This Fantastical Worlds course was a highlight of the summer due to the wonderful weather we had during it! In between working hard, we had many trips and picnics to the beach, and the children went wading into sea every day!
We started off with exploring the plight of children during the 19th Century whilst discussing Charles Kingsley’s novel The Water-Babies. We looked at the terrible working conditions that children such as poor Tom had to put with, but soon were drawn into the magical underwater world of Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid and Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby when Tom escapes his mean master Grimes and becomes an amphibious water-baby! To enrich our understanding of the creatures that Tom meets, we visited the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, especially to examine the character of the otter, and went on to the rock pools at Kennack Sands to find the sea anemones for ourselves!
This encouraged the children to go back and write their own underwater stories with illustrations!
We then wanted to visit other magical worlds, and so walked through the wardrobe with Lucy into the world of Narnia. Of course, all magical worlds have their own evil queen, and in Narnia we discussed and performed excerpts with the character of the White Witch. The scene we focused upon was her first entrance and meeting with Edmund, where we were able to make comparisons with Tom; as both little boys must learn the dangers of greed (Tom with the underwater sweets and Edmund with the Witch’s magical Turkish delight).
The third book we looked at was Alice in Wonderland, and we discussed Alice’s entrance into a magical world when she tumbles through the Rabbit Hole. Again, rich comparisons could be made as this book also discusses the magical influence of food; Alice discovers the cake enscribed with ‘Eat Me’ which, when she does, makes her very big and so begins her magical journey through the bizarre world of Wonderland. Of course, this novel also includes an evil Queen: the Queen of Hearts who likes nothing better than to behead her subjects, or at least threaten it!
Further creative tasks were given, and the children were asked to create their own wicked queen. The finale of this course was the longest yet, with the performances taking over two hours to complete, as each participant read out their creative writing as well as performing various scenes from the books to their parents and families.
Summing up from one of the happy parents:
‘We have not seen Nel so inspired, excited and immersed in a magical world for a long time! We have become a part of this world too! Thank you for that.’ Joanna and Alex.