Janet wants to help children on learning journey
The former Head of Schools and Family Learning at Norwich Cathedral has turned her hand to creative collective worship, workshops and storytelling both in person and online since her retirement last year. Janet Marshall tells her own story.
When I decided to take early retirement last year, I hadn’t bargained for the long, unpredictable journey ahead. Being passionate about RE and creative Collective Worship in schools, along with supporting churches, I launched my own enterprise ‘Journeys for Learning’ in September. In between lockdowns I was thrilled to be invited into many Norfolk schools to deliver my workshops and storytelling through RE, History and the arts.
It was a privilege to be the ‘first visitor back in’ for many classes. PPE and distancing did not take away the magic or the smiles, as my historical characters from long ago suddenly found themselves masked and visored! Children adapted so incredibly well to demands such as: ‘one way only’, stay in your classroom and ‘zoned bubble’ environments, to ensure safety for all, just as they will do now as all embark on a second courageous return to school for all. We wish them all the very best with that.
Then, back to square one in January, I decided to offer virtual learning experiences for schools and their ‘home schooling’ families. My ‘Journeys for Learning’ HQ (a bedroom study with ever growing, stacked boxes), became a hub for making YouTube films for Collective Worship and lessons, starting with the Epiphany festival which reached over 1,000 children and family viewers. It has been great to reach teachers outside Norfolk too, via this amazing web medium and Facebook.
The Great Fire of London, a popular topic for KS1 came next, then Candlemas and other themed stories from history. It was great fun to do a live zoom version of the 1666 Pudding Lane Bakery for Cub Scouts! Children adapt and engage brilliantly and passing the fire buckets along our screens to the river Thames took on a whole new style!
We cannot praise and thank all our teachers, teaching assistants and school staff enough and it has been a joy to support many. Links with other great, local teams out there have also been invaluable: Norwich Diocesan Board of Education, DNeat & the Diocesan Children’s and Youth dept. Ashill FOL church and RE East.
Together = stronger, I think we have all realised that, during this challenging time. Creativity has certainly blossomed during past months with new skills and approaches. Teachers have been phenomenal in their determination to bring creative learning to their pupils, no matter what, and I feel privileged to have been able to play a part.
So, our journeys continue, with hopefulness and faith. I’d love to link with you on my journeys for learning. If your family, church or schools in your area would like resources, do get in touch for more information.
Do follow my ‘Journeys for Learning’ Facebook page and join my FB group of the same name to share ideas together.
Pictured top is Janet Marshall creating a Dinosaur Adventure Day and, above, Janet as heroic Norwich nurse Edith Cavell.