The proof of the pudding is in the eating; getting the school multi-purpose hall project through from initial idea to completion within a year was a remarkable achievement, but it would all be to naught if the room was not used. It was as well that the room was finished before summer school began, as this gave the school the opportunity to try it out. Throughout, it has been used for martial arts lessons, delivered in rotation to each class. Martial arts was what it said on the door, at any rate, but the lessons were more varied. They were delivered by Courtney, a bubbly and energetic Australian volunteer, with a local teacher helping with translation, and consisted of a mix of physical activities. There were some basic karate moves taught, some fitness and flexibility work, some fun games, some self defence moves, and finally a slow wind-down. And none of it could have been done in the classroom.
Two days previously, the school had been visited by the Pop-up Penguins, a music and clowning theatre group from the UK, who gave a performance and a workshop, while the day after the opening it was the venue for the school talent competition. Again, valuable activities which needed the sort of space the hall provided.
The real test will come when the new school year begins, however, and we can see whether the school fulfils a need in the curriculum, as well as encouraging a child-centred, active approach. I know that the senior teachers are talking about how best to use it, so this is very encouraging. I will try to report back on this later in the year.