Exhibition tackles community issues through the arts

Year 5 students examine an exhibit on architecture.

Turning to the arts as a medium for addressing a variety of social issues, Year 6 students of Sir John A. Cumber Primary School recently held their Primary Years Programme (PYP) exhibition.

This year, students worked with the assertion that the arts provide a powerful tool to make positive change. The students conducted an inquiry on various issues and the current challenges associated with them, and came up with actions that could be taken to alleviate those problems.

The students used dance, art, poems, song and drama to express various societal issues such as abuse, crime, war, and bullying during the exhibition, which was held during the week of April 18-22.

“It’s a student-centered activity, and its aim was for them to demonstrate an understanding of the PYP,” explained Sir John A. Cumber teacher Annette Vaughan.

“The students identified a community issue or problem, and then organized themselves into groups to come up with strategies to address it.”

They were guided in their inquiry by mentors who included parents, teachers and professionals from the community who are connected to their selected issue. Miss Cayman, Monyque Brooks, was among the several mentors.

“On the completion of their research, the students displayed evidence of their findings in the assembly hall using various media,” said Ms. Vaughan.

“The students were able to speak intelligently to their issues of choice.”

Ms. Vaughan said the arts component has students planning and presenting a performance to share their message with the school, parents and wider community.

“The presentations embodied the PYP attributes, learner profile and skills that they have developed throughout their primary school years,” said Ms. Vaughan.

Minister of Education Tara Rivers, Ministry Chief Officer Christen Suckoo, MLAs for the district of West Bay and former Councilor for Education MLA Winston Connolly checked out the exhibition and performance.

The school’s acting principal Lorna Lumsden and the PYP Coordinator Steve Coles expressed their appreciation to the mentors and other contributors who gave of their valuable time and expertise to assist with the success of this project.