At the last Governors’ questionnaire a few families expressed their reservations about ‘dress up days’ at school – telling us that they could be expensive, and for some, a lot of work.
I understand this; and this year we have cut back. Last year, we held a Shakespeare Day in the first term and the year before that a World War II day (in addition to World Book Days and any School Council themed ideas). However I can’t give up on World Book Day, not yet anyway, and I thought I would write and explain why.
When I started here – nearly three years ago now – I asked the children what they enjoyed about the school and what they would like more of. Reading came up, the children loved it! But with two problems: the older children told me that they often bring in their own books as the school doesn’t have a great selection and the younger children didn’t always enjoy reading at school as much.
We thought about this, interestingly the younger classes have always celebrated World Book Day with Class 1 taking advantage of their love of dressing up. Chatting with staff we realised that yes, our Library could do with an update (and we have done just that!) and maybe a ‘love of reading’ focus would help the school. Hence the first year of my time at Castle Carrock was a ‘Year of Reading’. That year the whole school dressed up for the first time. The children absolutely loved it – we had such a variety of outfits and characters that I spent all day talking to the children about their choices and what their book character would do in this situation, or how their character would react in other situations. We had World Book Day food and held a parade in the afternoon – it was a real sense of occasion!
In the second year we toned down the sense of occasion slightly – it was ‘A Year of Science’ after all and we had other things to do… you may remember the 3D Printer and the online lessons with Tim Peake on the International Space Station. It was still a dress up day and we had some fantastically inventive ideas. The staff had a theme of ‘James and the Giant Peach’ (let’s not think too much about the peach costume!). Both adults and children celebrated all the different worlds that books can take us to.
Work Book Day 2017
This year we have a theme of ‘Heroes and Villains’ – and, more importantly for the older children, a World Book Day sleepover on the Friday night. The school council mention a sleepover every time we ask them what they want – so I had to do something eventually!! Our year is a focus on a ‘Year in the Life of Our school‘ – and books are a huge part of any Primary School! In our busy curriculum it is a luxury to devote time to books, old and new, fact and fiction, for a day!
World Book Day allows us to remind children that we all love books, that books give much to our culture and our future. We explore character and narrative and we can be a bit silly with it. It’s a national occasion and we share what we are doing with schools across the country; across the world; (and last year) across Space! Classrooms are transformed for a day – and for some children who may not always enjoy school all of the time it is a different kind of day.
I know not all children enjoy dressing up and there is no penalty for not joining in! And every year I try to convince our older boys that a ‘generic footballer’ is not really in the spirit of the day.. But I feel the chance for the school to pull together in the ‘spirit of the occasion’ is worth it. I hope you agree!
Saying this – we don’t get want to get stuck in a rut – maybe next year we do something instead of dressing up? I’ll ask the school council…