Introducing the exciting new Poetry in the Primary Classroom project
Posted on 5th August, 2020 in News
We are delighted to announce our new Education & Outreach project: Poetry in the Primary Classroom.
This project, held in partnership with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), aims to support teachers to enjoy and to use poetry from Africa and the diaspora in their classrooms.
From working in schools over the past 3 years, we know that the SATs-driven climate means there are fewer and fewer opportunities for children to access and participate in the arts, and to express their own creative responses. As has been widely documented, there is an absence of texts by authors of African origin in the UK literature curriculum, a gap compounded by a significant lack of ethnic minority representation in children’s books, both in character content and as creators (Reflecting Realities Report, CLPE 2017; Representation of people of colour among children’s book authors and illustrators, BookTrust Represents, 2018).
Both of these challenges can lead pupils to disengage from the reading and writing curriculum, and have a detrimental effect on how they achieve their learning outcomes and make progress. We know that learning through the arts (in this case, poetry) can really lead to improvements by inspiring pupils to read, think and respond (A thing that makes me happy: Children, young people and poetry in 2018, National Literacy Trust, 2018). However, teachers often lack the time, confidence, skills and subject knowledge that they need to be able to deliver these kind of learning activities on their own.
Poetry in the Primary Classroom offers primary school teachers a rich professional development and learning programme, to build their confidence and creative teaching approaches. Working closely with poets from our Africa Writes festival community, we will deliver educational workshops with expert teachers from CLPE and design complementary resources to inspire new ways of working with African and diaspora poetry in the primary classroom.
The project was developed by our former Education Programme Manager Joanna Brown, and our Fundraising Manager Caitlin Pearson, in collaboration with CLPE. We are delighted that OIivia Danso will be joining us in September to deliver this project. Olivia has been a Project Manager in various sectors for more than a decade, and in 2019 she ran the BookTrust Represents project for BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. The project supported and promoted British children’s authors and illustrators of colour with school visits, mentoring, book promotion at festivals, an online community, and training workshops for emerging children’s authors and illustrators of colour.
Interested in getting involved?
The project will run from September 2020 – December 2021. Visit the project page to find out more and to register your interest.
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Poetry in the Primary Classroom is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.