Visitors from Connecticut truly inspired by the ERW schools
Eight schools across ERW welcomed three teachers from Connecticut for the last week in June. Kari Baransky, Stacy Folcik and Lynda Thornton all teach at Washington Middle school which is an inner city school with 850 pupils. The Meriden School District has started to explore and apply the principles of Restorative Practices and they were here to find out more. Their visit was funded through the Barbara Dalio Foundation which gives particular attention to trying to help inner city education. Group leader, Kari Baransky wrote a successful bid for funding to visit schools in ERW to gain a greater understanding of the use of restorative practice and relationship based approaches.
Their week began with a visit to Cadle primary school in Swansea where they were hugely impressed by the systems in place to support children to be aware of and attentive to each others emotions. They then travelled to Crickhowell High School where they gained an understanding of how they had adopted a whole school approach to Emotion Coaching. Tuesday was spent at the Gorseinon Centre for a day of Emotion Coaching delivered by Felicia Wood from KCA as part of ERW’s LAC/PDG training strategy. Kari, Stacy and Lynda were truly inspired by this training and all recognized the very clear benefits of applying the key principles. The three headed west on Wednesday and spent the morning learning about mindfulness at Ysgol Dewi Sant before travelling on to Pembroke Dock Community School. On Thursday they returned to Swansea spending the morning at Pentrehafod and the afternoon at Hafod. Seeing how the UNCRC can be integrated into the curriculum was, in their words, a ‘real eye opener’ – unfortunately the USA is not signed up to this but these teachers have already identified how this can be integrated into Washington Middle School. Their final day included a day to Glyncollen – A Health and Well-being AoLE pioneer school followed by a visit to Ysgol Y Dderwen to see how they are starting to implement some of the emotion coaching principles.