KIDZART

WELHAM KIDZART FOUNDATION

We are very pleased to announce that the Welham Kidzart Foundation to be known as KIDZART is now a registered charity and its home will be at the Wye Valley Arts Centre (WVAC) in Llandogo.

The object of this charity is to advance education in the arts for the public benefit among economically and socially disadvantaged primary school children in Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and neighbouring counties by providing them with access to free creative arts-based activities including visual arts ( drawing, painting, sculpture and crafts), drama, dance, music, singing, gardening and cookery where their access to such activities would ordinarily be limited and to develop their skills and interests in the arts.

 

WHY WE NEED THIS CHARITY

The state school system has cut back on practical programmes in the Arts and the opportunities they offer for engaging feelings and creativity. There have also been cuts in physical education and all that has to offer in connecting mental and physical energies.

The cuts in the state education system have excluded the ‘non- academic’ subjects such as visual arts, drama, dance, music, singing, gardening and cookery. These subjects are difficult to measure and do not support standardisation. There are great pressures of national assessment on teachers and schools with the emphasis on measurable outcomes in the form of league tables. The system of assessment undermines confidence.

Not everything that is important is measurable and not everything that is measurable is important.  The problem is that a narrowing of the curriculum will lead to a narrow unbalanced education.

Through the existing state system society is becoming more polarised.  Learning in and about the Arts is essential to intellectual development. There should not be an exclusion of the ‘non-academic’ subjects in the education system. In fact there should probably not be a distinction between academic and non-academic as the terminology is misleading.

Many have seen the value of an education with the emphasis on creativity and there are now quite a number of private schools with this approach.  However, these schools are independent of the state system and require fees so they are only available to the financially privileged sector of society.

The kids at state schools have little or no access to the ‘non-academic’ subjects unless their parents pay for extra-curriculum activities. This means that kids from poorer backgrounds are at a tremendous disadvantage in their education.

It seems unlikely that the state system will improve in this respect any time soon and hence the need to set up our charity to help redress the imbalance and endeavour to give free the opportunities to the disadvantaged children that so many of their peers enjoy.

The joy of learning should be nurtured and requires personal knowledge in small groups where everyone gets to know each other. In teaching for creativity the children are encouraged to believe in their own creative potential, to understand who they are as an individual and to have the self-confidence to try.  Private school education knows the value of this and classes are small (usually around 15 children) and the curriculum covers academic and non-academic subjects.

Transforming the state system will not be easy and may be impossible but we need to try.  It should be every child’s right to have the standard of education provided for the privileged few in the public and private schools and that will be our ultimate aim.

 

WHAT WE SHALL DO

All should have the opportunity to learn in a place where people know each other well and treat each other with respect.  Groups will be small enough so each child has genuine relationships with adults and other children.  A personalised group will encourage individuality with a respectful, diverse, creative, exciting, and reflective approach.

When children find the medium that most suits them they discover their real creative strengths and come into their own.  Helping children to connect with their personal creative capacities is the surest way to release the best in them.

We aim to provide the right environment for stimulating imagination, creativity and innovation.

The word education literally means to lead out and all children have individual interests and learning styles. Education should be personal and personalised.  Learning should be seen as an investment not a cost. This may be a battle for another day with state system.

For the present we shall start in our small way here in our small corner of the UK, in Llandogo on the border between England and Wales to provide free educational creative days for disadvantaged children from our local primary schools.

 

HOW WE SHALL DO IT

Our groups will be primary school age children from four local schools with each school sending four children from one age group with one adult. The adult should be someone whom the children know well, such as a dinner lady, a caretaker, a gardener, a parent, an administrator or a teaching assistant.  The children, possibly two boys and two girls, will be chosen by the individual school heads.  The criteria for choice might be those who have free school meals or those who have parents who are on income support.  In any case the children will be those who would not otherwise have access to any extra-curriculum activities due to the cost of these.

Each group will then consist of 16 children and 4 adults from the four local schools, two in Wales and two in England. The four age groups will be 7 year olds, 8 year olds, 9 year olds and 10 year olds. There will therefore be opportunities for children to meet others from different schools and different countries.

The first year will be a pilot year and the funds for this have been provided by VW so it will not be necessary for the charity to provide funding for the first year of operating.  However, we can now set about fund raising for the work to continue in ensuing years. The pilot year will not only establish how much financing per annum the charity needs but will also show the costs, benefits and risks of the different methods of generating income as well as any legal requirements that the charity must comply with, including fund raising regulations and restrictions on commercial trading.

