St Attracta’s Junior School is proud of its tradition in supporting arts education. Our ‘Arts Awareness Programme’ was conceived in 1986 to commemorate the late and inaugural principal, Ms Angela Lee. Her love of the Arts has remained a living legacy to the pupils of St Attracta’s Junior School through this long standing and ever evolving programme.
The programme aims to provide quality experiences and opportunities for our pupils to see, meet and work with artists across the areas of music, visual arts and drama. The programme supports in a real and tangible way the Primary Arts Curriculum. Arts education is life-enhancing and we believe our commitment to promoting and developing arts education in our school makes an important contribution to the wider goal of developing creativity in our society.
It has also helped us to forge relationships across the wider community. It has brought the Arts inside the doors of our school and taken our staff and pupils out to places of significant artistic interest. It would be impossible to list the number of artists that have visited our school since this programme began. We have worked closely with The National Art Gallery, with musicians from far and wide, with potters, with dance teachers, drama teachers, bodhrán makers, and drummers to name just a few. Likewise, we have hosted various ‘Artist in Residence’ programmes down through the years. Some past pupils, who themselves have become successful in some area of the Arts, have returned to work with or perform for our pupils. All of these visiting artists contribute to the continuous professional development of our staff and critically, allow teachers provide a stimulating and creative programme of work for our pupils.
In response to the ever changing demands of teaching and learning, the scope of this programme has been widened to support other areas of the curriculum in recent years. For instance, last year the programme funded LEGO and science workshops. This year, further LEGO workshops are planned alongside, Irish dancing workshops and musicians from Ceoltas to support Seachtain na Gaeilge.
This programme is completely funded in its entirety by an Arts Awareness fundraiser; a cake sale, coffee morning and art gallery where children’s art work is on sale. This fundraiser is held annually on the day of the Easter holidays and is generously supported by our pupils, parent body, Parents’ Association and the wider school community.
In addition, one of the highlights of the children’s time with us in the Junior School is their participation in our Christmas School Concert which occurs every second year. Concerts are held on two consecutive nights in the month of December, and are attended by parents and extended family members. All of the children are given an opportunity to express their creativity on stage and grow in self- confidence as each class performs its own individual concert item. The history of holding a School Concert in the school stretches back to the schools’ inception in 1977, and it is seen as a significant element in maintaining the traditions and culture of our school.