Carry My Story
Creating Strong Community Links
Diamond Wood Community Academy is at the heart of the Ravensthorpe community. We strive to ensure our curriculum is based around developing our pupil’s sense of self and identity. Part of this is providing learning opportunities surrounding the area they live in and the stories of those who live alongside them. With this in mind, we have become an ambassador school for the Carry My Story project which has been run by our local authority for the past four years.
What is the Carry My Story Project?
Carry My Story provides the opportunity for children to explore their own identities and learn about others. The children are visited by local people who come into school to ‘tell their story’ and explain how they are a part of their community. This not only supports the children’s learning and development but also helps to create strong community links.
The Linking Programme also involves schools from across our local authority with the aim of linking them together to provide children with the opportunity to meet children from different ethnicities and backgrounds. They will build friendships with others they would normally not come into much contact with.
Last year, the project proved so beneficial that we decided to engage the whole school in it this year. During the Spring term, all classes got involved in a ‘Carry My Story’ topic across school. This provided the opportunity to invite parents and family members into school to share their stories and work alongside their children.
Feedback from Others
“It’s so important to do this with everything that’s going on in the world right now that separates us”.
Parent of Y1 child
“Diamond Wood have been involved in the school and community linking projects in Kirklees for some years now and have consistently grabbed every opportunity to bring children, parents, staff and community together to explore, embrace and celebrate difference and diversity. This programme has become part of a well-established process of looking closely at the identity of ourselves and others, as well as welcoming and getting to know people of difference, whatever their social or cultural background. It permeates the life of the school rather than remaining a discreet project that the school completes once a year. The whole school is involved, rather than one or two classes. The staff and children have worked hard to forge sustainable friendships with their link school, their neighbours and more recently, with refugees. Their creative responses to sharing and carrying the stories of others have been and continue to be sensitive, reflective, joyous and moving".
Kim Strickson (Kirklees learning partner and organiser of the project)
"This topic has helped me to talk about my father who had passed away and his life. This is something I previously struggled to talk to my children about. My daughter has learnt all about our family history and how her name was chosen”. Parent of Y2 child
Carry My Story 2018-2019
What we did at the start of our Carry My Story journey...
2018/2019 was the first year we took part in the Carry My Story project. Mrs Price who was teaching Class 6 in Year One at the time, took a lead on the project and introduced it. Six children from each of our Year 1 classes linked together with a Year 2 class from Netherton Infant School in Huddersfield.
We had a great time meeting new people and building friendships over the year. We learnt all about others who are different to them and live in a different kind of community. Over the course of the year we met up several times including at each other’s schools.
“We had a wonderful time visiting Netherton Infants and loved their school! We even got our inspiration for creating our own Forest School from them as theirs was so good. When the day came for Netherton pupils to visit Diamond Wood the children clearly felt so proud showing off our school. The Netherton children loved our big classrooms and were even more impressed by our art studio”. Mrs Price (Deputy Head Teacher)
A Visit from a Refugee…
As part of the project, the organisers set up a visit from a refugee. We met a lovely lady called Marika who has moved to England from South Sudan. She came to our country to escape from the war. She told us all about her life growing up in South Sudan and enjoyed sharing her story. We made sure that we were respectful of her special story and tried to share it with others in school. We presented it in a special assembly and also at the Carry My Story finale event at the Al-Hikman Centre in Batley.
When Marika visited us she taught us a special song and dance which she used to do as a child. She said that she liked to sing and dance around a campfire under the moon and that is what the song was all about. We learnt the song and dance and presented it at the finale event to everyone. Marika couldn’t go to the event but one of her friends from South Sudan who was also a refugee was there and joined in with us. She was so happy and impressed that she was moved to tears and said she would tell Marika all about it.
Recently, Mrs Price was watching Countryfile on the BBC and spotted Marika! She was with Kim who is the organiser of the Carry My Story project and talking about projects available in the community to support refugees! The children were very excited to see someone they have met and learnt so much about on the television. What a wonderful experience all round!
Carry My Story 2019-2020
What we did at Diamond Wood in 2019-2020…
Mrs Price introduced and led the project within our school. Due to the success of the project last year and clear potential for deeper learning, we decided to change our Spring 1 topic in KS1 to a ‘Carry My Story’ topic. This allowed our children to explore their own identity and heritage in more depth.
This year we linked with two schools instead of one. Our Y1 children linked with a Y2 class from Netherton Infant School. Our Y2 children linked with a mixed Y2/3 class from Hinchcliffe Mill Primary School. Both schools are in small villages in Huddersfield.
Before school unfortunately had to close due to COVID19, we had hoped to invite parents and family members into school to share their stories and work alongside their children. A refugee was also going to be invited into school to share their story.
Despite the cancellation of the project half way through, we still managed to have some fantastic learning opportunities. The children thoroughly enjoyed the topic and we will most certainly be continuing with it next year.
What our pupils said…
“I liked meeting the children from Netherton. We went to the school last year too but met different children. I remembered the teachers and they remembered us. We have made new friends and learnt about their lives”.
“They all look really different to us. They have white skin and we have brown. It doesn’t matter though we are all the same. We are friends”.
“I liked playing the parachute games and eating dinner together. They taught us a new circle game and Mrs Price showed them some that we play at school”.
“It was good when Mrs Ali came to our class to tell us her story. She told us about her life. It was so good”.
“The school sent us some art work so we found out all about it and had a go making it too. It was good fun”.
What our staff said…
“This project has been fantastic. The children have really enjoyed it. Especially meeting the children from other schools. They genuinely made new friendships”.
Educational Teaching Assistant (ETA)
“I am glad we did this as a topic. It meant we could spend quality time looking into the children’s own lives and heritage. The learning has been really purposeful and engaging”.
“This is the second year I have run this project in school. I could see so much potential for learning last year that we decided we needed to make it bigger and better this year. Running it as a full topic has proved very effective. Next year we are hoping to get EYFS involved too”.
Deputy Head Teacher
"Diamond Wood have been involved in the school and community linking projects in Kirklees for some years now and have consistently grabbed every opportunity to bring children, parents, staff and community together to explore, embrace and celebrate difference and diversity.
This programme has become part of a well-established process of looking closely at the identity of ourselves and others, as well as welcoming and getting to know people of difference, whatever their social or cultural background. It permeates the life of the school rather than remaining a discreet project that the school completes once a year.
The whole school is involved, rather than one or two classes. Of particular significance is the fact that complex concepts relating to personal and group identity and diversity have been adapted sympathetically and appropriately to meet the particular needs of the Early Years and Key Stage 1 children.
The staff and children have worked hard to forge sustainable friendships with their link school, their neighbours and more recently, with refugees. Their creative responses to sharing and carrying the stories of others have been and continue to be sensitive, reflective, joyous and moving".
Kim Strickson (Kirklees learning partner and leader of the project)
Click here to see how we promote SMSC through Carry My Story