Class Visit · Storytime · Study Skills

A Class Visit With a Difference …

On Wednesday morning, St Mary & St Michael’s Year 1 class paid a visit to the Guille-Allès Library.  Having been learning about all things Under the Sea, the children came in to find out how they can use the library to research and find out information on this subject.

Here at SLS we love having classes come in to the library for story and activity sessions, and we regularly welcome schools for Christmas and Spring-time activities near the end of the school term. With help from the staff at the Guille-Alles Library we are now able to offer sessions throughout the term on particular subjects with added research and study skills activities. We hope to encourage the use of the library so that it becomes a place in which they can continue to discover and learn throughout their lives. Here’s a little look at the morning we enjoyed with the St Mary & St Michael Year 1 class, as we took a trip under the sea…


When the class arrived, Jodie and Tiffany took them on a tour of the public library.  We had a look at the different types of book we can find in the adult library, and learned that people can also borrow other items such as DVDs and CDs.  At this time of year, the Hayward Room is home to numerous students who have upcoming exams and coursework.  For this reason, we took a trip up the steps to the Hayward Gallery but tried to do so as quietly as possible.  The children seemed to really enjoy trying to sneak across the gallery, each tip-toeing in true Scooby Doo-style.  To add to the excitement, we then took them back down to the first floor via the ‘staff only’ staircase – who knew you could break so many rules in the library!

In the Assembly Room, we then pointed out that the founders of the library – Thomas Guille and Frederick Allès – hold a permanent residence in the form of rather large portraits on the wall above the Teenage Fiction.  We then talked about the ever-fascinating history of the room, in its capacity as a music hall for orchestras and a ballroom for dances in days gone by.


This then led us to the Children’s Library, where the class sat down and we learned about non-fiction books and how they are different to fictional stories.  It was the students’ job to get into pairs and use a special subject index to find out the Dewey number for a number of ocean-related topics.  Once they had found out the number, they were then able to search the shelves with the aim of bringing a book back to the table to share with their partner.  Everyone was then able to share with the class their favourite picture in the book.  It’s safe to say we all learned something new, from how to do a “cannonball” to identifying underwater fossils.


Kate and Kirstie from the Children’s Library then gave the class a chance to get crafty.  Using coloured paper and crayons, Kate taught everyone how to make up a textured picture so that, when placed under a sheet of plain paper and the flat side of a wax crayon, it created a ‘rubbing’.  The children created some great pieces of art, and we were all very impressed with their creative decorations!

As it happened, the class’ visit coincided with World Oceans Day.  We were also very lucky that the wonderfully creative staff from the Children’s Library had put up some great ocean-themed displays for the children to enjoy.  This included a shower cap jellyfish, the library’s award-winning Olly the octopus, and we even tried to fit the entire class (and the adults too!) within the to-scale 20ft outline of a great white shark!  We rounded off the morning with some rather silly ocean-themed stories, and the children laughed along to Splat’s misadventures in Splat’s Fishy Tales and also Barry the Fish with Fingers & the Hairy Scary Monster.


We hope that the Year 1s enjoyed their session with us, and we also hope that they were able to learn a bit about how the library works and can be used to find out information.  This is something that we aim to teach from an early age so that it becomes familiar to children, with the hope that their research skills are more likely to develop as they progress through school.  These sessions are available to any year group, and we are able to tailor them to suit any theme as well as ability level.  SLS also offers more advanced sessions for secondary school classes, to continue their skills as they head into university, work and the wider world.

If you would like to book a session for your class, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.  We are currently taking bookings for Autumn Term 2016.  SLS hopes that students enjoy these sessions as much as we do, as an opportunity to come out of the classroom and have fun, but also to learn something new.

Written by Tiff

4 thoughts on “A Class Visit With a Difference …

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