*AD – This post is in conjunction with Stagecoach Performing Arts but all thoughts are my own
The Performing Arts and Children’s Health
I think it’s fair to say it’s been a difficult two years for our children. Missing school, family, grandparents and really importantly playing with their friends. Lockdown has taught me a lot of things as a mother, and it has also shown what is truly the most important thing when it comes to parenting. Children need to play, be free, run, exercise and most importantly be with their peers.
Clubs and after school activities have never been so important. Getting children to move their bodies, learn and play, really are key factors in improving and maintaining strong mental and physical health.
Last weekend, Aria and I were invited to a trial of Stagecoach Performing Arts. These are children’s acting classes at the weekend or after school that teach children all about the performing arts. These are perfect activities for children to build their confidence and mental wellbeing after such a challenging time. There are proven performing arts benefits, helping children’s mental health and, with one in five children experiencing mental health problems before they leave primary school, this is something that I think all parents are aware of, especially after lockdown.
Stagecoach Performing Arts Children’s Classes Review
The Stagecoach classes are three hours long. Broken into a singing class, a drama class and a dance class, with short breaks mixed in. The children are split into appropriate age groups, but there are classes from 4+ right up to 15+ so there is something to suit all ages. For her class, Aria took part in a stage one class for children aged 6-8 years old.
The day started with a singing class – Aria’s favourite. The children did vocal exercises which included movement too, followed by rhymes and some of their favourite songs. Favourites such as Moana were thrown in to really help with engagement and excitement. Aria won a point for her team for singing, so she was delighted. It was the singing teacher’s first day on the job and she did have a task on her hands as this age group were really bouncy. Although it didn’t seem to stop their enjoyment.
The second class of the day was drama. This was taught through fun games and challenges. Such as getting the children to think about how a certain emotion might feel and look. My favourite was the game of getting everyone to communicate without talking, it got them to work on their creative and communication skills and also think about expression, it was lots of fun.
The final class of the day was dance. The dance teacher had amazing enthusiasm and flare with just the right amount of discipline. Again the song tracks were fun and something the children could relate to. The dance moves were broken down into simple steps and pieced together, working towards a routine that I could see would come together with practice.
Each term children are given an opportunity to do a show for their parents. In the first term, this is a performance within their groups, in the second term this is production across all ages, and in the summer term a showcase of all of their skills (the order of the terms varies by school). In each case, all children have an opportunity to participate and teachers make sure that children are given the opportunity to demonstrate any particular talents they may have. This is great for parents to see what their children have learnt and a really fantastic way to build confidence and self-esteem.
It was an interesting dynamic watching the classes take place, as a spectator I could see within the groups a mixture of children, some shy, some very excited and nearly all of them absolutely bursting with energy. I could see the impact of lockdown. It was also clear to see how much the regular children enjoyed and thrived on the classes. They had a lovely bond with their teachers. They loved the freedom and structure of the classes. I watched thinking how bouncy the children were, and I also watched the teachers handle this with compassion and understanding. How this energy and emotion was channelled into something positive. How the different characters and personalities were embraced.
I’m a firm believer that children should learn more through play, and have less desk learning and Stagecoach gives them the opportunity to do just that. It is fair to say that Aria really loved the class and spent the rest of the day talking about it and sharing what she had learnt with her Dad and siblings.
We live in Bracknell and we participated in the classes held at Harmanswater Primary school, but there are Stagecoach classes held across the country if you would like your child to join. I don’t think you’ll regret it if you do.