After much discussion and input from both teachers and children, we settled on the phrase “The Whole School Is Our Friend” for our annual project week theme last year. We decided that the best and most exciting way to develop this theme was through the creation of a whole school SIS song. With the support of our in-house musician and guitar club teacher Mr. Tolman, as well as the music teacher, Ms. von Boyen, music ideas and basic compositions were prepared. The children were tasked with discussing and developing ideas for lyrics related to the theme. Every grade discussed what their shared school values were before collecting these ideas, and developing them into the song lyrics during their English and German writing lessons. Slowly, our school song was coming together.
The plan for the project week was focused on the school community writing, practising, singing and recording the new school song. During the week itself, every class had an amazing opportunity to visit a professional recording studio in Zürich and record the lyrics they had prepared in their lessons. Every grade had a verse to sing that they had helped write, and all children would help record the catchy chorus together. Although this would be a large focus of our weeks’ learning, to help integrate our school song into our entire weeks’ programme, the teachers had planned workshops to continue the excitement and enthusiasm for our song into daily routines.
Workshops, such as painting and drawing, focused on creating bright and colourful record covers for our song. Instrument making and percussion workshops were spaces for children to design, make and practise with instruments. Dance (and drama) classes had children learning and sharing dance moves, which resulted in groups presenting their own routines to one another. Workshops on song visualisation had the children thinking about and discussing how the song makes them feel and what it makes them think of, and singing workshops presented opportunities to practise the newly formed song. We also had the amazing experience of having a local beatboxer present an inspiring beatboxing workshop to the children during the week.
Best of all, our project week ended with our annual summer festival celebration, giving the children a perfect opportunity to perform our new SIS song to all of the parents and families. The week provided some wonderful and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for everyone, but the biggest thing that the staff and children felt as a result of the week was an atmosphere of community and support for one another that has remained prevalent since.
The children continue to sing the song to end assemblies and school performances, bringing big smiles to themselves and anyone who watches. Lastly, a big thank you has to be made to Mr. Tolman who helped developed the music, fit the children’s lyrics to the music, and organised the whole school trip to the recording studio. It was an amazing and very special week, that has clearly impacted the children’s attitude to school community and collaboration!
Article by Dean Bradley, Teacher Kindergarten