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Looe Valley Line provides Creative Classrooms

Duloe Primary School pupils ‘eat their words’ during a Creative Classrooms trip.

Year 4 pupils from two Cornish schools enjoyed a journey on the Looe Valley Line and a creative literacy session with Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership recently.

The trip was one of the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership’s new ‘Creative Classrooms’ it is offering to local schools, with free train travel being provided by Great Western Railway.

With so many children missing out on experiences over the last 18 months, due to the pandemic, but mindful of the fact that some children have also missed out on learning, the trips have been developed to be travelling classrooms.

Rebecca Catterall, development officer for the rail partnership said: “The trips are very focused sessions, in a creative learning environment that feels like fun but has some very real learning outcomes.”

Working with author and poet Sally Crabtree, Rebecca liaised with the schools in advance and they requested some work on vocabulary.

Whilst on board the children had to write down as many words to describe what they could see out of the train window and they were then each given a ‘word bird’ to keep their words in.

Vocabulary included names of some of the wild birds they could spot out of the window as well as the wonderful, albeit slightly damp, Cornish countryside.

Children also created edible poems, something which enables children of all abilities to create poetry by supplying them with a number of words that can be placed in any order.

Sally Crabtree said “Edible poetry shows that literacy doesn’t have to be boring and absolutely anybody can write a poem. One little boy on the trip ,who could only draw what he saw out of the window, amazed himself by placing his words into a wonderful poem, thus leading to a new found sense of pride and self-confidence.”

Sophie Dunn, class teacher at Duloe Primary said: “Three of my pupils on the trip have special educational needs and struggle to speak properly. The train journey enabled them to discuss with others what they could see out of the window and, as it kept changing, they kept talking, which was fantastic.”