Governor Visit Report
Who: Tony Pearson
Purpose of visit: Year 2 Nativity
School professional working with governor: Jane Skinner
This was a much anticipated visit as a parent of a child in the performance who had spent many a moment in the weeks prior, practicing the odd dance step and singing an unfamiliar tune around the house. As a governor of the school I also had one eye on the overall organisation, attendance and impact of the event for children, parents and teachers alike
The performance this year was a clever twist on the core nativity story with a focus on a heart-warming theme of love.
New elements I’d not seen in previous years or former schools included costumes for the entire group, from angels to sheep and new songs, including my personal favourite ba-ba-bananas!
Often this annual treat results in shared stories of the slip ups or missed cues so common in the under-8’s performance, but not so here – the children (and teachers) put on a performance to bring a tear of pride and laughter to all parents packed into the hall (that’s not an admission on my part...)
The show consisted of multiple discrete segments tracing a well thought out, naturally flowing story to its conclusion. Key to each segment were the changing roles and degrees of involvement of each child. In each segment a specific group of children took centre stage and executed their respective narrative, dance and acting assignments, while those to either side of the stage took appropriate cues to sing a chorus and dance along in unison. I came away with the impression that every child had a part in every segment of the performance. Importantly (at least to me), I didn’t get the sense that anyone was made to feel like a star or an “extra” – quite an achievement for such a large group of children (…and developing egos…)
There was excellent support for the show this year with standing room only prior to ‘lights up’. That being so, it was noticeable and very impressive just how well organized and coordinated the children were, moving (literally) through many phases of the performance across the full breadth of the hall under the careful direction of Year Head Mrs. Canton. Praise must also be given to the Year 2 team as it was clear that a lot of hard work had gone on behind the scenes.
For me this year’s nativity was an example of delivery on the strongly held objective to promote inclusive values and diversity in all areas within the school’s learning experience. While the traditional story could be seen as a thread through the entire performance, this was truly a modern and entertaining twist catering to all groups regardless of ethnicity, gender or faith in my view.
Perhaps the unseen (except by me – I was sitting next to her!) star of the show – Mrs. Canton – clearly demonstrated the kind of understanding and respect for and from the children that made this Nativity the success it was. This year’s performance was a credit to the hard and effectual work of Mrs. Canton, the Year 2 team and the Year 2 children.
Finally I think it worth giving credit to Shakespeare Infants School as a whole for being able to attract, retain and nurture the development of truly top class teachers like (and not just) Mrs. Canton, who in turn are giving our children the best possible opportunity to develop and reach their own potential in these early development years.