Inspirations - The School is Alive
This video describes a Singing Communities project devised by the education team from Birmingham's Ex-Cathedra choir. It is designed to give practitioners some ideas about how they might set up similar projects of their own, which can be done without outside assistance.
The overall project, Singing Communities, was backed by Youth Music and took place in 6 areas of the country. The programme looks at how whole-school singing can improve children's behaviour, raise esteem and help to develop a strong sense of community.
There is extensive coverage of playground singing games and whole-school singing sessions, which clearly demonstrate the community spirit and sense of enjoyment which singing can engender. Children and teachers describe their experiences and indicate the benefits in terms of personal and social development, confidence and motivation, as well as specific areas such as language development. The three project leaders describe some of their processes and strategies.
One important aspect of the project was that many of the songs were contributed by the children and their families, thereby creating a sense of ownership and ensuring that the selection of songs reflected the cultural backgrounds of the school population. And although singers coming in from outside school led this project, staff from within the school could lead similar projects. There are many additional resources (see below) which could help any classroom practitioner develop an appropriate repertoire of songs and games. Sing Up, the national campaign for singing, also runs courses which are aimed at developing teachers' confidence and expertise in leading singing with children.
This resource could be used in conjunction with Music resource 4 'Sing Up song bank' where teachers require examples of songs for use in their own school project.
|Links across other subjects within resource
PSHE education - activities involving collaboration, developing leadership skills.
Language - reference to how songs help children develop confidence with words.
PE - co-ordination required for the physical actions which form part of many of the games.
Possible extension into Geography (singing games from different cultures) and History (singing games from the past).
Other useful sites:
- Sing Up national campaign to promote singing with primary-age children www.singup.org
- Ex Cathedra Singing Playgrounds work with schools to promote a sustained approach to singing games and activities www.ex-cathedra.co.uk
- Playground Song Book - A collection of 15 songs for KS 1, created by Sue Nicholls and published by Music Education Supplies www.mesdirect.com
- Primary Subjects - Issue 4: Learning Outside the Classroom. The music section contains two playground games contributed by Sue Nicholls www.name.org.uk click on 'Projects' then 'CfSA Primary Subjects' Issue 4
- QCDA Scheme of work for music: Unit 14: Salt, Pepper, Vinegar, Mustard - Exploring playground games
- For definitive studies of traditional singing games:
- The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1977) / The Singing Game (1985) People in the Playground (1993) all by Iona & Peter Opie
- Singing for teachers: an Inset workshop, led by Helen MacGregor http://www.teachers.tv/video/2549