Outlet for talents of pupils and parents too

21st April 2006 at 01:00
The whole week has been a blaze of creativity from the start, says Karen Noble, the headteacher at Juniper Green Primary.

She invited pupils from the whole school to a meeting to gauge interest and see if any of them had any ideas for what they could do.

"Forty pupils came, from P1 to P7," she says.

"That was the best thing for me. That meeting had such a buzz about it.

They were brimming over with ideas and enthusiasm.

"If you give children ownership, it's incredible how they respond. If you're brave and take the risk and let them have a lot of input and decide what they want to do, and also let them fail on some things and learn from that, it's tremendously rewarding.

"The whole thing is an enterprise as well as creativity week. It's been a lot of hard work."

Gael Anderson, of P7, was on the steering committee. "We went to a meeting and volunteered to help," she says. "We sent out letters asking for sponsorship.

"We've had competitions all week and we chose the judges.

"We've had fun and we haven't had to do school work all week."

Each class chose its own theme for the week, including Easter, a wedding, rainforests, Vikings and pirates and gangsters, with a Bugsy Malone cafe.

Mrs Noble wrote to parents, explaining the plans and ethos for creativity week.

"I asked for a contribution of pound;5 per pupil. It's the cost of sending a child to the cinema for one show and this is a whole week. Putting on the week was expensive; the whole thing cost pound;2,500.

"We needed an advertising team, an organising team, an ICT team, events organisers, a team for decorating the stage and a publicity team."

Mrs Noble brought in professionals to lead some activities, but also called on the expertise of parents, teachers and other staff.

"We've been tapping into our home-grown talent. One of the mothers is a textile designer and she's been working with the children on textiles, making hats and things. Another parent, a retired chemistry teacher, came in and did the potions and experiments.

"One of our teachers did street-dance with the children. We have a learning assistant who is an artist and she's been doing Aboriginal style art with them. And our principal teacher has been doing animations. He's very good on ICT."

The week has been about awakening the children's awareness of the creativity within them and giving them an opportunity to explore what they enjoy, Mrs Noble says.

Creativity is an aspect of the national education priorities, she points out. "It's about bringing it into the curriculum in whatever way you can.

Creativity is an important life skill; it permeates all aspects of life.

"We're trying to give children confidence.

"I had an inspirational teacher who made me feel valued. I wasn't very good at drawing but the teacher gave me credit for being creative and for coming up with something different from all the other children, even though I wasn't as good at drawing."

Mrs Noble would like to repeat creativity week, perhaps every other year.

"It's a lot of work!"

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