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Mantle at Primary level:

Year 2 class at Woodrow School

This project was led by Helen Bailey at Woodrow School, Redditch, UK. At Woodrow, there is a special focus on teaching through Mantle of the Expert. Below, you can find out about a Mantle with a Nursery class at the school. For more information, go to the school website:

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Class  Year 2 class in a UK first school

Curriculum  Religious Education. Know and understand the beliefs of Christian people. Re-call worship and rituals in order to find out the meaning behind them. Recognise different symbols and actions which express a community’s way of life, appreciating some similarities between communities. Art: Sketching, printing and sewing.

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A team of Monks based in an Abbey developing positive relationships with the surrounding community within the village.

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We used different drama conventions. In the classroom, we recreated a prayer room in an airport.  We agreed to accept that a voice had been left  and could be heard inside the room. The voice said: “Forgive me.” We found an old, wooden box in the room. CT footage from airport security showed a vicar carrying the box. We discovered he was on a pilgrimage to an Abbey where his religious colleague required support. The surrounding community were unsure of the monks and their beliefs and traditions. God had spoken to the vicar and was a constant guidance on this journey.

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Building the 'Frame'

We began life in the Abbey as monks and engaged in waking at dawn, eating in silence, compline (prayer) in the Abbey, silence at supper time and jobs in the garden planting and growing vegetables.

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Introducing the 'commission' and the 'client'

The reverend arrived during compline in the Abbey, we heard a sound. (Using Dorothy Heathcote’s ‘Tension Level 1’ - danger named but not controllable, possibly sudden and unexpected.) We heard stones being thrown at the window and graffiti was left. The word “EVIL” was sprayed on the window. The challenge for the monks was to find ways to forge a better relationship with the villagers.

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Fulfilling the 'commission' 

Tasks to complete the mission included:

1. Create the village around the Abbey.

2.  Villagers are given a piece of waste ground to develop a community garden. The team of monks make observational drawings of flowers, and create a large display board for the opening of the garden commissioned by the Mayor.

3. Plan an Open Day at the Abbey to allow the villagers to attend and develop an understanding of the life of a monk.

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The 'publication'

The monks hold the Open Day. An anonymous letter is later left at the Abbey door. The writer has attended the Open Day and now understands the life of the monks.

Nursery Class at Woodrow

This project was led by Ilse Willams at Woodrow School

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Class  Nursery class aged 3 and 4, in a UK first school

Curriculum  EYFS Curriculum. Specific focus on Understanding the World, Personal Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language.

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A team of café chefs working for their boss Daniel at the Sunshine Café.

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A letter was received, written to their current boss. Enclosed was an airplane ticket to China.

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Building the 'Frame'

The class had previously built the idea of the café through answering job adverts, making the uniform, writing recipes, making food, etc. This culminated in parents been invited into the café for the opening. As this had been a success, the chefs were sent the letter with plane tickets to China, where, they were told, they would meet a special friend of the boss.

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Introducing the 'commission' and the 'client'

The team travelled to China in an imaginary plane. They created a model of the Himalayan mountains, and watched the client (adult in role) in the mountains. It was the Dragon King. Through the drama, they were introduced to the commission, which was to create a banquet to celebrate Chinese New Year.

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Fulfilling the 'commission' 

Tasks included: researching and learning about China and Chinese New Year; listening to Chinese music and learning about Chinese dance; preparing Chinese decorations; tasting and choosing their favourite food; inviting people to the banquet; creating the recipe and making the food (stir fry).

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The 'publication'

The final outcome was a celebration of Chinese New Year. As a reward for their good work, the team of chefs were then sent on holiday by their boss Daniel. This lead to the next Mantle project for the following term.

In these videos, you can find out more about Mantle at Woodrow. The first features two projects: the "Monks" drama for Y2, and a Mantle on "Town Planners" for a Nursery class. In the second video, you can find out about another Mantle project at the school, on the Anglo-Saxons.

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