A primary school teacher in Southampton has even created a replica yacht for her students and plans to Skype the race teams
This got me thinking. I contacted Volvo who very kindly sent the children posters and pens and a lovely email saying how thrilled they were that the children were following the race.
Our morning routine now starts with about half an hour of sailing. We check and log the positions of the Volvo yachts, then check on the class boat via the regatta.
Seeing how much the children’s understanding of the different sails, wind direction and boat speed has developed is amazing. They discuss amongst themselves which sail we should be using, which direction we need to go in to get the best wind speed etc.
I then started to look at the English curriculum. We wrote letters to the different race teams and I contacted Peters & May, Global Marine Transport, who were kind enough to offer their support. We forwarded these to Peters and May who passed them onto the different teams. The children were so excited when they got some messages back from the sailors saying thank you for following and supporting them! This not only spurred my class on even more but it gave them a sense of purpose for their writing.
But the most surprising curriculum link has been how their PSHE (personal, social, health education) skills have developed. Young children sometimes found it difficult to show empathy towards others and sometimes find building friendship skills challenging. But through following the race, the chidlren have shown such care, thought and compassion towards the teams. It has been overwhelming.
This was evident on a Monday morning when I had to break the news to them about Team Vestas being shipwrecked. The whole class were in fancy dress for an Egyptian day. I had Egyptian activities all planned for a day of fun. But once the children had heard about what had happened, they collectively decided to cancel the morning of actitives, so that they could write a letter to the team to say how sorry they were for what had happened and to wish them luck for a safe return home.