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Junior School activities celebrate Black History Month

Black History Month 2021 - display in reception

A wide range of Black History Month activities across the Junior School expanded pupils’ knowledge and understanding.

Children in each year group were given a black role model to find out more about. Once they had completed their research, they created wonderful work that was displayed in the reception area.

Year One enjoyed learning about the artist Sonia Boyce. They discovered a number of things about Sonia’s life and studied her works of art. One of these pieces, ‘Pillowcase’, inspired the girls and boys to make t-shirts using a similar pattern and colours.

The Year One children also wrote a report about Sir Lewis Hamilton. They found out that he is the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1. He also launched Mission 44, a charitable foundation to help young people from underrepresented backgrounds into science, technology, engineering and mathematics and pledged £20m of his own money to help narrow the education and employment gap.

Year Two children used the picture book ‘Ready, Steady, Mo!’ as the starting point for their lessons about Sir Mo Farah and his achievements.

The pupils were fascinated and inspired by his life and his dedication to his sport. They were keen to learn many facts about his life and his decision to become a middle and long distance runner.

Year Five studied ‘Coming to England’, a memoir written by Floella Benjamin about her journey from Trinidad to London.

5C looked at the section of the book where Floella was living in Trinidad, 5S discussed Floella’s journey to England and 5W talked about how she had to adapt to life in a new country.

After reading the text, they picked the parts that they thought were the most significant and represented them in picture form.

In Music, Year Five pupils explored the history of black music as it travelled and developed from Africa, across the Atlantic to America.

Pupils learnt about the trans-Atlantic slave trade and about the life of John Newton – a slave trader turned vicar and campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade.

They sung African folk songs, hymns, jazz and gospel songs and also listened and analysed recordings of blues and jazz musicians. The children gained an understanding about how music was used in peaceful protest and explored 12 bar blues, rock and roll and Motown.

Nursery boys and girls enjoyed the story ‘Baby Goes to Market’.

The story tells the tale of ‘Baby’ who eats one of every food given to him by the market sellers without ‘Mama’ knowing. This sparked lots of imaginative play and talk as the home corner was filled with the foods from the market. The chin chin biscuits and coconuts fascinated the children and they had lots of fun carrying ‘baby’ in their own sling.

The children also painted their own African pattern after noticing the patterns on Mama’s skirt and asked how to carry a basket on their head.

Finally, high profile and award-winning barrister Sally Penni MBE delivered an engaging and inspiring assembly.

Sally leads on, champions and supports a wide range of diversity related initiatives and projects and has produced a book, specifically for children, called ‘Where Are You From?’ which celebrates black British history.

The book uncovers some unexpected allies and a number of our pupils have bought a copy of the book.