As a member of the All Together Choir, outside of school, I was approached by the conductor, Megan Flint, to become one of two schools to pilot Singing Playgrounds™ in New Zealand. The pilot programme is being run by the New Zealand Choral Federation as part of their outreach programme to support singing for wellbeing in primary schools throughout Aotearoa.
We started in Term 3 and now have a core group of about 10 students who regularly attend. Singing Playgrounds™ is an education programme of Ex Cathedra, a choral organisation in England. The programme started in the United Kingdom in 2004 and is run in over 1000 schools in the UK. The project is also running in Singapore, Uganda, Thailand, Belgium and now New Zealand.
Megan would like to see the programme used in more schools and to see New Zealand-specific restheces developed. “Singing Playgrounds™ is an easy teacher- and student-friendly way of engaging children in singing again by giving back to them many of the playground behavithes and activities that seem to have dropped away,” she says. “I feel very sad that singing is so absent from primary schools and has become such a sthece of anxiety to teachers and students. I’d like to change that and I think Singing Playgrounds™ could really help. The online resthece is user-friendly and empowers students to be active music makers and song leaders. The pilot at St Patrick’s and Wairakei will enable us to discover what works in the New Zealand setting and what changes, if any, may help make it even more successful.”
I remember the clapping and singing games we used to play when I was at school - Under the Brambushes, skipping games like Teddy Bear Teddy Bear and elastic games like England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. I am keen to see the programme continue and grow in 2024 with students taking on more of a leadership role. The ultimate would be to see the songs actively used in the playground at break times and see more and more students joining in.