We began our project with a friendly greeting, an open introductory session with Bramley Fulfilling Lives. The adults were thrilled to begin with music, with various participants getting off their seats to have a dance! A few days later we also introduced ourselves to the wonderful year 6 children at Bramley Primary School. At the start of the session, the children were encouraged to introduce the person sat next to them along with a fact or personality trait. The children picked positive words such as ‘very clever’, ‘a good listener’ and ‘my best friend’. Both groups were wonderfully welcoming and Kim and I were excited to get started with our first workshop at the centre!
Workshop 1 – Landscapes
Our project theme this year is ‘The Great Outdoors’ and to introduce the theme we decided to begin with a landscape story. Travelling through the town, into a field with tall grass, through a muddy farmers plot and finally climbing up a tall mountain. The adults warmed up their bodies through action and movement to the tale, following the various landscapes.
To get to know each other a little better, we introduced the game ‘The Sunshine’s On’. Participants express a fact about themselves and the rest of the group move seats if they have that fact in common – causing frantic movement across the circle! We then introduced travelling in different ways, using pace, weight, dance and patterns.
We closed the session by taking a stroll through the various landscapes. We created a long walkway, for the adults to enjoying travelling through. We moved in pairs and small groups, with the rest of the group cheering them on. Gareth waded through the field of tall grass whilst Andrew and Kim enjoyed trudging through the farmers plot!
Bramley Primary School – Shoes
This school workshop started with a film, our way of introducing the children to the adults at Bramley Fulfilling Lives. The children enjoyed recapping their names and interests, and asked many questions about the adults and the centre itself – with lots of curiosity and enthusiasm!
We moved swiftly onto our workshop, following character journeys using various shoes of different styles. The children were very performative, creating their own individual walks in movement games and group still images in a park scene. The children asked about the visit to the centre and anticipated their first meeting!
Workshop 2 – Weather
The adults gathered together to explore weather movements using feathers and actions, from weaving and zigzag movements, to gentle sways and circles. We moved onto full body movements with a vibrant umbrella covered in sparkly lights and rainbow colours. Carl was the first to jump up, dancing and moving around the circle to perform for the audience! The rest of the group were keen to join in and dipped under the brolly for their turn in the limelight.
Next we created a huge thunderstorm. The adults were given a range of instruments and we played a conductor game – allowing our storm to grow in size and volume! The adults took turns in becoming the conductor, Dede smiled and stretched his arms upwards enjoying the affects of his actions.
During our break, we spent some time watching a short film from the children. The adults watched intently, with many participants anticipating their arrival! Jackie was particularly interested and asked to watch the film over and over again!
We finished our weather session with a raindrop, following its journey across a desert. We gently passed the ball around the circle and bounced it over sparkly fabrics and cloth. To close, the adults took part in a wonderful breathing exercise. David found great joy in breathing deeply whilst balancing the feather on his arms and legs.
Workshop 3 – Journeys and the first visit from Bramley Primary School
This exciting session was our first joint encounter with the children, we enjoyed many moments building new connections and interactions. We started with a familiar game – The Sunshine’s On, which was articulately explained by two of the children. With lots of laughter and energy we quickly got to know each other!
Next, we hopped onto a train to share a group action story. Creating theatrical gestures to a train journey, following a character travelling through the countryside. We started by looking at his backpack, and the snacks he might need on the trip. Nicolas – one of the children, suggested a snickers bar. This was quickly followed by Carl’s contribution with an apple as he was keen to offer a healthy option too!
After we had completed the tale we divided into two groups. The first drawing journeys and maps through movement and the second exploring the suitcase from the train story. Inside the suitcase we discovered numerous items, and we discussed where they might have come from. Philip suggested the empty jar might have contained sweets and chocolates. One of the children suggested the black mask might have been worn by a burglar, who stole a ring from the empty jewellery box. We spent time playing memory games with the objects, with the adults and children leading the activities.
Workshop 4 – Travel
Our ‘Journey’ session last week led us to look further into outdoor travel and exploration. We began with a hula hoop, using the loop to warm up our bodies and copying each other’s actions from a seated position. We then began travelling across the space with the hoop, collecting other participants along the way. The hoop became a steering wheel, directing our movement across the circle and leading our direction! After a whirlwind of dancing and twirling we discussed and reflected on our journeys. Carl recounted his long journey through Leeds, then over to the airport and finally finishing in Scarborough for an ice cream!
We moved swiftly onto follow the leader exercises copying actions from a partner. Tracey gave us some wonderful examples using her hands and fingers to create waves. We then moved the follow the leader exercise onto our feet – working in two lines to explore the room and following the action directed by the person at the start of the line. Finally, we merged the two groups into one large string of people with Steven leading the pack. He took great satisfaction in stopping and starting, allowing the group to catch up with his pace! We ending this exercise with a group limbo, ducking under a sparkly string and applauding each other efforts.
The second half of our session involved a very long, durable rope, which sat in the middle of two rows of the chairs. The group approached the rope with great curiosity – instigating a game of tightrope walking. Lots of participants took part, with other adults and staff supporting their steady walk across the rope. There were fantastic collision moments with two adults meeting in the middle! Who would briefly step off the rope for the other person to move past? We had lots of cheering and applause when each person completed their challenge.
We handed out a series of sensory props – mirrors, feathers, ribbons and jewels. Spending a moment to explore our piece of treasure and where it came from. We picked up the rope in various places in the two lines to create a zigzag pattern, and imagined the end of the rope was the bottom of a cave – which held many treasurers! Using their creative imagination, the participants placed their piece of treasure at the bottom of the cave and began their long descent to retrieve it!
Our theme has taken us far and wide, with many stories and encounters explored by the adults and the children. We are excited to see what the rest of the project brings us, as well as further meetings with the school!
Ellie and Kim