Washwood Heath Children’s Centre

Project venue: Washwood Heath Children’s Centre

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Project outline: 12 week project to engage young people from 0 to 4 years, in music & dance.

Artist: Jag

For the first day of the project I welcomed the 3 to 4 year old children and their parents by playing the Dhol drum. This was to see the young peoples reaction, and also to get them used to the sound of the dhol.

The centre is all open-plan, so once the children settled in I started to play the Dhol from one part of the centre to the other creating a ‘Pied Piper’ effect. I had a trail of children around me and then we settled in one area and started to look at dance movement.

A similar induction was used for the 2 to 3 years olds. Here I set some Dhol’s in one area of the room and as I played, some of the children started to gather around. These children then had an experience of dance and drum through a series of interactive experiences.

That left the baby room. I had never worked with 0 to 2 year olds. Here I was looking for support from staff for personal development. Again I set up some drums, and because of the loudness of the Dhol drums I decided to use my hands rather than the drum sticks. This worked well and soon the children joined in.

I had 4 sessions with each group and worked with the young people creating dance & movement as well as creating a rapport. It was a great feeling to get a positive response from the children. Not only had they remembered the dancing and drumming, but comments from the staff such as “some of the children were impersonating me and calling themselves Jag”. Also some of the parents commented on how the children had taken the dance home and shared it with the rest of the family.

The project went very well. The young people experienced dancing, drumming and dressing up in Bhangra costumes. A few of my colleagues went in to the centre with me at the end of the project and we delivered a performance for the young people, staff and parents.

I had some great feedback from parents and staff and think this was one of  the most rewarding projects I have been involved in.

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