Dancing gets children ready for school

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CHILDREN are dancing in a bid to get their brains in gear ready for a big day at school.

Year 1 and 2 pupils at Northern Parade Infant School In Hilsea start the day by dancing to two songs in the playground, in what’s dubbed a ‘brain gym’.

Jackie Smith leads children in dance before they attend class in the morning. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132633-1)

Jackie Smith leads children in dance before they attend class in the morning. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132633-1)

The dances are lead by executive headteacher Jackie Smith, who came up with the idea to let the children know when it is time to say goodbye to their parents and go into school.

She said: ‘There was a lot of traffic in the front playground and a lot of issues around parents not being able to park and children not being able to run around.

‘Brain gym is a really good way to start the day. I believe that doing these dance moves wakes them up and activates them.

‘I think it’s worked really well. The parents, now they are used to it, are quite happy with it.

‘The children get into class much quicker and they are more motivated, awake and ready to learn.’

Laine James, 30, from Jervis Road, has a daughter Lily, six.

She said: ‘Lily has been a lot more keen to get ready for school in the morning. She doesn’t want to miss it and she’s excited to see her friends.’

Lavenia Basiyalo, 37, from Normandy Road, has a five-year-old son Sefanaia who is in Year 1.

‘It’s a good way to start off the day. It’s a good thing for parents because we look forward to it.

‘He thinks it’s brilliant. He looks forward to going in and starting off the day with a dance.’

But not all parents agree with the project as some want to go and speak to the class teacher and hand over dinner money.

Helenna Knight, 28, from Jervis Road, has a son Alfie, five.

She said: ‘You are leaving your child to this dance. A lot of them don’t want to do it.

‘I understand the theory but the practicality isn’t working.

‘You expect to see your child go into the school and see they are safe.’

Hannah Cobb, 30, from Stamshaw Road, sends her five-year-old Millie to the school. She was accused by the school of not paying for a dinner – but the money had been in Millie’s bag.

She said: ‘It was really disorganised at first, it was manic.

‘But my little girl absolutely loves it and loves the dancing.

‘From a parent’s point of view it’s like you are just dumping your child and leaving them.

‘I want to make sure she’s in her classroom.’

Mrs Smith added: ‘We are a school that believes in our values of independence. The children can take things out of their bag.

‘It’s more the parents’ concern about not handing their child over to the teacher.

‘We make sure teachers are at the gates so no child can get out.

‘And if a child doesn’t like it we have got staff who will take them straight to the classroom.’