learning aged 3-8 within the Faculty of Education. Currently there are 250 enrolled across under-graduate and post-graduate programmes. “The impact and significance of extending the students’ knowledge about young children is a major strand of the Faculties work,” commented Dr. Richard Eke, Head of the Early Years and Primary School. “We are always keen to promote exchanges between the Faculty and our partnership schools and especially delighted to extend an invitation to the youngest members of the school community.”


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