Many of the families at the first pilot were able to return to the second; this allowed us to build community and rapport. We were able to act on feedback and modify the offer accordingly.
The children were pleased to see each other (as were the adults). It was lovely to see their relationships developing and how they influenced the choices children made. It allowed them to settle very quickly back into the space and explore the resources available to them.
"I think the kids were more relaxed than at the first pilot, which was great. They were more comfortable in the space and with each other. It would be great to see what that could look like if they were together in the same space week in and week out."
We increased the number of invitational workshops at this pilot. Everyday included a workshop offer, including dance, drama and maths opportunities. We were able to include more workshops with the support of a grant from The Potential Trust. In this development of the first pilot, it was interesting to see how the dynamics of a large open plan space and the different workshop leaders affected who joined in.
"My children really enjoyed the variety of experiences available at the pilot sessions in June. My four year old loved being able to wander freely between tables and activities and try out things that took her interest. I really noticed how it promoted her independence in a space catering for a number of children of various ages and their parents. My 10 and 11 year old are notoriously harder to engage but they really enjoyed the dance classes both at the Institute and especially on the roof gardens."
As the majority of the children had attended either the first pilot or the iOi's own events, they were very familiar and comfortable with the space.
It was interesting to understand the importance of familiarity with physical space. As part of this pilot we moved our into the community, at a day hosted in a community garden. While the activities were super, the change of location altered the dynamic and was a little unsettling for some of the children. This highlights the importance of finding a permanent home for the project.
The collaboration with the Institute of Imagination was an invaluable support, offering an inspiring and engaging environment.
"As always, the resources were fantastic. My boys loved all of the building materials - cardboard, 'bricks and mortar', wooden city blocks, K'nex. The virtual reality software was fun, and my boys continue to experiment with building those worlds on the computer at home (we purchased a headset)."
The actual location of the space continued to offer us extra opportunities. The children loved having the small park over the road providing space for some big physical play.
The shared nature of the space worked out brilliantly with the children being able to see the final year show of the Achitecture degree from the Royal College of Art take shape in the hall, tying in beautifully with the 'Metropolis' theme.