In the original Imagining Aberdeen mural, the Imagineers created a Joyful School. In the school there are lots of opportunities to do art, yoga and music. The children are reading books. There are tablets to help them do work. Children are good at maths and the teacher says ‘well done!’ and rewards them with trips. Children and adults speak many different languages and everyone gets along. The boy says to the girl: ‘I will always look out for you.’ In the school things get fixed when they are broken. Near the school there are things to do. Children go swimming, there are places to feel free and relax. A man hands out fruit for all the children.
As part of their investigation into Doing Our Best, the children revisited their vision for a joyful school and discussed what is missing and what every school in Aberdeen needs to become a space where all children feel they belong and are able to do their best.
‘In a joyful school there would be Circle Time at the beginning and end of day to say how you feel. People in the circle will be people you trust.’
‘You would know that you have something that day you really want to do. Everyone would join in with the activities – nobody feels unwanted or left out.’
‘There would be buddies – older children helping younger children. [When you are a buddy it] makes you happy because you are making someone else happy and younger children know who to go to.’
In the school children are ‘inventing things and imagining games with friends at break and golden time. In class there is creative writing and people focus on imagination and not just equations and winning’.
‘Teachers would ask about your weekends – so they know you and you know that you have someone that will listen to you.’
‘Teachers would help you when you are stuck and explain things to you without telling you the answer.’
The teacher is someone ‘you can have a laugh with, that will make you feel safe. Then if you haven’t done your homework or forgotten it you won’t worry about telling them. A joyful teacher should say “you can have another day or two to finish it”.
‘Children and adults help each other and are able to put smiles on everyone’s face.’
‘Adults don’t shout or boss people. If you shout at people you might hurt their ears and make them sad.’
‘Children shouldn’t have to take breaks by pretending to go to the toilet’, in a joyful school there is ‘a break room with bean bags or children can go for a walk. The teacher should say go and have some time when children need it.’