Imagination isn’t just limited to the Lab!

As well as running interactive workshops for children at our Imagination Lab, we’ve been taking imagination on the road to schools and centres with our mobile Imagination Pods.

The idea behind an Imagination Pod is to give children a flavour of the Institute of Imagination experience and bridge the gap between formal and informal learning. Developed with the help of children and adults with special education needs, the Pods can be used by all children – regardless of age or ability – to engage in constructive exploratory play.

We recently took one of our Pods to Kingsley High School, a community special school for pupils aged 11-19 years, who experience severe learning difficulties, autism and profound learning needs. We tailor our Pod’s resources to a desired theme or curriculum demand, so our workshop at Kingsley High School was linked to their subjects of ‘Transport’ and ‘Around the World’.

Our team began the workshops by introducing the Pod to students and staff through their imaginary friend ‘Mrs Muddle’ and her large glass jar, which she uses to collect sounds. The students were reminded that there are sounds all around us and in everything we do. They explored this through a range of materials that came out of the Pod, including paper being scrunched up, a zip moving, the twang of a ruler and saying their own names – whatever the volume! Every different sound was collected in Mrs Muddle’s jar.

The afternoon session used similar tools and equipment to focus specifically on the sounds of the rainforest. The children loved sharing, having fun and taking turns with the materials. During both sessions, teachers observed that students who rarely participate in group activities were engaged and keen to continue the experience. We’re thrilled by how much the children at Kingsley High School enjoyed their time exploring with the Imagination Pod:

“Thula expressed the desire for more by stamping insistently, this is new for her, I’ve never seen her do it”.

“Rachel doesn’t normally like loud noises; she would normally become anxious and show a sign by raising her hands to her head. She didn’t do this with the Lentil Speaker. Instead, she started to explore on her own by wiggling her toes.”

“We saw reactions in facial expressions showing wonder and pleasure. It was a response to something new and different.”

Our Pod stayed with Kingsley High School for two weeks and was used by 49 students and 36 staff to test and implement new tools and approaches.

If you’d like to book an Imagination Pod at your school or centre, please email imaginationpods@ioi.london for a booking form and we’d be happy to help.

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