“The children have taken part in activities to improve relationships within the community and to listen to the voices of those around them”.
We were delighted to present Gomersal St. Mary’s CE(C) Primary School with our very first Democracy Friendly Schools award during Local Democracy Week 2022.
Teachers Kirsty Hemmingway and Alex Wilson have shown their dedication to becoming Democracy Friendly by supporting children as young as three years old to learn about local democracy and to take part in a range of age-appropriate democracy activities.
After receiving our ‘Train the trainer’ style session at school, Kirsty and Alex adapted our Everyday Democracy Activities to suit the children in their school. They decided to test out their ideas with children in Year 5 and a small group of children in their Early Years setting.
Exploring our world and our local place with Year 5
The first activity to help introduce children to local democracy was to look at ‘our world’ and where in space it could be found, then they looked at ‘our continent’ and ‘our country’ and so on until they reached their local place – Gomersal and the surrounding areas.
“We wrote to our Councillor, we zoomed him, we tweeted him…
and we agreed on a local project.”
The children were encouraged to share the things that they like about their local place, and the things they don’t. They suggested lots of ways that their area could be improved, which they shared with one of their local councillors during an online meeting.
Together they all agreed on a small social action project to help improve their local place.
Doing democracy in Early Years
Teacher Alex Wilson created special lesson plans to help younger children learn about their place. She believes it’s important to help very young children understand the physical space around them at school before considering the world outside of the school gates. With this in mind, Alex created a map to help children explore the school environment, whist sharing the things they like about their classroom and the things they think need improving. Together they created a plan to make their classroom a better place to learn.
The children are now doing democracy everyday by voting for the books they’d like to read.
Sharing the journey
Gomersal St Mary’s have captured their wonderful learning activities and Democracy Friendly journey so far in a large ‘floor book’ to share with others. You can see some more of their journey (and their lovely book) in our video.
Hints and tips for other schools…
“Be open to the route the children go down. At the start, I thought I knew what the children would want to do and the issues they would want to tackle. However, they wanted to do more things and have more involvement in other things that I had not even thought about.”
Get involved – sign up
We welcome expressions of interest from schools anywhere in Kirklees who would like to join our Democracy Friendly programme, at any time. Have a look at these pages to find out more about our free programme, see what you can expect when you sign up, and learn more about the benefits for children, young people and schools.