The Story Behind Every Face project was started in PSHEE lessons (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education). The boys were guided to discover stories from those who have retired. Many people that they have met have led very interesting lives and this was a great way for them to learn more and appreciate other people within their community.
Throughout the school, the boys found different ways to learn these important stories and they have been amazed at what they have discovered. In Year 3, the boys hosted a puzzle and cake morning where a local group from Contact the Elderly were able to join in. The games were a great icebreaker in building conversation between them both. In Years 4 and 5, the boys interviewed a retired person of their choice. One boy learnt that his grandmother had been kidnapped when she was younger, whilst another found out that his grandad was best friends with Roald Dahl. Year 6 were given the biggest project of all. Each boy was allocated a pen pal and had the opportunity to write to them over the course of three months. There was a real buzz in the classrooms as each day brought new letters and stories.
On Friday 1 February, all boys involved in the project hosted a special Alice in Wonderland themed tea party. 70 people were invited to attend and everyone was excited to meet their pen pal. Guests came from the surrounding areas and they had many stories to tell the boys. Individuals, such as an Air Traffic Controller, a race car driver, an ex-headmaster and an Art Director from a famous film franchise, were delighted to regale tales of their childhood, their careers and what happened when they retired. It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved and new lifelong connections were created.
The reason the school spearheaded this project was that with more and more research showing that loneliness is becoming an epidemic amongst the ageing UK population, it is more important than ever that the younger generation do not disregard people based on their age. As the boys have learnt during this project, the young have a lot to gain from opening their eyes to the value of every member of society.
Head of PSHEE, Noeleen Corrigan said, “This has been a wonderful project for both the boys and the local residents we have had the pleasure of meeting. The boys have developed an understanding of not only the value of what the older generation have to offer, but also the struggles and joys they have experienced in their lives. With just a little chat, a brief letter, a cup of tea, they have been able to change someone’s day. This is a very important thing for the younger generation to understand and our boys have done so well in encouraging this.”
The school will continue their partnership with local residents with the hope to create more pen pals and connections for years to come.