The Lost Words Project
At the start of this academic year our school was fortunate enough to be asked to become involved in a Carmarthenshire project called ‘The Lost Words’. It brought to our attention that words from the natural environment that had been lost from the Oxford Children’s Dictionary in favour of modern, technological vocabulary as pupils are not using them in their writing any longer. Therefore out went words such as ‘acorn’ and ‘kingfisher’ and they were replaced by words like ‘download’ and ‘gigabyte’. Author Robert McFarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris wrote poems and drew illustrations to stand against the disappearance of this wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke.
As a school we decided to work with an oak sculptor called Robert Jakes who is based in Pembrokeshire. He creates beautiful sculptures made from welsh oak. Thirty two pupils were selected to work alongside him to design, carve and create a tripod bench for a whole class of pupils to sit on. The beauty of this design is that images and words from our school’s natural environment are carved on to them, however they also carved the lost words in to it too and they were coloured in gold to shine in the sunlight.
The pupils spent over five days with Robert and created a personal, unique masterpiece. Where did we put it? We found an area of the KS2 yard that had been lost and overgrown, cleared it and we are now developing it as an ‘Outdoor Language Zone for our pupils. The bench has been erected there, pride of place, and the teachers and pupils are now busy developing it further.
Our ‘Trash to Treasure’ trip saw us collect lots of artefacts from the coastline to turn in to a display to develop pupils’ vocabulary further and driftwood gathered will be transformed in to a natural ‘Poet-Tree’ where pupils can display their written word. Watch this space - the ‘Lost Words’ are returning to Pembrey!