Arden Grove Infant & Nursery School were awarded their Gold Artsmark award in September 2018. The school is part of the Norfolk Schools and Theatre Royal Trust with Hellesdon High School and Norwich Theatre Royal who are one of our Artsmark Partner organisations. This brings the school exciting, creative opportunities that enrich our provision for the Arts. We spoke to Year 2 Amy Francis about their journey to Artsmark Gold.
What were some of the highlights of your Artsmark journey?
As part of the Norfolk Schools and Theatre Royal Trust with Norwich Theatre Royal, we have a pantomime company come into school every year as well as opera projects. For example; our year 2 children took part in the English Touring Opera’s Tosca. We’ve also had ballet companies in, and for many of the children this builds their confidence and gets them involved in music, drama, art without them even realising.
What has changed in your school since you started your Artsmark journey?
Getting everybody on board, and making sure our curriculum is arts heavy. We try and make it cross-curricula, and make every afternoon creative which might mean that we are doing drama, getting outside and making art, trying to make it as immersive as possible for the children. Whilst we’ve been working towards our Gold award, we have made sure we are always giving these opportunities to all of our children.
Have you worked closely with any partners?
We have our city hub partnership through the Wensum Trust- so we’ve worked closely with the other schools. Some of the music and drama students from Hellesdon High school have come down and worked with our children. We’ve also had story tellers in and artists come in and create something from our school field.
What has been the impact?
Having so many lovely artworks around the school! We’ve noticed the children getting involved in more after school clubs, and taking their skills outside of school to do things like street dance. We’ve also noticed more of the boys wanting to get involved in dance and ballet which I think is amazing. Suddenly they’re like; wow actually, men who take part in ballet are really strong, I want to be like them.
What advice would you share with other Artsmark Schools?
Get involved in as much as possible. For some of our teachers, drama, music and art is not really there thing but the impact that it has on the children is so worth it that they’ve just embraced it. It engages the children, it builds their confidence and self-awareness and it is so inclusive. It’s given the children a real sense of pride. I would recommend getting in touch with local artists and theatres as we have been able to do. Build those relationships to give as many arts opportunities to the children as possible.