Making School Memories: Visitors to Your School
Type: All | Category: Making School Memories | Date: 13th November 2017
Stuck for ideas on visitors to your school? Look no further, as Leavers' Books looks at unusual activities that can be used to help children develop inside the classroom and suggest a host of amazing professions and people you can play host to!
Making School Memories is designed to do exactly what its title suggests – provide you with wonderful ideas that will make children remember their time at school fondly. Leavers’ Books will take a look at unique and fun ideas that can turn your classroom upside down, strip away the bland and mundane lesson plans and rally make education an experience.
Classroom visitors probably do need an introduction – it’s quite common your class will have no idea who the person standing before them is, but come the end of the school day, when that bell rings, it’s often a different story. It’s often they’ll have been excited, entertained, puzzled, left inspired, and quite possibly had their life changed forever.
Whilst it’s not a specific requirement to education and the curriculum, having a visitor to your school is often seen as a detriment to a child’s personal development, educational journey, and general understanding of the world outside those classroom walls.
What Visits Will Inspire Students?
You have to think carefully about who you invite and why – what that visitor will offer to the kids; what will they learn in these formative years as a result; and will they teach them any core principles?
One crucial aspect for a child’s life skill is interaction and a visitor could place a great role in that.
There’s nothing quite like getting those creative juices flowing – and following an incredible performance, having the children try to interpret why they just saw and take inspiration and influence from it in order to create their own ‘art’. Whether it’s in the form of a painting, a piece of creative writing, or their own mimicked performance or dance piece – a visit from a ‘creative’ visitor can tick many boxes.
Suggestions for a creative visitor to your school could include:
- Actors/Drama performers
- Musicians/Music teachers
Local and Authoritative Visitors
A brilliant way to teach the children about the area that they live in, the rules of society and get them engaging with their environment is to have a visitor from down the road! Students can learn valuable lessons whilst also being encouraged to become a member of their local community with visits from these following suggestions:
- Police officer
- Community support officer
- Government official or employee
- Local parish member
- Local charity members
- Bin men
Educational and Insightful Visitors
How can you make a student aspire for greatness – what can they do to give back to the world, or what career could they embark on following a simple visit? Where they can learn about the dangers of the world, but also prevention tips, how to take care of yourself, and even some handy first aid. A wonderful way to inspire and open their eyes could be with a visit from the following:
- Ambulance driver
We can also recommend a visit from a doctor or dentist for another reason: a lot of children are still scared of the doctor or dentist (even some of us adults!). It could turn an uncomfortable fear into something warm and welcoming – situated in a more positive setting. Also, it’s always a plus to have a nice smile.
Uniquely Different Visitors
Fancy stirring up the classroom and having something excitingly different venture through your halls?
Is there a local animal shelter or even zoo nearby? Think about the looks of children’s faces as an animal or reptile makes its way into the classroom and they learn about wildlife and a wonderful career in animal care. Or you can contact a local gym for a personal trainer to stop by, who can talk about fitness and exercise. Maybe there’s a sign language teacher who can teach the kids sign language?
- Zoo worker
- Animal shelter worker
- Personal trainer/Gym owner
- Local sports personality
- Sing language teacher
Yes, a baker. It’s actually one of our favourite ideas. Put that school kitchen to good use. Not only will the children learn about healthy eating and the wonders of food from around the globe, but they can get their hands dirty and create some wonderful, edible delights!
Best Practises for Hosting Visitors
Before you host a visitor at your school, take some time to consider what the visit will be like for the person outside of the school, coming into your setting. The biggest thing to consider is your attempt at making them feel welcome, safe and comfortable in your school environment.
An important thing is to make the guest feel valued. They should be warmly greeted and introduced to many (mostly the staff) when passed – in sense made to feel as important as they are. They are taking time out of their day to be there, and that should be respected.
With that said, you should plan ahead to ensure their time is well spent at your school – what will they be doing and when, ensuring there is as little ‘waiting around’ time as possible (and if there is, fill it with a tour of the school).
Contact prior the visit is key; knowing what they will talk about and how fits your school guidelines – but also being able to provide them, with any important details about your school, down to where they can park their car and find your reception!
Making Contact with Potential Visitors
For a final bit of help, we’ve whipped up a quick free template you could try to use to structure your contact with potential visitors in the hope they’ll agree to come for your school.
Hello [CONTACT NAME],
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a teacher at [YOUR SCHOOL NAME]. I am writing as we are always on the lookout for interesting and educational visits from people of influence to our setting.
Whilst we understand your time may be very busy, we would like to extend an invitation to yourself to visit our school and speak with our students.
Our persistent aim is to help strengthen our students’ understanding of the greater world and we are certain a visit would meet that goal. We feel a visit from yourself or someone you are closely associated, with your work and life experience, will be of incredible benefit for the children and would love to discuss this idea further if this is of interest to you?
I look forward to your response.
It’s short and simple, and to the point. If the visitor is interested, they will respond and then you can discuss details. At this stage, you are making initial contact, so you do not need to weigh them down with the nitty-gritty at this stage.
After some research, we came across this downloadable guide from an American company called Linked Learning: Guide for Hosting Visitors, which although might not apply completely to your school, contains a lot of helpful tips and advice – as well as discussing some topics worth considering.
Several years back, the Guardian posted an article on how the effects of a visitor can be incredibly beneficial and change the classroom dynamics: ‘How inspirational school visitors can transform children’s lives’. It’s remarkable what one person can do, and is never to be taken for granted. Having a visitor for the day could not only make wonderful content for your yearbook, but could also be your saving grace.
If all else fails, book a magician.