School swaps shoes for slippers

Reporter:

Josh Morris

One primary school is stepping into the new term in a slightly different way to the rest of the schools in the county.

Ysgol y Parc in Denbigh have banned students from wearing their shoes in the classroom with pupils asked to wear slippers instead.

Teachers will also be joining in with the more relaxed and comfortable learning environment, in the belief that it will help improve results.

The school is the first in the country to try slippers in the classroom and may well be the first in Wales.

Headteacher Louisa Roberts said that after a staff member talked about their own experience of wearing slippers in the classroom, she looked into it, and found some surprising results.

“The children still need good school shoes, they’ll need them outdoors and we do spend a lot of time int the outdoor areas, but we’ll be having slippers indoors,” she said.

A study by Professor Stephen Heppell at Bournemouth University was published in March 2016 looking at ten years of data from 25 countries stating there are real benefits to learning caused by wearing slippers, from calmer behaviour and reduced noise through to more hygenic carpet areas and reduced wear and tear on furnishings.

“Research says that when children feel more relaxed they learn better. There has been lots of work done in Scandinavian Schools on this and there was this ten year project that showed children did do better when they didn’t wear shoes in classes and had a more relaxed approach

“We have infant children, who spend time sitting playing or reading on the carpet in groups and to not have hard shoes on their feet creates a more relaxed environment

“It avoids dirt coming in, which makes it nices as well, there are health benefits - the carpets will be cleaner, they do spend a lot of time on the carpet.

“It’s a fairly new idea, we came back after the holidays and one of the teachers mentioned that when she was in school and little, her teacher said the should wear slippers in class.

“This is going back years but she said it was the nicest experience she’d ever had in school, and she felt that wearing slippers had made it a nicer experience.

“She’d brought this new rug for the book area and thought it’d be nice for the children to take shoes off in the book area, and that’s where it came from - all the other teachers agreed.

“Each teacher asked their class if they wanted shoes or not, and it was overwhelming. Because of their response, we thought, well, we’ll have give it a go.

“We’ve got new storage so they can store their shoes and not lose their shoes or slippers, so we’ve thought about all the logistics about it, and how we’ll manage it.”

Email:

josh.morris@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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