PSE Funding (2008)
In 2008, Mayflower Primary School received PSE funding to develop its dance education programme as a niche. This funding was awarded based on the rich dance tradition and excellent dance track record in the school.
The programme, dAnCE@Mayflower, is part of the school’s ACE (Aspiration, Cultivation and Expression) Framework. Within the ACE framework, there exists a pervasive and progressive education programme for each of the four art forms. Ample opportunities are provided for the pupils to explore, discover and develop their aesthetic abilities. dAnCE@Mayflower is a structured dance programme that allows Mayflower pupils to encounter dance at different levels.
This structure ensures that all Mayflower pupils are exposed to performances by professional dance troupes through assembly shows and cultural learning journeys. At the next level, they are taught basic dance techniques and take part in general programmes that encourage the development of their psycho-motor and spatial intelligence. Through these experiential programmes, the teachers and instructors have the opportunity to identify pupils to talent and potential in dance. These pupils are then channelled in the dance CCAs available in the school.
The dance CCA programmes are designed to allow each child to work towards his/her own potential. They are groomed by professional instructors and represent the school at national/ international competitions, festivals and public performances. The dance CCAs are the main vehicle for collaborative efforts with neighbouring schools and cultural stakeholders of the school.
Apart from the ethnic dance forms taught in the CCA groups, pupils will also have an opportunity to pursue their interests in other dance forms. dAnCE@Mayflower includes a myriad of elective programme with modules in contemporary dance such as hip-hop and modern jazz. Pupils who have potential and interest in dance, but are not part of the dance CCAs, can also tap on this opportunity to widen their dance horizons.
Since embarking on our PSE journey, Mayflower Primary School has developed the dance education programme in these three key areas:
- establishing key infrastructure
- structured exposure and talent identification programmes
- racial integration within dance groups
Establishing key infrastructure
The two main developments in this area are the set-up of three dance studios and the refurbishment of the school performance venue.
By the end of 2008, the rooms used by the three ethnic dance groups were converted into proper dance studios with adequate dance and storage equipment. Below is a list of items each room has been equipped with:
- Parquet flooring
- Storage cupboards for costumes
- Sound system
- Ballet bars
Apart from CCA sessions, these dance studios are also used for the school’s dance enrichment and elective programmes.
In 2009, the school will also be refurbished to allow it to become a more suitable performance venue. A diagnosis of the hall sound and lighting systems has been conducted and the school is now in the process of confirming the additional items to be purchased and installed. These equipments will be ready by 29 May for the school’s 30th Anniversary Concert.
Structured exposure and talent identification programmes
Dance enrichment and elective programmes have been put in place to provide broad base exposure to dance, to identify talent pupils and to allow pupils to explore their interest in dance.
The Primary 2 Ethnic Dance Enrichment Programme was started last year with two aims: to expose pupils to the ethnic dances, and more importantly to allow the dance instructors to identify talented pupils and channel them to the school dance CCA groups. The school’s Chinese, Malay and Indian dance instructors were engaged to conduct the programme during the classes’ PE lessons. The school wrote to the parents of the identified pupils and the response was heartening. About 50 pupils joined the three dance groups at the beginning of this year.
In 2009, the on-going Hip-Hop enrichment was started for the Primary 5 and 6 pupils during their PE lessons. This programme aims to teach them the basic in Hip-Hop dance and to develop their interest in dance through a contemporary dance form. This programme will be conducted biennially and is paired with another contemporary dance enrichment programme for Primary 3 and 4 pupils conducted on alternate years.
Therefore, all pupils who pass through the gates of the school will be exposed to at least one ethnic dance form and 2 contemporary dance forms.
Racial integration within dance groups
Previously, the members of the dance groups almost always shared the same ethnicity as the dance forms they practiced. However, starting this year, structures have also been put in place to ensure racial integration with the three ethnic dance CCA groups.
After Primary 2 enrichment programme, the pupils were channeled into the CCA groups based on the instructors who identified them with talent. These pupils joined the respective CCA groups in Primary 3 and will specialize in a particular dance form. In the four years spent in the CCA groups, the pupils will be attached to the two other groups for a semester each.
This method of organising the groups requires more coordination but will ensure mixed ethnicity within the dance groups and allow each dance member to experience training in all three ethnic dances.