Building Creative Courage with Stagecoach [AD]
Shortly after starting school, we noticed T talking about a few of the clubs that some of his friends were doing after school and at weekends. Things like forest school, scouts and football were strong topics of conversation. With this, we started to think about something for him to do at weekends. However, if we were going to invest in an extracurricular activity we wanted to try and find something that would not only keep him active, but boost his confidence.
This month, T was invited to take part in a taster session at his local Stagecoach Performing Arts in Brighton. Before being invited we’d never even considered a stage school. T loves to dance, but never really had an outlet for it apart from the kitchen, so this was a great opportunity to shine!
T really enjoys trying new things, as well as meeting new people, so we wanted to combine that with something a little bit ‘different’ as well as something that may teach him some new skills.
Have fun, make friends, learn new skills and discover hidden talents!
With over 30 years experience, Stagecoach pride themselves on teaching their students so much more than how to sing, dance and act. They help them blossom. With schools dotted around the country, Stagecoach understand how to get the best out of young performers. They enjoy seeing their students have fun, make friends, learn new skills and discover hidden talents!
Over the past year especially, children have been faced with emotional and psychological challenges as a result of the pandemic. Lost learning and the mental health of children have been major concerns. Stagecoach believe that the performing arts are a powerful force that can bring young people back together in a meaningful and healthy way. It can help children grow into well-rounded individuals, bring joy into their lives and equip them with skills such as resilience, confidence, and courage to face life’s challenges.
During T’s taster session, he was invited into the ‘Early Stages’ class, which is for ages 4-6. This is where the children are introduced to the performing arts through a range of Early Stages singing, dancing and children acting classes. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how you get a group of 4-6 year old children to sing and dance at the same time, but this is where the magic happens.
Prior to attending, we were sent one of Stagecoach’s bright yellow t-shirts, which I loved as it immediately created a sense of community for those that attended. When we arrived, we were then greeted by teachers Red and Emma who made T feel very welcome. You could tell he was nervous, but he was excited to try something new. Within a few minutes the other children then started arriving, all of whom had varying experience and confidence depending on how long they’d been attending.
The weekly classes are held during term time and are split into three 30 minute classes (with a break in the middle) with equal time devoted to singing, dancing and acting, but not the way you expect at this age. For example, during the acting session, the children explored ways to say “Look, what’s that?”. With this, the children took it in turns saying it; with some saying it in an excited manner to others saying it as if they were sad. It was a very clever and an incredibly engaging activity. Other games throughout the session included games that encouraged imagination, as well as those that practised rhythm and tempo.
On the day we visited, the class consisted of 7-8 children with T being the oldest. This was because his particular class had just started, but for those that attended it meant that the class was really intimate and the children could get to know one another, as well as get to know the teachers.
Throughout the lesson the children were always invited to take part in the activity, however if they weren’t feeling confident they were welcome to watch or take part in other segments (such as helping the teacher). This instantly created a warm and nurturing environment, and by the end of the class even the most timid of children were dancing and laughing.
Speaking to T after the lesson, I asked whether this would be something that he would want to do again and he instantly said yes. He said that it was like going to a longer party but with more play and “pretending”. For us watching, it was amazing to see T so engaged in something so alien and new to him. Whilst he loves being with people, he’s not always the most confident when it comes to doing new things in front of people but he did so well.
“This post is in conjunction with Stagecoach Performing Arts, however all thoughts, opinions and images are our own’”