St Michaels MILO service support bear

When teachers at St Michaels CE Primary School in Southfields found out that some of their service children were due to have parents deployed overseas last Christmas, they had an idea. They applied to Little Troopers for one of our Christmas Smiles teddy bears, which were donated to our charity from the Build-a-Bear Foundation.

The bear was introduced to the 18 service children at the South West London school who come together once a week in a club called ‘Social At School’ or ‘SAS’ for short. The children decided to call the bear MILO, standing for ‘Military Intelligence Liaison Officer’. They now take it in turns to take the group mascot home every week, documenting their adventures together in a class scrapbook.

The bear is just one of many things the children do as part of their weekly SAS club. Founded by the Headteacher over 10 years ago, the group meets every Friday afternoon, to play games, chat with each other and take part in some of the activities from the Little Troopers at School Primary School Resource Pack. Emotions Charades has been a particular hit with the children!

The group have also been making Easter cards to send to deployed parents and they are now working on a special song to sing in assembly for the Kings Coronation in May.

Caroline Jopp, SAS group lead, comments: “We only have a small percentage of service children but this makes it even more important to make sure these children know there are other people in the school going through the same experiences and to have a support network in place.

“The children really benefit from coming together as part of our SAS club. The group currently runs across Reception to Year 4 and we find the older ones are really supportive of the younger children, particularly if their parent is away. They all naturally share stories about military life and talk about how they feel. MILO has been a huge hit and I think he will be with us for many years, helping the children to feel included and special.”