About This Case Study:
Hope Hamilton CofE Primary and Charnwood Arts
Charnwood Arts undertook a whole school approach for this project, with children of all ages taking part in a wide range of arts activities that engaged them with their local environment.
Younger children undertook outdoor activities with Rangers in Charnwood Forest that led to the creation of an installation back at the school. Years 3 and 4 spent a day with dancer and choreographer Rong Tao, while Years 5 and 6 had the chance to learn the basics of computer coding in order to create interactive light displays. They were also encouraged to experiment with light, movement and form in order to create images linked to the novel Scribbleboy that they were reading in class.
There was plenty of learning around information technology, from principles of coding through to using software such as a node-based application that allowed children to "paint with light" using a webcam and projector. They also learnt how to use an SLR camera including how to balance aperture size and shutter speed for creative effects. Also, iPads were used to conduct and record interviews with peers as learning was taking place. Links were made with the Phoenix Media Centre, a specialist local resource for digital media, including a training day on using media in the classroom for the school coordinator.
Using the natural environment around the school and in Charnwood Forest was also productive. Many children lacked knowledge about British flora and fauna and creating artworks provided a great opportunity to talk about environmental issues in a rural and urban context. Being out in the woods proved a huge opportunity for those children who lacked confidence or focus in classroom settings. Staff say they flourished in this environment with both the quiet and withdrawn children and the more disruptive ones becoming interested, excited and engaged.
Didactic teaching was minimal across the project, with older children being able to follow their interests and younger children being given a more structured approach on a collaborative project. Staff observed children progressing in skills including listening, comprehension, creative writing, imagination, adapting to novel materials and team work.
Initial progress of the project was held back by a mismatch in expectations between the school and the arts coordinator. This was addressed as the project progressed but it was felt that longer lead-in times allowing for better and earlier communication with staff would be of benefit. Similarly, work will need to be done after the main project has been completed to develop a strong legacy through links with Rangers and the Phoenix education officer, and by involving pupils as cultural ambassadors with other cultural assets across the city.
Creative Producers: Kev Ryan & Rebecca Abrahams
Artists: Ashok Mistry, Lydia Towsey, Jo Shepherd, Hema Acharya, Rong Tao, Sean Clark, The Woodlarks (outdoor learning)