As we wrap up the first full year of our Digital Primaries programme, it is a great time to reflect on how the programme has developed and how we’ve been able to engage primary school children to understand cross-curriculum topics through the expressive form of dance.
Digital Primaries is a digital dance education programme for primary schools, which provides high quality, creative and regular dance classes for Years 1-6. Dance classes are streamed from DanceEast’s Jerwood DanceHouse into primary schools, live, and to multiple schools at the same time, making the programme easy to access and affordable for individual schools. Approximately 1,350 children and at least 50 teachers have engaged across the academic year 2022-23, most of them several times.
It’s brilliant to be able to see progress both from children and teachers.’ Wendy Steatham, Dance Artist and Curriculum Lead
We have created 40 different lessons across Key Stage 1 and 2, designed, developed, and delivered by 4 dance education specialists. This term, science topics covered included plant structures and classification of natural organisms. Other highlights included learning about pioneering scientist Mary Anning & Fossils for the International Day of Women & Girls in Science and learning about the Big Garden Birdwatch.
‘We had six classes… about 180 kids in two hours, all engaging, all enjoying… there was one key magic moment – something to feel really proud of: we were talking about murmurations and how we can build that, and there were three class teachers guiding their students all over the hall, swooping and diving and weaving, just like a murmuration, really enjoying it.’ Tom Hobden, Lead Artist
We have put accessibility of content at the heart of planning to ensure as many children as possible can engage and benefit from the programme. We have run almost 200 sessions across the academic year for primary school classes, and 3 CPD sessions for teachers. The programme is designed so that any primary school can access it. The most popular sessions had 5 classes from 5 different schools simultaneously successfully taking part, engaging, and dancing. This year, the schools that have taken part have been based in East Anglia, but the resource is fully accessible digitally and so we’d love to expand to schools all around the country.
‘We don’t have a dance specialist as a teacher to kind of upskill us to be able to then deliver an effective dance curriculum to the children… [Digital Primaries] give[s] us the resources and confidence to be able to that successfully’ – Teacher Interview
We look forward to seeing how the programme develops even further in this next year.
Schools can now sign up for the academic year 2023-24 and you can find out more here.