Wishing for a wishing tree………

Our original branch

Our original branch

We are proud of the fact that all our activities are meticulously planned and carefully evaluated, but that still leaves room for a few serendipitous additions to our working day.

A couple of weeks ago, I arrived at the Centre on a bright, sunny morning to find a small tree branch lying on the doorstep. Thin and curved, with dried seed heads and leaves still attached, it looked so attractive in the sunshine that I wondered whether it had been left on our doorstep deliberately. Being fond of natural materials, I placed the branch in the corner of my study, where it casts feathery shadows on the wall.

A few days later, during her one-to-one tuition session, a pupil noticed the branch and immediately began to suggest how we could decorate it. Starting slowly, her ideas quickly gathered speed. We could use tinsel, ribbon, lights, Christmas decorations…. At this point, feeling rather mean, I turned her attention back to our literacy work, but she had one last idea. “We could write our wishes on labels and hang them on the tree.” We carried on working, but this vision of a wishing tree had struck a chord.

Our wishing tree

Our wishing tree

At the end of the day, after the last pupil left, I mentioned the wishing tree to my colleague, Debbie, who was immediately taken with the idea. We discussed how a wishing tree would link in with our Philosophy for Children [opens in a new tab/window] work and with literacy activities as the children could research, read, and write about wishing tree traditions. There was just one problem: how could one small branch hold tinsel, ribbon, lights, Christmas decorations and all our wishes on labels? I decided to look for a few more branches to be combined in one pot, hopefully in a convincingly tree-like shape. I didn’t need to go far. Behind our Centre, lying on the ground, was a dead tree. It was a perfect shape and had been sawn off just above the root.

You don’t need to know in detail how I dragged the tree inside, how I sawed a few inches off the top so that it fits in, and how we wedged it into a pot. Instead, you can look at the photo and see the results.

We have yet to add our wishes, and I’m sure the children will want to add more decorations, but for one of our pupils who looked at a branch and saw a world of opportunities, one wish has already come true.

I really must teach the word serendipitous [opens in a new tab/window] to our children next week.


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