Elmer is already helping these pupils figure out their classwork

Cliff Lane Primary pupils with Elmer Picture: ST ELIZABETH HOSPICE

Cliff Lane Primary pupils with Elmer Picture: ST ELIZABETH HOSPICE - Credit: Archant

Art lessons, maths and even English classes are taking on an elephant theme at one Ipswich school.

Cliff Lane Primary School is one of 75 schools, nurseries and youth groups to sign up to Elmer’s Learning Herd as Ipswich prepares for the 2019 sculpture trail.

As well as using the project as a chance to liven up lessons, the school is raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice.

Carrie Ferguson, vice principal at the school, said: “Being involved makes the children feel like they are part of something big. They all loved the pig trail and they know it will be like that.”

She said they were keen to get involved because they saw the real benefits of the Pigs Gone Wild trail.

“What we loved about it was it got the children out in the local area. Instead of playing on consoles they wanted to go and see the pigs. It got children out in the fresh air, that is something that is quite important to us.”

By signing up for the learning herd, groups get their very own miniature elephant to decorate ready for the trail, whilst committing to raising a minimum of £750 for the charity. Groups also get a learning pack so they can harness the excitement of the trail in lessons.

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“We are already learning through Elmer. Our art coordinator is working on a creative plan for decorating him, we want it to be a whole school project. We will probably run a competition where they have to create a design as homework,” said Carrie.

“The children also use the Elmer story in their English lessons.”

The fundraising is already underway, and this has given the teaching staff another opportunity to bring Elmer into lessons.

“We had an animal bake sale which was part of a DT project. The children had to design animal cookies, biscuits or muffins then they had to create packaging. They baked the items at school and we invited parents in for the sale.”

• Have you tried our Elmer quiz? Test your maths and reading skills.

The school has met their initial fundraising target but have more events planned for this term and hope they may be in with a chance of winning a large, blank elephant.

The prize will be handed to the top fundraiser with the winner based on fundraising total per head so even the smallest groups and schools have the chance to win.

There are 25 more junior elephants available meaning there is still time for other schools, Brownie packs, nurseries and youth clubs to get on board.

Norman Lloyd, Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk campaign manager, said: “The 75 schools and youth groups that have already signed up are doing really well. Elmer is such a great character for us to be working with; as well as all the crucial fundraising our groups are doing for the hospice, he can also help us share some really important messages about inclusivity and diversity with young people in Suffolk.

“This really is such an enjoyable project for young people to get involved with – the ‘tons of fun for everyone’ strapline couldn’t be truer.”

Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk will be one of three trails taking place next summer to mark the 30th anniversary of the book, published by Andersen Press.

To find out more, via email or visit the website.