ImageI had the opportunity today to spend some time with a group of school children, talking to them about what they would like to see improved about a particular aspect of their school. I was initially quite nervous about the session – would they be interested in what I had to say? Would they engage with me positively? Would I be able to keep everything running to time?

When I got into the session, however, I met the most inclusive, engaging, fantastically creative group of people you could hope to work with. We started with a round robin of names and something interesting about themselves. Even that was creative – my favourite was “My name’s Barry* and I like chicken”! Well, Barry, who doesn’t?! A brilliant start.

They were all really willing to engage and participate, even the more quiet characters, and very supportive of each other’s ideas, whilst also feeling comfortable enough to challenge them appropriately where they didn’t agree.

Then they were full of great and, if I’m really honest, surprisingly sensible ideas for what they’d like to change. There were occasional digressions into the slightly less sensible, but I enjoyed allowing these for a short while just to see that creativity flow, before bringing the discussion back round to the more feasible options.

In essence, they wanted more. More choice, more space to relax in, more opportunities to do their homework (yes, really!), more fun things to do, more places to be with their friends. And don’t we all want that, really? Apart from the homework, perhaps!

They were also very insightful, bringing up observations on wasted space and missed opportunities for utilisation.

All in all, I learnt a great deal from them and thoroughly enjoyed the session. I can only hope the same is true for them, at least a little bit! I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with young people, and know that I won’t feel anything like the trepidation I felt this time. Hurrah for feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

*Names have been changed to protect the creative!