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Charming school children into world of learning and imagination by opening books

10.09.2018 by Marketing Concepts

An innovative collaboration between Redhill School and Morningside Shopping Centre has opened a new world of reading, stories and imagination for children by transforming the school’s library into an enchanted forest.

Even in this age of electronics, books are a critical factor in education, accounting for much of a child’s psychological and intellectual development. Books facilitate the development of the soft skills required for learning, especially thinking and communication skills.

In our fast-paced world, when opening a book a child is given the opportunity to slow down, focus, analyse and interpret and understand what they hear and see. As pages are turned, what has been read before must be retained in memory and then sequenced together as the events unfold. The ability to retain and recall information is the basis for academic learning. Language development benefits also include extending vocabulary and language skills such as grammatical text and phonemic awareness.

“Keepings kids in books is extremely important, it is a life skill which both Morningside Shopping Centre and Redhill strongly support.  One of the best gifts one can give someone is the gift of imagination. We are pleased to have helped unlock this for the young children of Redhill School by bringing their enchanted forest to life,” says Morningside Shopping Centre manager, Sharon Henry. She adds that the centre is thrilled to continue building strong ties with schools in the community.

To entice and encourage children to read, Gail Dymond (Head of Early Learning and Childhood Development Support, and former Head of the Pre-Preparatory School) from Redhill School initiated the project with a vision to create a real magical forest that would stimulate a sense of wonder while encouraging children’s love for reading.

“Working with Morningside Shopping Centre, the aim was to extend the warmth of the sunlight that shines through the trees that stand tall outside the library windows, dappling the library floor with light, inside – almost as though the walls do not exist. This creates a magical, peaceful and beautiful environment for the children to read,” says Dymond.

To achieve this, Morningside Shops crafted a foundation design for a forest and waterfall mural, which became a canvass for creative expression.

Marisa Maré, Redhill School Head of Department: Visual Art and the Grade 11 Art students enhanced the photographic images on the mural by creating a digital painterly effect. The learners also created the animals that would live in the forest. They initially drew them by hand and then scanned their hand-drawn images to continue drawing using digital brushes with a graphics tablet. This was part of their learning curriculum.

“Working digitally is exciting because it is not just about producing art for your own personal enjoyment, the work extends beyond the class room and lives digitally across the world. This library project offered an excellent opportunity to the students to showcase their creative skills. It is hugely rewarding that our student are able to see their work come to life,” says Maré.

Joseph Gerassi, Executive Head of Redhill School emphasised how special it is for senior students of school, who have grown through the grades and spent precious time in the library themselves, creating a magical environment for little ones to learn. “Their creative stamp will forever live on our library walls and inspire children to read.”

The Redhill School learners who participated in the project are Grace Alter, Grace Bennett, Niamh Nesbitt, Claire Donnelly, Komani Hari, Anne-Marie Kalumba, Alexandra Martin, Siobhan Nayler, Karin Reeves and Julia Snyckers.

The learners created a firefly motif, as a symbol for creativity and new ideas, that is repeated throughout the mural. “It is an ordinary little bug during the day but at night it shines its light enchanting everything around it. A child’s imagination is sparked through the magical world of stories and books. We appreciate Morningside Shopping Centre’s investment in our students’ creativity and love for reading,” says Dymond.

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