Pupils at Cranmer Primary School in Mitcham have put on an original and artistic performance celebrating world traditions, following an eight-week residency with artists from ‘Cultural Co-operation’, arranged through Merton Arts Development. The Mayor of Merton, specially invited guests, parents and fellow pupils attended the performance.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council for England, Cultural Co-operation worked with year four and five pupils and teachers to explore traditional and contemporary dance, creative writing and visual arts from the Indian, Chinese, African-Caribbean and Islamic traditions. Sessions with the artists from Cultural Co-operation have been integrated into the pupils’ regular curriculum, to increase their creativity and build self-esteem.
The work created was based around the four elements – earth, water, fire and air. Pupils put on an extraordinary display of dance moves, vocals and ribbon dancing, all accompanied by lively music and live drumming.
Head of Cranmer Primary School, Val Kenny, is particularly enthusiastic about the benefit of this type of learning. She says:
“I strongly believe that children learn so much more when they actively participate in their lessons, rather than sitting back and being passive. The artists from Cultural Co-operation have really brought out the creativity in our pupils, though encouraging them to improvise and express themselves in their performances, artwork and in working together.
“If children to go back to their classrooms thinking that they really enjoy learning, then hopefully this enthusiasm will go with them as they progress through life.”
The next Cultural Co-operation residency in Merton will take place at Links Primary School later in the year.