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10

D R A G O N S T O D AY S U M M E R 2 0 1 7

11

D R A G O N S T O D AY S U M M E R 2 0 1 7

L I T T L E D R A G O N S

earning a musical

instrument develops

a wide range of skills

in children. Music is a central

part to life at the Dragon:

Four out of five children play

an instrument, some reaching

Grade 8 before they leave the

Prep. The Pre-Prep music

department lays the foundation

for this musical success, and

recognises the value of music

in the broader development of

children.

Music is embedded in every child’s

education at the Pre-Prep. The music

department believe that through

music children flourish in all aspects

of their education. Part of this is

helping a child identify an instrument

they genuinely enjoy and learn to

perform with confidence: “We believe

that performing both solo and with

ensembles can, and should, be a rich

and rewarding experience, enabling

each child to gain in confidence and

self-esteem”.

I like to think that we ‘smuggle’ music

into the child through fun activities

and games; bringing about deeper

understanding through progression

to more conscious learning, as the

children’s skills develop. Once a child

reaches Year 2, they embark on a series

of instrumental taster sessions in a

wide variety of instruments including

strings, keyboard and percussion.

In Year 3, they are offered wind

instruments,theythenbeginindividual

instrumental

lessons.

Individual

tuition is supported through Music

Makers where children learn to play

in an ensemble developing skills such

as communication, co-operation,

listening skills, team mentality, which

develops increased social skills and

confidence. Morning practices are

also run which provide an opportunity

for parents to experience their child’s

learning and enable them to be part

of the process and have the skills to

support practice at home. This has

proven enormously successful and as

a result we have thriving ensembles

which are rarely seen in this age group.

The children’s confidence, social

skills, and willingness to try new things

is evident and has spilt over their entire

education.

Christina Connell,

Head of Pre-Prep Music

Professor Susan Hallam, MBE, who

undertook comprehensive research for

the Institute of Education echoes their

vision:

The

research

shows

there

is

compelling evidence for the benefits

of music education on a wide range of

skills including: listening skills which

support the development of language

skills, awareness of phonics and

enhanced literacy; spatial reasoning

which supports the development

of some mathematical skills; and

where musical activities involve

working in groups, a wide range of

personal and social skills which also

serve to enhance overall academic

attainment, even when measures of

intelligence are taken into account.

Thebenefits aregreatestwhenmusical

activities start early and continue over

a long period of time. The teaching of

music must also be of high quality for

the benefits to emerge. If the quality

is poor then the benefits will not be

evident.

The quality of music teaching at the

Pre-Prep helps lay the foundation

for the holistic education at the

Dragon. The experience of learning

an instrument includes developing a

learning relationship with an expert

tutor, the routine of practise, caring

for and taking responsibility for an

instrument, and performance both

solo and in harmony with others. It is

an experience that develops personal

confidence, team work, social skills,

understanding and listening skills. As

children practise their instrument

regularly this instils inner discipline,

and in an ‘instant’ culture, illustrates to

a child the pride and lasting benefits of

concentration, perseverance and self-

discipline.

In celebration of the characteristic

‘Selflessness’ and thinking of others

ahead of ourselves, Reception threw

a Tea Sharing party for their parents,

grandparents, younger siblings and

guardians. Guests came laden down

with delicious treats for all to share;

crudités, pizzas, pancakes, watermelon

and a rather impressive looking

pavlova! The sun shone all afternoon,

as did the smiles on everyone’s faces

as they enjoyed each others’ company

and the food on offer. In preparation

for the event, children wrote and sent

out invitations, created posters and

discussed the importance of sharing

and working as a community. The

celebration proved a great success,

and exercised the children to perform

generous acts of kindness.

PRE-PREP NEWS

L I T T L E D R A G O N S

Music is Instrumental to

a Child’s Development

L

Tea Sharing

The Creative Challenge was inspired

by ‘Caine’s Arcade Global Cardboard

Challenge’, the day was a fantastic

opportunity for the children to work

together, in mixed-age groups, to build

something awesome using cardboard,

recycled material and imagination. It

allowed the children to be creative,

problem-solve, test ideas, think of

alternative methods, analyse their

performances,

communicate

and

collaborate. The morning presented the

children with the opportunity to think

about

Global Goal number 5: Good

Education

. They reflected on their

education at the Dragon, as well as how

they can enhance their, and others’,

education.

Cardboard Creative

Over two weeks, the children celebrated

the world of books, which included

their annual book fair. Older children

and younger children paired up to

share their favourite story. Year groups,

together, created a ‘story in a session’

and children could choose a Ma who

then shared their favourite book with

them.

World of Books

Mr Overend (Prep School Teacher

and Illustrator) came to talk to the

children about telling a story through

pictures to inspire them to become

budding illustrators themselves. He

was greeted with an audience of many

different characters as children came to

school that day dressed as their favourite

character from a book. It was a delight

to see so many different characters,

including Harry Potter, Gangster

Grannie, Cat in the Hat and Where’s

Wally in the classrooms and corridors of

the Pre-Prep.

“It helps to develop a growth

mind-set and you just learn more

about the world around you”

“Makes me feel relaxed and happy”

“I’m in a whole different

world when I play my

Guitar”

“It’s made my dad more

musical – and my whole

family!”