The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. National Curriculum, English Programme of Study
In order to achieve this, individual schools are tasked with planning an enriched and inspiring curriculum that offers all children a huge range of opportunities to read, write and speak in real life situations and for a real purpose. At Bolney CEP, that opportunity is woven through the whole curriculum, from the rich texts that are used as a stimulus for projects, through pupil voice in leadership roles such as buddies and school or eco ambassadors, to writing for a real purpose, for example, to ask parents for support with fundraising.
When you visit Bolney school, you are immersed in a community who share a common love of reading, where books play an important part in every day learning, where story telling is animated, questions are deep, knowledge is strong and love is clear. From the vast choice of texts for all readers in the school library and class book corners to the conversations between staff and children about book choices: reading is clearly for pleasure.
Linking knowledge gained from reading and listening to stories and then being able to transfer that into ones writing in a creative way can be a challenge for some children and therefore the staff at Bolney CEP looked for inspiration to support this teaching in order that all children could be successful at achieving the National Standard and beyond. That is when the school discovered ‘Interplaylands’.
‘Interplaylands’ is the brainchild of Ruth Moyler, a truly inspirational person, who recently led an INSET for the staff at Bolney CEP on Courageous Creativity using Interplaylands. The concept of storytelling and rehearsing what a child wants to write before putting pen to paper is not new but the use of ‘mini mes’ in an interchangeable 4 portioned real or imaginary world is. Children have a mini version of themselves, which gives them the power and scope to travel on adventures near or far, real or imaginary and the ability to talk through their journeys and discoveries as they go along.
Each class has an Interplayland that is linked to their current project where they are able to experiment with new vocabulary and scenarios (like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the effect that that had on the city of Pompeii) in their own way before writing about the same event. The children’s storytelling is already improving and their enthusiasm for mini me time is equally rewarding.
For reluctant writers, the use of Interplaylands is proving a supportive resource, giving those children the confidence to be creative first verbally and then in written form. For children who have trauma or attachment issues, Interplayland is a tool to talk and using the mini mes is proving successful for them too.
There is much more to be done with this project: developing family sets of mini mes, Interplaylands for families to use at home, renovating the class Interplaylands for new termly projects as well as developing the use of the ‘snug’. This is an upstairs resources room which has been redesigned as a nurture room and a store for all of the recycled items that families have kindly donated the school as part of this project. Interplaylands is totally green and fits with our eco-friendly school.
Developing oracy to enhance writing is one target on the Bolney 2023/4 School Development Plan and the use of Interplaylands to develop talk, story-telling, imagination and ultimately high quality writing as a result is part of that plan.