Creativity is woven into all areas of the curriculum at Gayhurst, offering children the chance to explore, experiment and express themselves as much as possible. Through being creative, we can encourage critical and analytical thinking and empower students through development of self-esteem. Creativity forges connections between the different subjects at school, and between school life and the wider world. Becoming creative thinkers enables young people to think and act independently and encourages entrepreneurial and innovative thinking, skills which are increasingly important in a competitive and changing world. We strongly believe in using the arts to engage the student voice and nuture talent and leadership opportunities for pupils. At Gayhurst we are increasingly utilising our connections with the creative community that surrounds us here in London Fields, through ambitious projects in art, music and drama.
Gayhurst has developed #TAG (our very own art gallery), with local art educators Art Hoppers. #TAG is a professional art space within the grounds of the school designed specifically as a showcase venue for the exhibition of student’s artworks. Three exhibitions a year are held in the gallery, with each exhibition focussing on a different year group’s work. The children really take ownership of the exhibition – hosting a special Private View for family and friends, where they serve refreshments and explain their work to visitors. You can find out more about #TAG at the dedicated website www.tagatgayhurst.uk .
Art is fully embedded into the Topic Curriculum that is run at Gayhurst. This means that children receive an opportunity to develop their artistic skills each time they study the Topic Curriculum and enhances the opportunity for cross-curricular links, further consolidating learning. Connections are made to artists and children develop their skills in their sketchbooks before having an opportunity to create a final piece of work. As part of our offer, each term the whole school focuses on a different artistic medium so that as each child progresses through the school they have opportunities to expand and develop their creativity the these specific areas, for example sculpture, painting or drawing.
In addition to this, on a yearly basis, each phase takes part in a workshop run by Art Hoppers that is also linked to their curriculum topics. This culminates in an exhibition at our dedicated art gallery #TAG with its own private view.
We also participate in The National Gallery’s ‘Take One Picture’ event through Creativity Week, during which the children spend an entire week on art-based creative projects linked to the image decided upon by the gallery.
Music lessons in the classroom, across the school, are based on giving children the opportunity to develop their musical skills in 3 main areas:
- Understanding of how music is created to produce meaning: using tempo, dynamics, song structure, sound texture (timbre) and pitch.
- Instruments: to use their voices and other instruments, including technology, to create sounds and compose music.
- Styles: Perform, listen, review and evaluate different genres, historical periods and traditions.
Music and singing is an integral element of the Foundation Stage, with children engaging in regular singing, clapping and dancing to enhance their developing language and number skills. In KS1, children have a weekly singing assembly and have visits from a local acapella group Apollo 5, when they learn more about performance.
All Year 3 children have weekly ukulele lessons. Children in Years 4, 5 and 6 are all given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument of their choice from: ukulele, guitar, violin, piano (keyboard), clarinet, flute or saxophone. Weekly African Drumming lessons take place throughout the year with every class from Year 1 to Year 6 receiving half a term of lessons.
Our annual Winter Concert, held at local venue The Round Chapel, is another opportunity for the children to work towards performing in a spectacular event, bringing the whole school together in music, song and dance.
In July, the Hackney Music Festival takes place and Gayhurst children perform in the junior and infant Singing Concert and the Dance Festival.
We have specialist dance teachers working at Gayhurst, providing Ballroom Dance, World Dance and Contemporary Dance lessons. Each term different classes have a turn of taking part in weekly lessons, ensuring all children have access to a range of different dance styles.
Drama is encouraged and incorporated into lessons reaching across the curriculum, from role-playing different historical situations within foundation subject lessons, to ‘hot-seating’ characters from texts, and ‘storyboarding’ through drama to try out creative writing ideas in literacy. The children enjoy these moments, free to express themselves in a different way, while the teachers can witness the benefits as children’s confidence and speaking and listening skills are enhanced. Furthermore, their ability to empathise is increased, thus facilitating more powerful and convincing writing as a result.
Weekly class assemblies are another chance for children to shine in often ambitious productions that showcase the children’s learning across the curriculum. Parents and carers are invited to be the audience and are always entertained. Classes in Key Stage Two often write their own scripts and devise their own sound effects and dance moves, so it is a collaborative and empowering process where every child has a role to play.
Design Technology encompasses a variety of different areas and we are fortunate here at Gayhurst that the children have opportunities to learn to cook a variety of nutritious meals with the Chefs working as part of the ambitious Chefs in Schools program.
We support the Design Technology development process of Design, Make, Evaluate through building opportunities during Science Week, Creativity Week and Curriculum Topics where from the Early Years all the way through, Gayhurst children enjoy a range of design and building opportunities with materials and processes such as junk modelling. Some examples of exciting projects include building ferris wheels with motors to spin the wheel from paper art straws, combining both the science of electricity and the build process of Design Technology.