See inside Hartlepool school’s 'curious room'

A Hartlepool school has seen pupils engage for longer periods of time after adopting a “curiosity approach”.

Friday, 29th April 2022, 4:45 am

West View Primary School, in Davison Drive, started using the approach among its early years pupils back in July 2021 – and is already planning to bring it to children in Year 1.

Adopting the “curiosity approach” has involved making changes to the learning environment, such as the lighting, so it is not too over stimulating for the children.

The school has also documented its journey on Instagram, @ our_curious_journe y – where it has earned almost 1,000 followers in less than two months.

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Alfie Robinson walking through a section of the curiosity area at West View Primary School./Photo: Frank Reid

“It’s been about using more natural colours and it’s also about using more authentic resources, so they would have real resources to play with as oppose to toys which are plastic,” explained headteacher Lauren Furness.

"In terms of our home corner and our dressing up, all of those are real items as well.

"They are clothes and real resources, so they’re more open-ended for the children, so it’s an opportunity for children to be more in control of their own play.”

The approach has helped children stay focused for longer periods of time and has left other schools in the trust inspired to try it out too.

The play area uses "authentic" resources./Photo: Frank Reid

"In terms of the play, what we’ve seen is that they are able to engage in play for longer periods of time without switching between activities, because the resources are more engaging for them,” said Miss Furness.

"The provision that’s set up is more engaging, so they don’t just run from one activity to another, they can stay interested and they for longer periods of time, which is really good because it allows them to use their imagination and take it in their own direction.”

She added: ”We have had some other schools in our trust come to look at what we’ve been doing and it’s something that they are looking to implement and do as well in their schools, so, hopefully, they’ve been inspired by what they’ve seen.”

Victoria Barnes playing at the Curiosity area at West View Primary School. /Photo: Frank Reid

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The Curiosity area at West View Primary School. The school is hoping to bring the approach to pupils in Year 1 as well. /Photo: Frank Reid