A scheme which raises children’s self-esteem through the creative arts took centre stage at an event on the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus.
Dozens of primary school pupils from four north Belfast schools demonstrated soaring confidence levels to an invited audience, thanks to the University’s ‘Sparking the Imagination’ project.
Researchers from Ulster’s School of Education have been working with primary level children, their teachers, pupils and parents in a range of creative activities to enhance teaching and learning.
The scheme uses interactive techniques such as music, art, storytelling, information and communication technologies (ICT) and drama.
During a special ‘Sparking the Imagination’ performance, parents and invited guests enjoyed a variety of digital stories created by Primary Two classes from Holy Cross Boys Primary, Holy Cross Girls Primary, Mercy Primary and Wheatfield Primary.
This was followed by a rhyming performance from each class on the theme of ‘a journey through the jungle’.
Dr Linda Clarke, Head of the University’s School of Education, said her colleagues were very proud to be facilitating the fourth successful year of the ‘Sparking the Imagination’ programme.
“The project team believe in the relevance of creativity and creative approaches in teaching and learning and the contribution that learning in this way can make to developing children’s overall confidence and self-esteem,” she explained.
“The project also believes strongly in the role that parents play as children’s first educators and we are pleased to have parents come in and work alongside their children in sessions.
“We have so far enjoyed creating partnerships between seven primary schools in north and east Belfast and a variety of creative experts including musicians, artists, dancers, actors, creative scientists, poets, ICT specialists and storytellers.
“We have been pleased that the teachers involved have found these experiences fun and worthwhile and will continue to use the expertise in their own practice.”
Project Officer Michele Long added: “It has been a privilege for the University of Ulster to work with these schools and parents.
“We hope all children enjoy and benefit from involvement in the project and will come to see third level education as something that is accessible to them.
“We have been very encouraged by the interest and support that parents have shown throughout the life of the project.”