By Junior School Teachers Rachel Read, Jeff MacLean and Rosa Mastri
Artistic expression has always been an integral part of the Havergal experience. At the Junior School, students are fully engaged in creative exploration, whether feeling inspired by the outdoor spaces beside the new Dovigi Wing or actively engaging in art making, music making and dramatic play in the new dedicated spaces. These classrooms will allow us to push the boundaries of artistic expression and work to support the creative, physical and mental wellbeing of our students as they explore their inner artists.
Whether learning is in-class or remote, the Arts are alive and thriving within the Junior School and our students continue to benefit from the wide range of musical and artistic experiences offered as a part of the curriculum. Activities include learning to play the hand bells, creating beautiful stained glass window displays and discovering jazz standards on the xylophone/ukulele, which are designed to engage students in meaningful experiences that push them as artists and learners.
Throughout the Continuous Learning Plan, students have fully embraced the Arts and their creative expressions. Our Grade 5 and 6 classes enjoyed gathering virtually with Juno nominated Canadian singer and songwriter Craig Cardiff to dance, sing and compose songs about their love of the Junior School during Spirit Week. These sessions allowed students to build community across cohorts and engage in music making together.
Students in our Grades 6 Integrated Arts class also had the privilege of working with Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo, the ethnomusicology Director of the University of British Columbia and founder of Nunya Academy in Ghana. Connecting virtually with Dr. Gbolonyo, they explored the culture of Ghana and the traditional Boboobo dance and music of the Ewe people. Zoom sessions with him were a flurry of colour as students performed traditional dances with scarves, played singing games and participated in virtual stone-passing activities using objects in their homes. Working in small groups, students researched specific aspects of Ghanaian culture with the goal of educating their peers on the cuisine, festivals, climate and history of Ghana, allowing students to build relationships with their peers and feel more connected with the world during this time.
Sharing their work with each other in digital art galleries, students in Grades 5 and 6 had the opportunity to connect with their peers and the broader school community. Our younger learners in Grades 1 to 4 relished in time to sing, dance, create art and compose original songs using the interactive software Soundtrap. Grade 3 learners studied the indigenous artist Christi Belcourt and shared their newfound knowledge at a virtual Prayers. Inspired by the National Gallery’s 5-minute meditations, Grade 6 students created wellbeing exercises in iMovie to demonstrate the important and inherent links between wellbeing and the Arts. Videos such as these, created our Grade 6 students, helped them explore the power that artistic experiences can have in supporting wellbeing. These activities help to foster our vibrant community of artistry.
Whether on campus or at home, our students are excited to continue to push boundaries and engage in meaningful artistic experiences.