Sharing the Universe Story with The Institute of Education

About 3 weeks ago JaneNicoleRaiesa and I set off early on a Tuesday morning to the Institute of Education. We were going to give a one-day workshop to new teacher trainees on 'The Universe Story, writes Rod Sugden.

Global Generation have been using the modern scientific 14 billion years of cosmic history with young people for the last 3 years. It provides a means to bring children into a huge perspective. A view where they can see that they are part of an immense creative process that is also interconnected.

At the Institute, though, we were about to break our limits and offer this perspective not to 10, 20 or 30 students but to more than 300! This was going to be our biggest 'Universe Day' to date, by far.

Jane started off the day accompanied by some of the Institute students Teresa, Daisy, Lou and Toni - who had been with us during the Big Bang summer school. They passionately spoke about their time at the Kings Cross Skip Garden and working with the Universe Story. They then dived off stage and came back carrying a giant paper mache bee on their heads!

This was the prop that Jane used to tell the '3 baskets of knowledge' story. This story is about learning about oneself, the other and how everything is interconnected.

At Global Generation we feel that it is all too easy for children to become and self-centred and materialistic and that this new perspective is one that has the potential to release children from a limited perspective into one that is HUGE. 

Throughout the day we exposed the students to some of Global Generations methodologies - thread discussions, sitting still, working with the time line and Free Fall writing.

One of the highlights of the day was when we took all the graduates on a 14 billion year time walk from the Institute to Granary Square. The 1.76km route was scaled to represent the 14 billion years.

In this arrangement, there were different points along the route that became places such as - when galaxies were formed and the sun emerged from a cloud of stardust.

At each point the teacher trainees told the universe story through a photo tableau which reflected their experience. One of the really revealing parts of this walk is that modern human being appear on the journey in only the last tiny slither of the total journey - less than one mm of it.

The day was a great success. We had an overwhelming positive response from the students and we very much look forward to working with some of them in the coming months.

Today really did do just what we want the students to do, think and enquire and dig deep. The more they can do that, in a safe environment, the more resilience they will develop, the better that will be for the children that they teach.

I am still in awe of us managing to walk 100’s of students up to Kings Cross and back again over 14 billion years. It’s the start of a great journey and I really look forward to continuing it!
— Tessa Willy – Lecturer, Institute of Education

This is what the Teacher Trainees had to say about their experience:

I want the children I teach to experience the humbling gravities I felt today in learning about the Universe Story, and to feel the same rush and panic to protect our world from our own greedy destruction.
Thank you for the tour through existence, I will never think of things in quiet the same way again. I look forward to recreating the story of creation with my class one day.
Thinking about how we can alter our priorities and actions to protect life in the future cuts across all religious/traditional boundaries.
It felt quite spiritual and even though I am atheist, I felt like, how can this have come about by chance, from nothing? How can the Earth be so fragile? What are the miniscule odds of it happening? Surely it could not be by chance. As a staunch atheist, it shock shook me up a bit.
What difference would it make if all children grew up with a cosmological world view? If they were aware of who they are, the ground they stand on, realised they were connected to all others in the planet, the water, the mountains, the sky?