The Primary Creative Arts Forum on Friday, 20 March was well attended by Principals, leaders, teachers and specialists in the Creative Arts across the diocese. Held at the Light of Christ Centre, Waitara, it featured Richard Gill, OAM, as the keynote speaker.
Richard provided a passionate call to arms for creative arts education, noting that through teaching the arts disciplines, music, dance visual arts and drama, we can reach children’s minds in a variety of ways. We can encourage them to think in the special ways of each discipline and we can instil in them a love of learning for its own sake, establishing in the child a desire to want to know more, leading to independent learning.
Drawing on his vast experience as a music educator, Richard spoke about the role of music in the development of the brain and the individual, while also advising that everything it does for the mind is a bonus, but not a reason for teaching Music. What Music should do for the mind is to make the mind inquisitive, as indeed all education should.
Delegates then broke into four workshops: Music, Drama, Dance and Visual Arts, which would be repeated again in the afternoon to give everyone a chance to access two different Creative Arts strands.
Nancy Cincotta from Catholic Schools Performing Arts Sydney, or CaSPA for short, led the Music Workshop to explore the skills and techniques in teaching singing. While the group had many talented individuals, others were surprised to discover that they all had a voice.
The Dance Workshop was all energy, directed by Dale Pope from REDed. The group learnt how to encourage students to become ‘explorers’ of movement and how to create choreography. The group were keen to suggest and promote a dance festival in the future for Broken Bay.
Iris McGill and Roger Wise from CaSPA explored dramatic elements and forms in their Drama Workshop, including examples for teaching RE through drama. Delegates were introduced to improvisation and looked at how to take an integrated approach to drama across the KLAs.
Artist Wanda Grein shared her creative skills for the Visual Arts Workshop. The group were shown techniques to complete watercolour paintings that can be used across all stages and subject matter. They also tried their hand out with clay modelling, making beautiful clay angels which they’re keen to take back to the classroom.
A group of secondary creative arts leaders and specialists met in the afternoon for the Secondary Arts Network Workshop, discussing the vision for the Arts as part of a K-12 perspective for the Diocese. They identified the talent pool of teachers and specialists already available in the secondary years that were eager to share their knowledge and experience with the primary schools.
The final plenary session brought everyone together in a reflection of the day, looking at the ways forward to support Creative Arts in the Diocese of Broken Bay schools. We can expect music, drama, dance and visual arts to strengthen and flourish in our schools and with our children.