Bloom is relevant to our time
Fantastic teacher, Nicky Bailey, was kind enough to share her experiences of using Bloom as part of her learning recently. From creating paper flowers that bloom when added to water(!), to brilliant drama and yoga, be inspired by all the imaginative activities her children got up to below.
In uncertain times, when children may feel powerless in the face of global events, the ability to be self-empowered and make a difference in the world is important. This is the heartfelt message of Bloom by Anne Booth and Robyn Wilson-Owen.
Bloom tells the story of a flower. More water. More attention from the gardener. More shade. The old man tries everything to make the flower bloom. Nothing works. The old man feels increasingly powerless. Then the young girl shows him the power of words and kindness. “Why don’t you tell it how wonderful it is and how much you love it?” says the girl to the old man.
I used Bloom with my group of mixed aged outdoor learners in our cross-curricular learning. For drama the children took turns making a ‘flower umbrella’ open, but only when kind words were spoken. For STEM we learned about the properties of water that enable flowers to bloom and made our own paper flowers, with kind messages inside, that bloom when added to water. For PSHE, focusing on self-empowerment and self-regulation, we did yoga to Kira Willey’s (kirawilley.com) ‘Bloom (Yoga Track)’.
The detailed illustrations add depth to the story. Who is the lady in the picture frame in the old man’s house? Why is he so protective of the flower? And why does he tell the children to leave the flower alone? The combination of words and pictures is just enough to provide a narrative where children can fill in the gaps. As I read the book and showed the pictures to my group, the ideas flow: “Perhaps the old man is grumpy because he is lonely and missing the person in the picture frame?” “Perhaps the loved one in the picture frame originally planted the flower and this is why the old man fiercely protects it from passers by?”
I gave each child a green sock and a red glove, enacting the opening and closing of the flower. In the story adults could not solve the problem and needed the little girl. This model is of a strong and capable child, who finds self-empowerment by demonstrating kindness, empathy, gratitude and hope. Learners are shown the importance of having a voice and the possibility of adults learning from a child’s unique perspective.
Bloom is a book that is relevant to our time and an invaluable teaching resource.
- Download: Enjoy a FREE Bloom activity pack!
- Read an interview with author Anne Booth
- Read an interview with illustrator Robyn Wilson-Owen
- Watch: Spread kindness with flower pressing
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