The Sea Company

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


We discussed the fact that our company will need an HQ. Even though some of our work is done in the field (an expression that involved a mini discussion in itself!), there are many jobs that need a central building e.g. restoring, researching, admin work. In small groups the children discussed locations for our HQ. We used a voting system to agree the following:

∑ The Sea Company is a large organisation based in London.
∑ The ‘boss’ is called Mr Green and works at the London head office.
∑ There are several branches of the company all over England.
∑ Our HQ is on the sea front in Cromer. (The children decided it should be near the sea, but also near lots of people who might want to use our services.

I then asked the children to imagine walking along the sea front in Cromer and stopping in front of the door of our HQ. What does it look like? What does it say about the company who work behind the door. I began to do a large picture of the door on the whiteboard, guided by the children. This worked brilliantly – they became so involved in the detail – the black gloss woodwork, the brass handle in the shape of a dolphin, the frosted glass windows, the brass plaque with the company name on, the security system with a code and a swipe card for company members to get in. The children were bursting with ideas and I was struck by the power of a door as a symbol of entry, beginnings, possibilities (what is lying behind that closed door?) and also giving the first sense of belonging and belief to the children – it is our door – it says something about our company. This has definitely been the most powerful beginning to a Mantle that I have tried and I will use it in the future.

As we had discussed the plaque the next natural step was to think of a name that would be on the plaque. It was my ADHD child who came up with ‘The Sea Company’ and this was the first activity that she had volunteered to do without any support or persuasion – was this the beginning of her involvement in the Mantle Work ?– well, not quite, as she is still finding some aspects of it very hard, but she is dipping in and out with increasing regularity and is apparently talking about it at home. As the door also required a security code we invented a 6 digit code which we all learned off by heart. The children also wanted to make swipe cards so the rest of the afternoon was spent with string, hole punches and bits of cardboard until they were all proudly wearing their entry cards!


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