Pupils and staff had VIP tickets to enjoy a two-day festival experience right here at school last week as they embraced the great outdoors and counted their blessings for the first ‘Small is beautiful’ Eco Festival.
A glimpse of what to expect was teased to attendees subtly throughout the week, while many of the finer details were kept under wraps to encourage a natural fluidity to the days and to allow the pupils to take autonomy of their own schedule and choose activities that resonate with them personally. Something that the girls cherished, with each participant showing a real passion for the opportunities they chose.
Each morning began with morning meeting, where everyone gathered to take part in a group discussion or task before disembarking on their selected activities. Introducing the mission of the festival, Thursday’s morning meeting included a House competition. Each House competed to pitch creative ideas behind redesigning areas around school which would encourage positive mental health and wellbeing. Working in their teams, pupils recorded the thinking and creation process for someone from the future which was presented to a panel of judges who would crown a winner.
After careful consideration regarding the plausibility of Jacuzzis, live plant walls and excavation, the judges were faced with a difficult decision. As each presentation enthused real zealousness and displayed exceptional teamwork, the results were extremely close. Ultimately, for their transformation of the greenhouses, congratulations were awarded to Team Fry!
Now that passion for change and positive change was at an all-time high, the remainder of the days’ festivities were introduced. Armed with a campus map and a loose schedule, the girls were able to wander the grounds and elect their chosen stations. Various activities to promote calm and mindfulness were available, including yoga, cloud bathing, reading and sketching and other more active opportunities like cycling, dancing, litter picking and a DJ tent to allow the girls to dance away to their hearts content were provided.
Each activity represented one of the four elements; Earth (observation), Water (Reflection), Fire (Creation) and Air (Action) and the only requirement was that attendees chose activities from a range of the elements to ensure they enjoyed the full festival experience.
In support of ethical and sustainable fashion, pupils were encouraged to wear pre-loved clothing and were able to participate in a swap don’t shop ‘pop up shop’. Here they could donate and exchange any unwanted items of clothing and take any items they preferred. Even making a special guest appearance at the festival, the girls were introduced to the ‘tansy beetle’ as each year group took part in a ‘meet the beetle’ workshop. They learnt more about the inspiration behind the festival and Junior School in particular used this opportunity to ask some fantastic questions, such as:
“Why are they so shiny?, how many eggs can they lay?” and also, “what do they eat?”
Despite the event being over for this year, we are hoping that the impact of it will be everlasting. Teachers Mrs Cook and Ms Bok earthed the idea for the event from a desire to positively influence the physical and mental health of our pupils, and to encourage them to foster a love of nature and grow the will and confidence to protect it going forward.
“I am really looking forward to the Vogue workshop!” – Emily, Year 8
“I’m just doing the photography workshop at the minute called ‘What a wonderful World’; we are using small lenses to take really up-close shots of nature like this tree bark. I love my photographs so far.” – Annabel, Year 8