Encouraging creativity and innovation through the arts
I HAVE been a creative arts educator in drama and music for over 20 years and can attest to the important role that the arts plays in creating a sense of well-being and connection in schools and local communities.
Through my work as a teacher at Boronia Park Public School and a volunteer parent music coordinator at Hunters Hill High School, I have had the opportunity to promote participation in the arts at many levels.
These quality public schools, along with other local schools in the Hunters Hill area, have wonderful teachers and parents who work together to create learning environments in which young people can thrive.
A key element in creating a rich and inclusive school culture is the provision of in-class and extra-curricular drama, music, visual arts and dance programs.
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PARTICIPATION IN the arts encourages creativity, innovation, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.
Engagement with the arts allows people to appreciate and understand the different cultures and values of our diverse society.
As with sport, being part of the school band or the string ensemble or the drama or dance group means that you are part of a team working together to achieve an outcome.
Performing at the school concert or Variety Night can boost your self-esteem, create a sense of belonging and empower you to take risks, aim high and give other activities a go.
It’s not just young people in schools who benefit from being active participants in the arts.
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THE MAMAS & The Mamas choir started when a group of Boronia Park parents asked me to get a choir up-and-running as they could see how much fun the kids were having and thought they would too!
Ten years later and we’re still going strong, with over 40 choir members of different ages rehearsing and performing together, sometimes accompanied by local parent band Muc Dubh, and always with a sense of joy and connection.
We’ve raised over $50,000 for charities and local organisations such as Giant Steps and Sydney Community Services, and look forward to another ten years of music-making.
As Hunters Hill Citizen of the Year I am eager to continue to find ways to engage with the local community through the arts, and to advocate for the very valuable role it plays in education and, indeed, in life.
JENNY NYLAND is the current Hunters Hill Citizen of the Year