Our Communications Officer Jane McDowell wrote a blog about her recent visit to a Big Lottery funded All Stars programme at St. John Paul II Primary School.
Making Good Choices
By Jane McDowell
There are the six character words that form the basis of All Stars, an innovative school based programme which aims to prevent children getting involved in behaviours that could put them at risk. As a Communications officer I get to talk to lots of groups about their projects but don’t often get the chance to see the projects first hand, so I was delighted to visit a local school that is taking part in the All Stars programme.
I went to John Paul II Primary School in Belfast to watch an All Stars class activity. I had recently visited the school to talk to the kids about how they felt about taking part in the programme. Their response was enthusiastic to say the least so I was really looking forward to seeing it in action.
The exercise that day was Charades. The children were divided into two groups and then in pairs took turns acting out a particular character word that they had picked from the pot. Watching the children interact with their teacher, Miss Collins, while they took part in the game was so interesting. It struck me that not only were they learning about the behaviours but they were learning other skills, such as communication, presenting, working as a team, as well as using their imaginations. I was so impressed. Miss Collins kept them all interested throughout the entire exercise and the kids really enjoyed it.
As a busy mum of three kids, I especially liked the Caring and Helpful Scavenger Hunt which the children are encouraged to do as homework, which included things like “help with the dishes” and “fold clean clothes and put them away.” I came away with a few ideas to help me to get my own kids to “make better choices!”
But I feel the real value in this programme is best explained by the kids themselves. Read their comments below the gallery.
All Stars is something I can learn from because it makes me the best person I can be. It helps me at home by encouraging me to be responsible, it helps me in school when I am caring to my friends and it helps me in the community by asking me to be respectful of others. (Aimee McComb P6)
I like All Stars because it teaches me to be very nice and not to be a bully. The All Stars people gave us all booklets to complete, I really enjoy all the activities in them. The lessons are fun and help me to be a better person. (Teah Lynch P6)
The whole point of All Stars is so that it can make me a better person now, and when I’m older. I really like All Stars becauseit helps when I go home and when I’m in school. My teacher explains it very clearly so all of my class understands it. This course will help me through life and I know I will remember this when I’m older. Sometimes I make bad choices but now I know how to fix it. (Eimear O’Neill P6)
I like All Stars because it is fun and we learn a lot. In our community we help others, don’t litter and, most importantly, we stand up to our friends if they’re making bad choices. It makes me a better person and teaches me how to respect myself. (J.D. Branney Brownlee P6)
The point of All Stars is to help me through life and make me a better person. If something happens I feel I can do something about it. I really enjoy All Stars and look forward to the activities we are going to do. I like to show character words outside school, I hope to make a difference. (Zoe Finn P6)