Our performing arts curriculum offers children time and space to play. In music and drama lessons they have an opportunity to develop new skills and experiment with ideas, taking creative risks in a safe and nurturing environment. Children are encouraged to listen in a deep and sustained way to each other, as well as to new sounds and stories. They learn to collaborate and support each other, and value the unique qualities they and their peers can bring to our work.
In the early years, we focus on finding the voice – enjoying the instrument we all carry within us. Everyone’s voice is valued and appreciated for its unique qualities. Singing together is the backbone of school life, lifting spirits and uniting the community through music. As children explore their own voices, they find new possibilities: novel sounds or characters that are great fun to explore. Children are encouraged to engage with their whole bodies: movement and dance are an integral part of our learning.
Throughout their Dallington journey, children have the opportunity to play instruments, from hand-held percussion to a range of pitched instruments. They learn the elements of musicianship through a Kodaly inspired approach: keeping a clear and steady pulse, rudiments of rhythm and pitch, as well as collaboration. As their confidence and expertise grow, they are able to accompany each other and play in instrumental ensembles.
They are introduced to a wide range of music, both in their classes and when we take advantage of the London music and theatre scene, going to concerts or shows when we can. Some children have individual instrumental lessons and are encouraged to do so.
Currently we offer drum, piano, guitar and violin lessons in school. Whether a child learns in or outside school, they are invited to perform for their peers and parents, either in class or in our regular concerts.
All children have the opportunity to perform in our whole-school productions, as well as in smaller scale assemblies.
The performing arts curriculum draws links with the thematic learning that takes place in the classroom, so children have an opportunity to extend this learning in a truly immersive way, and they delight in bringing what they have learned into our imaginative space.
We augment the Performing Arts programme with regular workshops from external professionals, such as Circus Skills, Dance Days, African drummers, jazz guitarists and world musicians. Children have a chance to learn something completely new – and enjoy making mistakes, as well as surprising themselves with abilities they never knew they had. Dallington children are encouraged to enjoy the process, without being too focused on the outcome, and thus are able to feel fulfilled as they learn. We believe this is a vital tool for life.