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Pupils paint the same picture

Schoolchildren across the globe unite in expressing their first-day nerves through art. Adi Bloom reports

First-day nerves are the same anywhere. Whether they live in affluent farmhouses or ramshackle wood huts, all pupils spend their first day of school worrying that no one will like them.

This was the discovery made by pupils at Chewton Mendip primary, Somerset, when they launched a project linking them with children around the world.

Developed by the charity Save the Children, the project asks primary children across the world to draw a series of pictures, illustrating their first day at school.

So far, pictures have been exchanged between Chewton Mendip and pupils at a rural primary in Pakistan. Copies of these drawings will now be sent to primaries in Kenya and Peru. The resulting drawings will then be forwarded to Somerset and Pakistan. This is one of many inter-school links promoted by The TES Make The Link campaign.

Chewton Mendip pupil Georgia Watts, seven, drew a game of playground tag.

"I was nervous on my first day," she said. "I thought I wouldn't have people to talk to, or that I would have a strict teacher.

"In Pakistan, they are probably desperate to go to school, so they wouldn't mind. They're happy just to be there."

In fact, the Pakistani images reflect similar concerns. A drawing of a girl skipping has the caption: "On my first day I liked the playground and my teacher."

And drawings from both schools show girls with circular faces and triangular dresses, their hair rising in gravity-defying U-bends.

Zo Glendinning, Year 3 and 4 teacher, hopes this will provide her middle-class pupils with a valuable lesson about the developing world.

"Before the pictures arrived, they talked about poverty and how pupils might not have enough money for books," she said. "So it is nice for them to discover that children the world over have the same thoughts and fears."

Don Harrison, of Save the Children, agreed. He said: "All children go to school, all children play, all children have families. They just do it in different economic circumstances."

After studying the Pakistani pictures, nine-year-old Ben Baldwin summed up this subtle difference. "Like us, the Pakistani children are worried about doing writing and maths," he said. "But if they're naughty, they're whipped and forced to sit on the floor. We're just forced to miss break."

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