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Let The Play Go On!by Caroline Hoile
Our most recent nativity musical, is all about an accident-prone dinosaur called Bertie.
In 'A Dinosaur Nativity!' Bertie dreams of being allowed to take part in the school Christmas play. His teacher believes he can do it - and gives him that all important chance. And in spite of ensuing catastrophies, Bertie perseveres and finally succeeds in his quest.
We read recently that a headteacher had cancelled the nativity show in his school, because of a poor OFSTED report. The children, instead, are to do extra numeracy and literacy.
We feel for the stress that the headteacher must be under, with the ever increasing pressures and demands from OFSTED. The cancelling of the show for the children can't have been an easy (or popular) decision to make. But our gut reaction was 'Oh what a shame!'
The traditional saying 'all work and no play...' springs to mind.
We're biased (of course!) but from the comments we receive from teachers and parents, it would seem that the school's nativity play makes the Christmas term. Each year, as we write and compose musicals and songs for Grumpy Sheep Music we receive wonderful feedback from teachers and parents about how much children, parents and staff enjoy our productions.
Not only are our nativity musicals great fun for children to perform - and audiences to watch - they are intrinsically educational too in all sorts of areas of the curriculum. We'll give just a few examples:- our story lines are well written. They are strong and appealing. We use interesting language and exciting words. There's room for lots of discussion - lots of language skills to develop.
The rich drama within each musical conveys a message to the children which is reinforced by vibrant songs. So there's plenty to think about and talk about too! There's a breadth of material to feed the inquisitive mind, and to catalyse and encourage that all important 'finding out more.'
Then there's numeracy, both obvious (and more subtle) to be explored. A bit of science too. Oh and throw in history, RE, a bit of geography, not to mention the huge impact of the creative arts.
Add in, too, PSHE and all the social and emotional benefits to children of taking part in a production as a member of a group, with the 'feel good factor' and boost to confidence that comes with it, and 'education' - in all its glory - is well and truly served. And magically, from the feedback we get, the children have enjoyed the experience...!
Teachers are ingenious and creative - they have to be, especially within the current educational climate - and we believe that they would be able to tease endless amounts of educational experiences from one of our nativity musicals.
But enough said. Back to Bertie, our newest creation, that accident-prone dinosaur. All he wanted was to be allowed to take part in the school nativity play. He was lucky enough to be given the chance.
We'll stick with that. The children will certainly be educated.
Who knows, the adults might learn something too!
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