A New Labyrinth for Autumn 2018
North Petherton Primary School
400 school children from North Petherton Primary School in Somerset all played their part in constructing a permanent labyrinth in the churchyard of St. Mary the Virgin, North Petherton. The Labyrinth is a ‘classical’ labyrinth, with a wall built of local stone and is 10 metres across with a 60 cm wide path. The work was carried out in the week before half-term.
Work began with Year 6 marking out the labyrinth in chalk paint using cords, pegs and measuring sticks. The technique used meant the children laid out the design independently. Turf removal followed (some adult muscle needed here), but the bulk of the digging (moving about 3 tons of soil) was done by children. The children also carried in 6 tons of aggregate (the site has no vehicular access) and carried out the soil infill once the stone wall had been laid. The aggregate (natural water worn gravel and sand) was chosen for its safety characteristics and carried in using small Rhino buckets. The concreting work was done by professional builders for health and safety reasons.
Children also made rope and cobble labyrinths and learnt a variety of labyrinth games and activities. The secret of the success of the project, which was completed in a week, lay in the teachers being fully briefed and the children arriving skilled up and enthusiastic about labyrinths.
Our thanks go to the Rev. Jane Haslam of the Alfred Jewel Benefice, for initiating and funding the project and Mr. Gary Hobbs, headteacher of North Petherton Primary School for his enthusiastic support.
What’s in my book – ‘The Power of Labyrinths’? Everything you need to know about making labyrinths. There are 100 activities set out in detail with lots of diagrams and photos. How about 10 short plays for performance in a labyrinth? How about games, well-being activities, creative activities and much more. There are lots of books on labyrinths out there – there are very, very few that are practical manuals for school use. Get a copy while you can.
I recently got asked by someone starting up in Forest School about the kind of things I do with Reception and Year 1. So I have posted a term’s worth of activities on the blog page. In a school setting, an hour is often all I get with a group and these activities are designed for between one and two hours. In a wood, when there’s time for the kids to do their own thing, I still like to incorporate a structured activity to grow their practical skills.
I hope they are of use and watch out for the Year 2 offering coming next term.