(Four page article using images and bits of writing by the children)
Encouraging children to feel proud of their school and to have respect for their surroundings was the intended outcome of a recent project with Credo Arts Community and Fifth Avenue Primary School in Hull.
Credo had worked very positively with the school in the past and Creative Partnerships Co-ordinator Vicky Goodson was keen to capitalise on this. Following a spate of vandalism, which had left windows broken and classrooms destroyed, she wanted to develop a whole-school project which would make the children really stop and think how vandalism affects their lives.
Working with around 500 pupils in total meant coming up with different approaches for different Year groups. Credo developed drama workshops with Years 1 and 2 focusing on hands and how they can be used to both build and destroy things. The pupils produced artwork and wrote an action poem about hands which could be performed by both Year groups.
Year 3s had the opportunity to film their own video and make decisions about what they wanted to include. The went on a tour of the school, interviewing pupils, teachers and even the community policeman, PC Ian Wallis, who works with the Behaviour Education Support Team in Hull.
Using poems, prose and letters, Year 4 pupils made an ‘Our Place’ booklet which reflected their feelings about their school and their community. They also wrote imaginary letters to vandals, witnesses to vandalism and to the local police.
A series of weekly drama workshops on citizenship and taking responsibility resulted in the Year 5 children producing a ‘contract of behaviour’ with the emphasis on positive rules such as showing respect for other people. They also learned about peer pressure and how to resist it. Year 6 children decided to devise a series of advertisements which emphasised the positive aspects of their school.
All of the work produced was featured on a final video and in the ‘Our Place’ booklet which was presented to parents, residents, local police and dignatories at the end of the project. Overall there has been an noticeable decline in the level of vandalism at the school since the project ended and the children have been inspired to take a much more responsible approach to their own surroundings.
‘Everything that Credo did was wonderful. Cathy Westby is brilliant with the children and gets so much out of them.’
Vicky Goodson, Creative Partnerships Coordinator, Fifth Avenue Primary School
‘A project like this helps to give the children pride in their school and their environment and confidence in what they can do to change things.’
Cathy Westby, Credo Arts Community
‘I was particularly impressed with the questions the children asked me when I was being interviewed. It was a fantastic experience for me and I would love to do it in other schools.’
PC Ian Wallis, Behaviour Education Support Team