Lateral thinking is often used in advertising campaigns and, more universally, as a way of solving problems by using “an indirect and creative approach, typically through viewing the problem in a new and unusual light”, so says the man, Edward De Bono, who coined the phrase in 1937.
It’s also the thinking behind Maclean High School’s Snow White and the Seven Bagawks Project, a fashion parade where live chickens are the models.
The fashion parade is a part of the school’s celebration of NSW Grandparents Day on Sunday October 30, or more specifically, “a day to spend time with an older loved one and celebrate the important role older people play in our local community”, says teacher/librarian Belinda Cameron.
Ms Cameron said the idea was hatched as a result of observing how aged care provider, The Whiddon Group, utilises pets as therapy for its residents.
The chickens also bring the library, which Ms Cameron says “is changing from a ‘shoosh’ centre to a community learning centre”, and the agricultural farm students together.
“The chicken has become a symbol for the event,” she says. “The chook, as an animal, is something that brings people together – kids collect eggs, seniors look after them in the backyard.
“The agricultural students spend a lot of time working out how to manage chickens.
“The event involves throwing open the doors of the Maclean High School library and the gates of the agricultural farm to invite grandparents to find out about teaching and learning in 21st Century schools.”
Students will be on hand to do some of their own teaching, too, showing grandparents how to use Instagram, providing assistance to understand the many uses of mobile phones and explaining the vagaries of web site design.
“Our student Ninja Knitters [who work with Mareeba Aged Care residents] will knit with grandparents, with an emphasis on educating students about their grandparents’ childhood games and experiences,” Ms Cameron says.
“Our event promotes the importance of intergenerational learning as a two-way opportunity, the value in education for all participants and acknowledges the important role grandparents play in the lives of their families.”
Food will be served: Devonshire Tea in the morning at the library, followed by damper and a sausage sizzle at the agricultural farm from lunchtime, where grandparents will be able to observe whip cracking, animals and crops.
Various community organisations that support seniors will attend with information displays.
Community Transport will pick up the grandparents from the library and drop them to the agricultural farm during the day.
“The day is open to all grandparents, even future grandparents,” says Ms Cameron. “For example, those of year 6 students – they are often active in primary learning then closed out at high school; we want to get families involved in their kids’ education.”
Contact the school on 6645 2244 for more information about the event, which is being held on Sunday October 30.