Written by Tess Parker, Story Tiller Communications.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit home life hard. Multiple times, children and parents and carers have found themselves ‘locked in’ together. In response to this, IVE took on a mission to brighten up these penned in days. With a family learning focus, they set out to support parents, carers and children to engage with the Arts Award Discover at Home Programme. Working with regional artists, they designed a new logbook and range of online and video resources. Children across Yorkshire delighted in a variety of remote, creative, certificated activities. Read below to discover a teacher and family perspective from Newland St John’s Church of England Academy in Hull.
Devised by Trinity College, London, Discover at Home is a unique, remote version of the entry level Arts Award Discover certification. It allows children (11 years and under) and their families to enjoy a host of on-line creative learning activities.
As key advocates of Arts Award the IVE team understand the value it delivers for participants and facilitators alike. Subsequently, in response to Covid school closures, IVE worked with the Leeds and London-based graphic design and branding agency Buttercrumble. Together, they created a new, interactive, home-focused logbook to encourage children and parents and carers to complete Discover at Home remotely.
In addition, IVE commissioned other creative artists to produce a range of online resources and Arts Award Activity Videos to inspire family learning at home.
On top of their Discover at Home resource development, IVE invited several regional schools to get on board with the certificate. Settings were chosen with high numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals. Selected schools embraced this new opportunity to build family links and pupil’s creative exposure.
IVE knew that Arts Award Discover at Home would provide a positive and welcome distraction at this time. Pupils and families from Corpus Christi Primary School in Leeds, Grange Lane Infant Academy in Doncaster and Newland St John’s Church of England Academy in Hull rose to this creative challenge.
A rich array of work came out of the process. From exploring DJing skills, to delving into the world of the Mister Men, to researching impressionist painters. The beauty of the Discover at Home Award is that children can choose a focus that appeals to them. Alongside their parents and carers, they work through clearly explained and rewarding steps.
Each child who completed their logbook received an Arts Award certificate to celebrate their commitment. Read on to hear from some of Newland St John’s participants.
A teacher perspective on Discover at Home
Sue Kirk, Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) Leader at Newland St John’s Church of England Academy is a champion of family learning. She was quick to accept IVE’s invitation to engage pupils and parents in the Arts Award Discover at Home initiative.
As an Artsmark Silver Award school, they have ongoing commitment to creative teaching and learning in and out of school. However, the arrival of Covid-19 had served to undermine their arts provision.
“We found COVID 19 had a significant impact on many areas of the arts for our children. Although remote learning provided more opportunities to continue creative cross curricular learning, the engagement with this varied for our families due to several factors. These included the level of confidence within families to support specific on-line lessons and the emotional impact of the pandemic during the lockdowns.”
IVE’s promotion of Discover at Home landed at just the right time. Participating in the scheme, Sue noted a strengthening of connections between home and school. “I feel participating in the project provided an opportunity to continue to engage our families through activities that would be fun and easily accessible for all, regardless of artistic level or skill.”
The engagement in and impact on pupils and parents was heartening, “It was lovely to see the effort that had been put into the project by our families and it provided a great opportunity to continue developing children’s learning and skills. For some pupils it provided an opportunity to produce outstanding creative work. The celebration of this has no doubt increased confidence for children and increased our understanding of their artistic abilities.”
A family perspective on Discover at Home
Dylan, aged 10, explored the mediums of music, DJing and ceramics with his foster dad, Santino. His words are short but sweet on what the family learning experience meant to him, “It was fun, cos I got taught by someone who I live with who actually knows what they are doing.”
For Santino, as a creative practitioner already engaged in Arts Award delivery, creativity is core to his work. He had previously started teaching Dylan to DJ but he had not been old enough to complete an Arts Award. Santino felt the Discover at Home experience was really worthwhile, “I usually deliver the award in youth centres with groups, so it was easier to focus on one young person and take our time with it. I’d do it again given the opportunity.”
Santino and Dylan found the Discover at Home process enjoyable, and it brought them closer together. Santino also saw a change in Dylan’s focus and self-confidence. “Dylan needs lots of reassurance and often drops activities when he isn’t immediately good at them. He’s brilliant at DJing! He’s a visual learner, so being able to see for himself the results of his hard work and be able to show everyone at school makes him proud.”
As the world returns to normal IVE looks forward to supporting more schools to develop their pupil’s creativity through Arts Award and other initiatives. The team remain committed to unlocking the power of the arts during smooth and turbulent times
To find out more about the Arts Award and how you might get involved, please contact Aoibheann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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