While the Olympic torch made its historic visit to Swindon on 23 May, Red Oaks pupils celebrated their very own Flame Day, in the company of children’s author Neil Griffiths, who came to open up the school’s new library and playgrounds, as well as launch his new book Animal Antics.
Illustrated by Janette Loudon, Neil’s latest picture book is the perfect sporting adventure to celebrate Olympic year.
Neil has imagined what happens when the World Sports’ Week committee can find no reason in the rules not to allow the animal kingdom to take part in the competition. As a result chaos ensues.
Through fabulous illustrations of every type of animal from armadillo to zebra, Neil tells an amazing story of animal antics including every sporting competition at London 2012 along the way. Readers can join in the mayhem and hang out with baboons, wrestle with bears, sail with skate, sprint with cheetahs and swim with sharks in this Olympian tale of animal adventure.
For teachers this is more than just a great story. There’s an accompanying CD-ROM with seven exciting lesson plans and pupil resources to springboard learning, and enable classes to plan and play out their own spectacular sports event. There are templates to make badges, medals, certificates, entry forms and many other items, together with an extensive range of starting points to support learning across the whole curriculum.
Neil spent the whole day at Red Oaks Primary School, North Swindon, reading Animal Antics to over 500 children in 9 sessions. He had them running and jumping on the spot, taking aim, swimming and prancing like horses.
Year 1 teacher Rachel Hogan said: "Neil was incredible, the children are in awe of him. They loved being so involved in his story telling skills."
Neil also performed the official opening of the new library and playgrounds –a fitting celebration of reading and sport in the same way as Neil’s book.
Describing the new facilities, Red Oaks business manager Karen Griffiths (no relation) said: “We’ve bought new furniture for our library and commissioned a fantastic display of weaving art by Amanda Horwood. At the children’s request we’ve also installed a tropical aquarium.
“In the playgrounds we’ve installed a bespoke climbing frame, water feature and sand pit for our reception children , while Key Stage 1 have some new outdoor musical instruments and Poddeley equipment for building dens.”
Without doubt Animal Antics provided Red Oaks children with the perfect opportunity to celebrate a sporting year to remember. The book can be purchased via www.redrobinbooks.com
Pictured top, Neil Griffiths with Animal Antics. Below, with children at Red Oaks Primary School