Junior School Arts
The children take part in the art, music and drama sections in the Eisteddfod each year.
Music is of great importance to the school. A comprehensive range of instrumental lessons can be arranged, for which there is an extra charge.
Choirs perform throughout the year, as well as flourishing instrumental groups.
Once a year the children join the boys of the Upper School to perform in the Elizabethan Concert at St James Concert and Assembly Hall.
Vibrant artwork is displayed throughout the buildings to celebrate the children’s creativity.
Drama activities are enjoyed by all pupils. An annual music/drama production takes place in the Lent Term for all Beechwood pupils and performances by Acorn House pupils take place in the Michaelmas and Trinity Terms.
Click on the tabs below to find out more about the different aspects of the Arts program at the Junior School:
We want the children to enjoy Art. Children are taught to explore colour, pattern, texture, line, tone, shape and form in a structured way. As they move up through the school, they revisit these core elements as they learn how to work successfully with different media and materials. We encourage them to respond sensitively to the world that they see, while learning to evaluate and critically discuss their own work.
The children are also encouraged to consider why people create Art and why it is important. The pupils look at the wealth of knowledge and ideas that have gone before us and how they connect to contemporary pieces. The study of artists’ work is often an important starting point for children and broadens and stimulates their own creativity.
There are a number of fun and stimulating activities that take part outside the standard curriculum, including art clubs, a special art day and visits to local exhibitions. We are lucky to have a very well equipped Art Room and our own kiln. Much artwork of a very high standard is produced by the children and is celebrated in the displays around school.
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato
Click on the links below to find out more about the musical vision of the school:
Music at Acorn House is full of excitement, variety and fun.
All of our children have access to weekly Music Lessons which are practically based encompassing beat, rhythm, tempo, pitch, duration and timbre using all the instruments available to them. Our children also begin learn to record their work using simple pictorial notation.
We are privileged to have a designated Music Room with numerous percussion instruments ranging from the usual tambourines and shakers up to the wonderful Djembi drums. We also have a large number of tuned instruments such as the xylophones, ocarinas, recorders, violins and guitars and the ever popular Boom Whackers.
Children from Year 2 are currently offered the opportunity to start learning a musical instrument. They can opt to learn the recorder, fife or piano, although from September we will also be able to offer violin and cello lessons.
Class lessons are practically based. For example:
• Pitch in Reception has been taught by using a toy mouse to climb up and down an upturned xylophone whilst following his footsteps with a beater to listen to the sound.
• Pace, Rhythm and Tempo in Year 1 has been taught by allowing the children to walk in enormous wellies, high heels, trainers, ballet shoes or flip flops.
• Year 2’s lesson on exploring instruments and symbols has involved creating an imaginary creature with a made up musical language. The children have to record the sounds he might make pictorially for others to copy at a later date to make an Alien Village Music Festival.
Our hard work culminates in a number of performances and celebrations. Our Year 2 classes participate in the Eisteddfod celebrations and we have had the privilege to bring home several First Class, Honours Certificates and Trophies and Shields in the Infant Unison Singing and Infant Music Making classes.
All of our children participate in our Christmas Nativity and Summer Production. It really is a whole school approach with each child having their own special moment on the stage. With guidance from our Music Specialist, Mrs Atkinson, each class choreographs their own scene. Parents assist with costume design and scenery and these together with the musical accompaniment and hearty singing tie the whole story together in a musical, magical and memorable moment in time.
We have the following ensembles and clubs: Full Choir, Friday Choir, Orchestra, Steel Pans, Samba Band and Junior Music Club.
Each week pupils in Years 3 to 6 receive: one Music lesson, a year group singing lesson and a whole school singing session. Year 6 pupils receive one Music lesson and a whole school singing lesson.
Our pupils, as soloists or in groups, play in school concerts and in the local community to the highest standard possible. Through singing and playing instruments, Beechwood pupils perform, compose and improvise music to an ever-developing standard and we aim to continue to raise the bar of our musical standards year on year and build a legacy of musical success.
However, all pupils can respond physically and emotionally to a variety of music from different times and cultures. Many pupils develop their confidence, skills, expression and awareness through solo and/or group performances. Many pupils develop quickly and others at a slower rate. We aim to be there at those occasions and celebrate every pupil’s achievement.
Many of our pupils develop their own musical compositions, in response to a variety of different stimuli with increasing personal involvement, independence and creativity. These pupils also explore their thoughts and feelings through responding physically, intellectually and emotionally to a variety of music from different times and cultures. Those pupils who display gifts and talents within this curriculum area will also be stretched by music in our school. They will be challenged to explore the boundaries or their perceived ability and shoot for the distance beyond their expected limits.
At Beechwood we currently offer the following peripatetic opportunities:
Singing, Piano, Strings, Woodwind, Drums and Guitar.
These lessons are offered by external professionals of the highest standard and lessons are conducted on a rotational timetable each week.
To celebrate the 450th year of ElizabethCollege, the Deputy Head Teacher and Music Co-ordinator at Acorn House, Jo Atkinson, organised a wonderfully memorable adaptation of the recording of Lloyd Webber and Gary Barlow’s ‘Sing!’ which showcased at the Elizabeth College Ball. It can now be viewed in the box above.
This involved both staff and pupils at Acorn House and Beechwood working together in a two-day workshop. The music had been arranged so that the music evolved and grew both in atmosphere and volume.
It started simply with Edmund Hartley playing the opening bars on the piano, joined by 5 year old Jessica Watson singing the first solo, followed by Solomon Shand accompanied by the Acorn xylophones and tambourines and clashing cymbal. Beechwood String Players and Woodwind then joined the orchestra playing in six-part harmony. The whole of Acorn House then sang the chorus which built a wonderful atmosphere before the steel pans accompanied our third soloist Sandra Robinson and then the whole of Beechwood joining Acorn to sing the rousing second chorus. The piece then ends, as it began, with the moving solos from Edmund and Jessica.
It couldn’t fail to bring a tear to the eye and marked a fitting show of unity and celebration.
Drama is incorporated into the curriculum throughout the school, particularly for Literacy and History. Role-play enables the children to develop their understanding through physical and emotional involvement while staying within a safe environment. In Year 6, pupils prepare for the transition to secondary school by taking a separate 35-minute Drama lesson each week. Digital cameras are often used to record images and video, helping the children to appraise and improve their practice. Meanwhile, sound effects and music are often added to enhance the atmosphere in the children’s dramatic pieces.
One of the wonderful aspects of Drama is that it offers equal opportunities – no child should feel excluded or unable to participate. It has no boundaries, retains no prejudice and enables every child to achieve.