Today was cold. Somehow the idea of building huts and doing work on them came about and I ran with it. The hut morphed into a huge blanket fort and turned into a couple of hours of imaginery play. I rolled with it. I am a big advocate of play as it allows great emotional and social learning and the chance for children to live out ideas they have seen.
After a natural lull in the play I asked if I could come into the hut and bought in the shelter 3/4 part cards and linked them to our fundamental needs along with the hut the children had made.
A while later I showed the children a headline about overcrowding in our community which talked about multiple families with totals of 16 people living in a 3 bedroom house due to a combination of supply/demand and costs that outstip what people earn. This article referred to rent being unaffordable so we talked about that.
We then looked at how people might live in a 3 bedroom house and the children tried to work out what that would look like. The conversation naturally led to talking about crowding and sharing of resources and sharing of illness and sharing of space. In a very real way this bought to life the building of social housing the children are seeing happening from the windows. Our community also has high rates of rheumatic fever and other illness that are prevelant because of overcrowding and crappy cold houses.
We took a walk around our neighbourhood, as we do often, and the children looked at the new social houses and the old empty ones that are currently being pulled down.
Note: While the house and occupants activity was appropriate for my learners it may not be appropriate for yours. I am very concious of different backgrounds, cultures, norms and resources that people come from and would hate for anyone to experience 'otherness' or shame or embarassment or relive trauma from carrying out this activity.