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Primary school aged children benefit from Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity behind Shakespeare Week (March 18 – 24, 2019), has set up a network in England of Shakespeare Hub Schools. This network uses Shakespeare to enrich the arts experience of children.
Six hubs have been set up across the country. There are 40 primary schools in London and Merseyside. Each hub consists of 6-8 schools. It works with creative practitioners from a variety of disciplines to give children a great first introduction to Shakespeare.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust delivers the scheme free of cost to schools, with support from Arts Council England. Twelve hubs will be available across the country by 2021. They will allow over 20,000 children to explore Shakespeare’s works through their creativity. It allows children to share their experiences, provides opportunities for teachers to continue professional development (CPD), and includes specialist training from artists.

Jacqueline Green of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Learning and Participation Department stated that “Children’s ability relate Shakespeare’s tales and dilemmas to themselves and their own lives can be a powerful learning instrument.” In order to help young people develop imagination, creativity and social skills, they must be involved in the arts. We believe Shakespeare belongs to everyone and not just the elite few. As creative practitioners, we’re able create new ways for children and adults to experience the work, stories, and heritage from the greatest playwrights of all time.

Many hub schools are going to be showcasing their work in Shakespeare Week (18-24 March), which will also include this year’s national celebrations that will feature the theme of literacy.

There is evidence* to suggest that young children are lacking in vocabulary. This can hinder their learning and have a long-term effect on their communication and creative thinking skills as well as their confidence. Shakespeare can be used by children to combat the word gap.

Jacqueline stated: “More must-be done to close the gap in primary schools’ vocabulary. Our language is changing rapidly, but the next generation’s vocabulary shrinks. This year, we encourage children participating in Shakespeare Week as well as our Shakespeare Hub Schools programme to become ‘Will’s Word Warriors’. Shakespeare’s imaginative, inventive language can spark curiosity in young minds.

Nick Gibb, Minister for Education Standards, stated that Shakespeare Week provides an opportunity to show primary school pupils the great works from Britain’s most revered writer. I am thrilled to see that these creative centers will bring William Shakespeare back to life for a brand new generation.

“Being proficient in reading Shakespeare’s works can open up new worlds of discovery and imagination. By focusing on phonics, reading comprehension in primary schools will help more children enjoy the joys associated with the written word.

Shakespeare Day

Shakespeare Week is a celebration of Shakespeare’s stories and language for primary school children. It will take place from 18-24 March. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust offers a free scheme to primary school children, their families and friends.

Over 6.5million children have participated since Shakespeare Week’s inception in 2014. Teachers and home teachers are given free tools to integrate Shakespeare into their classrooms. They also have the chance to explore Shakespeare outside of the classroom.

Highlights from this years celebration include:

Will’s Word Warriors, a series fun and challenging activities created by Professor David Crystal. These Forgotten Words are words that Shakespeare used in his lifetime but are not widely used today.
Walker Books supported the Big Shakespeare Book Hunt across 154 communities in the country.
William Shakespaw (2-year-old Golden Retriever) will visit selected schools in order to teach children about Shakespeare’s Forgotten Words
Children can participate in the Kids’ Zone online challenges, which include writing poetry, drawing comic strips, and even retelling Shakespeare’s plays.
Storytelling workshops in libraries across the UK. Also, craft activities at certain Waterstones stores
A variety of free family-friendly entertainment is available at Shakespeare houses, Stratford-upon-Avon. Activities include weaving a web using Will’s words, school Shakespeare workshops and making a carnival costume to wear at Romeo, Juliet’s ball. Or, you can take part in the Tudor Dance workshops.
Teachers, home educators, and families will receive over 150 free resources. These include a video featuring Michael Rosen, a children’s author, celebrating Shakespeare’s words and chairing a children’s Shakespeare debate. There are new resources available for teachers to enhance their skills in debating and exploring the moral dilemmas of Shakespeare’s plays.