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The Balsall Heathan.
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Djembe drums were beaten, rhythmic steps were danced and melodic voices were heard during the educational week that took place at Heath Mount Primary. All learning was centred around celebrating the rich and diverse cultures of the second biggest continent on earth, Africa.
Heath Mount has 440 pupils who come from a variety of backgrounds, with different beliefs. In 2007 Ofsted inspected the school and awarded them an overall rating of outstanding, adding that they were “an outstanding school at the very heart of the community.”
This statement reflects the school’s belief in engaging with everyone within both the local and wider community. Educational events like the Africa week underpin this ethos and the whole area of community cohesion which the school works so hard to achieve.
The aim of the week was to give the children an increased understanding about life in Africa, erasing stereotypes whilst also enhancing their understanding about life on a different continent.
During the week students engaged in a wide range of activities based around the theme of Africa. This included tie-dying material; counting to ten in different languages; making African beads and necklaces; singing African songs, trying foods from different countries in Africa plus much more.
On the 29th November the school had a special celebration assembly where children shared with the rest of the school the work they had been doing and the experiences they had had during the week. The school had over three hundred parents/visitors on the last Friday watching the assemblies. This event highlighted the value which the parents place on such themed weeks and their level of support to the school in the education of their children.
Deputy Head Teacher Andrew Clewer said, “This special week has given our pupils a variety of rich experiences. Our children have enjoyed learning about different countries and cultures in Africa. We feel it is important to value the cultures represented within our school and our city. The hard work of the staff and the enthusiasm of our pupils made last week such a success.”
“We found Africa week really fun because we worked with an artist and produced a huge piece of African art. The week was good because we got to learn a lot about African cultures”. Added Year 6 pupil Dhananjoy Chanda,
From September 2009 Heath Mount will be following this model of teaching and learning – a thematic curriculum. We are currently redesigning the curriculum with themes which link learning to give it a more ‘joined up’ approach. Rather than have each curriculum subject being taught in isolation we will be linking learning, focusing on transferable skills being taught and then being used in a wide variety of situations.