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Canford believes in providing an all-round holistic education and the Shell Carousel is an excellent example of this. For young people to be exposed to activities for the first time provides new horizons and opportunities; to be challenged in ways that take pupils outside their comfort zone is a positive experience; and to learn some important life skills is certainly beneficial. These opportunities are the non-quantifiable parts of a true education and they play a huge part in developing teamwork, leadership, respect of others and emotional intelligence.
The aim of the Carousel is to enable all Shells to take part in the large range of superb activities on offer at Canford and to learn lots of new skills along the way. There is an hour slot each week which gives all pupils the chance to try a wide choice of activities, mostly in two-week blocks. Pupils work in groups and are scored on a variety of criteria as they move through the various activities. These are particularly focused on punctuality, dress, teamwork and communication and when there is an opportunity for individuals to show leadership qualities, this is also taken into account. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on these activities and new skills they have acquired on their iCAN profiles. At the end of each term, prizes are awarded to the winning team.
We are well-known for our rowing and it would be hugely disappointing if pupils did not have the chance to get onto the river during their time at the school, so this opportunity is given to the pupils within the first term of Shells. We are also incredibly lucky to have our own Real Tennis court, which was opened in 1879 (before the school was founded). This is one of the remaining 26 courts in the UK and it is fantastic for the pupils to have the chance to play a game with such a rich history.
Debating and presentation skills enable the pupils to build their research skills, along with their confidence when talking to peers and staff. They have also learnt about etiquette, including the rules of etiquette when eating, and use of utensils, along with letter writing etiquette. Some basic sewing skills have been taught, so that pupils can sew up a hem and sew on a button, along with sessions teaching them about the cost of living. In photography, pupils learnt about taking and developing photos without using their phones. Despite many pupils originally finding the idea of dissection a bit disgusting, most got really involved and were surprised by how much they learnt from dissecting various organisms. News café gives the pupils the chance to study a range of media and discuss how different news stories have been portrayed. Shooting, archery, electronics, mosaics and lacrosse were also new to most pupils and were hugely enjoyed.
If the pupils are really inspired by a particular activity, then they may choose to pursue this in the future and several of the Shells have chosen different activities and sports due to having enjoyed various blocks of the Carousel. Next year, the Shell Carousel will also include a library challenge to enable pupils to understand how to use this fantastic facility within their first term. Shells will also complete a movement and core stability unit so they will have a better understanding of their bodies and the ability to control their position and movement.