The WVAC will be able to contribute by donating profits from the holiday lets and the educational courses run for adults at the Centre. It will also contribute by the use of the building and for paying all overhead expenses.

Initially there could be 12 days per year allocated at the WVAC and the dates for these will be agreed with the heads of the schools.  As there are 4 age groups and 3 terms it means each of the four age groups will have one day allocated each term.  Depending on the views of the heads this could be a Saturday or a week day as they may or may not want the day to be part of normal school time.  Each age group will have 3 days per year with us (one each term) and will with their adult companion continue with their learning in between back at their own schools.

 

The following is just to be considered as initial suggestions of how the days with us could be made up.

9.30am           Arrival followed by breathing and stretching exercises - perhaps sun salutation movements or similar.

9.40 – 12.30  Four 40 minute sessions with 5 minute breaks for physical activity between sessions 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and a longer 10 minute break half way between sessions 2 and 3 when there could be a drink and a biscuit and a walk outside either in the field or round the building.

12.30-1.30     Lunch time including involvement in setting tables, cookery and learning about nutrition and healthy eating. Talking about different foods with perhaps tastings. Eating together and clearing away.

1.45- 2.30      Singing and Music. Everyone has their own musical instrument in their own voice.

2.30-3pm       Appraisals and goodbyes.

 

 

The four sessions might include from the following and possibly differ on different visits:

  1. a) Drawing negative and positive shapes from simple still lifes with charcoal and putty rubber through to line, texture and degrees of tone just from an HB graphite pencil
  2. b) Simple three dimensional modelling with self-hardening clay eg pinch pots etc.
  3. c) Experiencing colour using slides to show a variety of artists’ work; perhaps different representations of the same object.
  4. d) Dance and Drama. Learning to trust and support others. Dance training can give the opportunity to think and then make an action. You have to be able to sit still before you make a choice, actually stopping before you begin.  Like in an orchestra, it is the silence and stillness before the music which makes it and so it is with dance and life.
  5. e) Inspiration from the natural environment and experiencing our field opposite; planting trees say one for each group, recording the changes of the seasons, elementary gardening etc and using the natural world as inspiration for art projects.
  6. f) Food, nutrition and cookery which could result in constructive suggestions for our lunches.                               

 

PRACTICAL MATTERS

EQUIPMENT

Every child will be given an apron and fabric/canvas bag to keep their work in and the first session might be given over to decorating the bag so it will be personal to each. There will also be folders to keep in the bag which will take the completed work.

Special furniture suitable for primary school age children: 10 x stacking rectangular classroom tables 1200 x 600 mm and height 640mm in sunshine yellow with black frames, 16 no. matching chairs in yellow. The four accompanying adults will have taller tables and chairs.

We could also have small table easels and boards.

Lightweight drawing paper (80gsm) which comes in rolls 20 m x 508mm, pencils, crayons, chalk, paint and brushes.

A4 and A3 size sugar paper.

Self-hardening clay.

Projector and screen.

Floor cushions.

Children’s gardening tools.

Matching cutlery, unbreakable crockery, water tumblers and napkins.

Soap and towels.

 

STAFFING

The charity will employ teachers for the different sessions so possibly 4 could be needed, 1 facilitator, and 1 teaching assistant on each of the days. These could be paid as self-employed contractors paid on an hourly rate basis.

Initially, it is envisaged that a part-time manager will be required for the charity and this person will need to coordinate the WVAC with the charity, managing the funding sources, including the adult courses at WVAC and the holiday lets which belong and help to support the WVAC.  If you are interested in applying for this position a detailed job description is available.

Helpers and volunteers will be very welcome and the constitution of the Association CIO (Charity Incorporated Organisation) allows for people to join the charity as members. Members may also volunteer to be helpers. If you are interested in being a member of KIDZART or in applying for any of the above then please let us know.

Please also get in touch if you are interested in being on our mailing list to be kept informed of our progress or if you feel you would like to contribute or help in any way.

We shall shortly have our own website and email address but in the meantime please contact us through WVAC

We would be delighted to hear from you.

Valerie Welham

November 2021

Wye Valley Arts Centre, Llandogo, NP25 4TW

www.wyearts.co.uk

info@wyearts.co.uk