Holiday School Happenings

Holiday School Happenings

Following a busy week leading a Unique Voice Summer school in South Bristol, this week Sarah blogs about the impact the programme had on all involved.

Last Monday I watched 23 children nervously enter the scout hut, looking around to see how many familiar faces were there. Some had children from their classes there, others knew siblings, some may have recognised children from their school in different year groups, and others knew no-one. During that first morning a couple of voices were barely audible, and some of the children were clearly pushing themselves to be more confident than they felt.

However, by Thursday morning we couldn’t shut them up, (not that we tried too hard!) In just a few hours we saw friendships blossom, voices grow and could see the children becoming more and more relaxed around each other.

Throughout the week we worked with the children on a variety of activities which all centred around our theme for the week- Toy Story! The children made up their own scenes inspired by the characters from the films, learnt some script from the first movie and took part in arts and crafts activities such as making their own Mr Potato Head (who in this instance revealed his talents as a Vegas showgirl, donned a beret, did a workout and graduated- complete with a diploma!).

From day one it was clear we were working with an incredibly creative bunch; almost all of the material that they proudly shared with their friends and family on Thursday afternoon came from them. They had thought hard about the ideas and worked brilliantly together to bring those ideas to life. Not only were the children full of ideas and energy (which may have had something to do with the tuck shop we opened at lunchtimes..).

They also showed themselves to be incredibly kind, generous and welcoming to each other. Whilst these are qualities I always encourage as a leader, ultimately it has to come from the children, and they showed these traits instantly and consistently.

The children attending were from a range of schools in South Bristol, some signed up independently, whilst others were specifically chosen by their school as being children who would benefit from the programme for varying individual reasons. It struck me that these schools had chosen incredibly well; so many of the children there showed such a shift in confidence over the course of the week and simply shone in the performance on Thursday afternoon.

At the very start of the week we asked the children to fill in a short questionnaire and identify an aim for themselves for the course of the week. These ranged from ‘be more confident’, ‘do good acting’ to ‘make new friends’, and from where I was standing every child achieved his or her goal. Whether it was a child opting to take lines of script that they would usually shy away from, giving a wonderful performance, speaking on stage in a voice louder than a whisper or forming great friendships with those around them- I was immensly proud of every single child who took part.

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