Curriculum, parents

A is for Arts

This week at school, it was time for our annual Arts Week. Being an Artsmark Gold school (and very proud of it!), Arts Week is always a big event each year. This year’s theme was “A is for Arts”, cleverly titled as it enabled us all to pick a different topic beginning with ‘A’ and yet still link it across the school. We covered everything from Africa to Aliens, Apatosaurus to Archaeology, with lots of creative ideas in between.
Each year, the prospect of the approaching Arts Week evokes mixed emotions: excitement at the prospect of all the fab activities there are to come, but also some trepidation as there are inevitably children who don’t cope well with the change in routine. This year, however, I had no qualms about the week ahead: I had every confidence that my children were going to cope admirably, and we were going to have a brilliant week.
And I was right. Clay modelling, making jewellery, dances with shields (chaotic but fun!!), singing songs about the Romans and making mosaics all went really well on the first couple of days.
And then, suddenly, my fantastic Arts Week was ruined. After a quick trip to A&E last night, it soon became obvious that my final day of fun was not going to happen today. Up until that point last night, I hadn’t actually realised how much fun I was having. As I dutifully called a supply teacher and explained what she would be doing, I was devastated as she cooed and “aaaahed” over the activities. I wanted to be doing them! This evening, I had an equally enthusiastic message from her, telling me what a wonderful day she’d had while I’d sat in waiting rooms, and how proud she was of the children. Of course, I was proud of them too, as they’d held it together amid all the chaos of Arts Week with a supply teacher in their class, but I wanted to be the one making gorgeous things with them.
I’m not sure I’d realised just how much Arts Week meant to me. I knew the children loved it, but I realised today just how much I love it too. Someone commented yesterday that Arts Week takes a lot of preparation. It does- endless sorting of resources, cutting up bits of card, washing up paintbrushes, but it’s all worth it. The pressure is off the children for a week. They can sit and chat while they’re sticking, work together to make dances, they created collaborative mosaics without a single argument (a huge achievement!), and everyone has been engaged. Even those children who aren’t overly keen on art have had a whale of a time- of course, a lot of it has been to do with the choice of activity: we’ve chosen things they can all succeed in, but the fact that often, the teachers say down and did the tasks with them helps. We’ve all laughed together at the manic-ness of our dances, they’ve laughed at me prancing around the hall and we’ve celebrated the resulting videos (of them, not me!) together. They get a break from the daily pressures of English and Maths, we get a break from the daily pressures of marking (and even sometimes catch up on it!), and we all relax a little.
This year, there’s been the added incentive of an “exhibition” tomorrow: all of the children get to visit every year group to see what they’ve been up to, and then the parents can come in to see their work, videos etc at the end of the day. They’re all very excited about that, which is another huge disappoint for me: I’ve been a big campaigner this year for getting the parents into school (see my post here), but tomorrow is my day off. It would have been lovely to see how proud the children were showing off their work, and to get to talk to the parents about what they’ve been up to. However, at least I know they’re coming in. Even from the two days I was with them, I can visualise the buzz that will be in the classroom at the end of the day tomorrow. I can already see the big smiles the children will have, and hopefully the parents too.
It’s a very, very long way off, but I’m looking forward to next year’s Arts Week already.

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