Carousel Days in Schools

[ Facilitators gathered onstage for a Carousel Day Wow Assembly ]

"It's so great that the children get to see something real that's not screen-based for once!"

A whole day's educational entertainment for up to five parallel classes

To save you time and hassle of planning everything, we act as a one-stop-shop offering various design-your-own packages of up to five simultaneous all-singing+dancing, musical and creative activities for rotating classes over a whole Multicultural Day. See below for a detailed price list.

We begin the day with a Wow Assembly, where all the facilitators present a dazzling demo of their elite skills, to whet the children's appetites for the day ahead. While gathered together, I'll explain any techniques and protocol for the classes to save repetition later on. Then we split up into groups (not necessarily classes, but a maximum of 30) to do multiple parallel activities through the day, and then end with a final sharing. It's nice for the teachers to ask children to discuss their favourite activities during the day and hear their (often entertaining/insightful) comments.

Experience has shown that four groups works best in a school day, leaving just enough time for a final performance, which instils a real urgency through the day to get results! Facilitators can pick out star pupils from each class who've shown special ability, and assemble a school supergroup! Having an extra rehearsal just beforehand is vital to focus on crucial details such as stage position, and to refresh material, etc. (This can happen while the other pupils are gathering in their classes to discuss the day and prepare for the final parade.) Obviously if this is the plan, every class must learn the same repertoire, which may or not work so well for widely differing age groups.

Or alternatively, each facilitator could train one particular class to perform, ideally the last/longest one. Although bear in mind that having three or four performances can take quite a long time to get everyone on and offstage! There's rarely enough time for everyone to get to perform, unless we forego the last class. Sometimes we've ended with a group of African Drummers accompanying Streetdancers in a cross-cultural mix that allows two groups to perform together, while everyone else paraded in a masked procession - an unforgettable experience for teachers and pupils alike! Oh, how they change once they put their masks on! :-)

An ideal day's timetable for four classes might be:

Alternatives with longer/shorter sessions for less/more groups

Having three classes rather than four costs you less yet frees up time for longer 1-hour classes to go into more depth, and perhaps an extended final rehearsal+performance instead of the fourth class:

It may be possible to squeeze in a fifth group instead of the final show if you make the lessons shorter and can be flexible on break/lunch/home times and hall usage times (right up to 12 and/or resuming at 1pm). The initial demo is essential though as it creates a sense of awe and spectacle, and allows us to get everyone on board from the start and united in song. If we forego the final performance, at least ask the children to all wear their masks when their parents collect them from school - a great talking point! Please include your estimated timetable in your booking enquiry if it differs from the above, and especially say if you want a final performance or not.

[ Masked facilitators onstage for a Carousel Day Wow Assembly ]

Costs for Carousel Days in Schools

Option Activity Facilitator(s) Age range Cost
C1 Primary African Singing Pippa* Years 1-6 £240+travel
C2 Primary African Singing Malcolm Years 1-6 £240+travel
C3 Primary African Drumming Malcolm Years 1-6 £270+travel
C4 Primary African Drumming Malcolm and support drummer Chrissie Years 1-6 £340+travel
C5 Primary African Drumming Pippa* Years 1-6 £270+travel
C6 Primary African Drumming Pippa* and support drummer Chrissie Years 1-6 £340+travel
C7 Secondary African Drumming Malcolm Year 7+ £300+travel+drums
C8 Secondary African Drumming Malcolm and support drummer Chrissie Year 7+ £390+travel+drums
C9 Secondary African Drumming Pippa* Year 7+ £300+travel+drums
C10 Secondary African Drumming Pippa* and support drummer Chrissie Year 7+ £390+travel+drums
C11 African Mask-Making Jacky** Years 1-8 £150+travel
C12 African Storytelling Jane Year 1+ £200+travel
C13 African Dance Justine and support drummer Barry Year 2+ £300+travel
C14 Classical Indian dance Fabrizia Year 2+ £240+travel
C15 Classical Indian dance Fabrizia and support musician*** Year 2+ £480+travel
C16 Real Street Dance Helayna Year 2+ £240+travel
C17 World Music Soundscapes Ruth and Steve Year 1+ £280+travel
C18 Cosmic Sound Journeys Malcolm and support musician Chrissie Year 2-6 £370+travel

*Pippa is available if Malcolm is already teaching another group.

**Jacky's masks use recycled materials where possible, and usually just need you to provide glue, staples, etc. which most schools have - contact her for details once you've booked.

***Fabrizia can work alone using recorded music, but being accompanied by a classically-trained traditional musician is so much more authentic if you can afford it. How many of your children have ever seen a virtuoso tabla/mrindangam player in action?

Class sizes are a maximum of 30, although smaller groups often work better. Although bear in mind that I can only fit 20 larger size drums in my car, so if booking Secondary African Drumming, you need to limit class sizes to 20 unless Justine is also teaching African Dance and can bring the 10 extra drums, at an extra cost of £30.

Before asking if we can do dancing with Year 1, consider how hard it is to get a Year 1 class to stand in a line! Yes, we could do a simplified version if required, but other activities are better suited to their age group, just like trying to get Year 8 to sing is probably not the most natural thing in the world... ;-)

Decide which activities above you'd like, add up the costs and send us an email...

For example, a dynamic day of Street Dance + African Dance + Drumming + Mask-Making = Options C15 + C13 + C4 + C16 = £240 + £300 + £340 + £150 = just £1030 plus travel, minus discounts, to enthral 120 children for a whole day - that's £9 each!

Or, perhaps something more contemplative: Cosmic Sound Journey + World Music Songs + Indian Dance + African Storytelling = Options C18 + C17 + C14 + C12 = £370 + £280 + £240 + £200 = just £1090 plus travel - that's still under £10 each!

Or an exciting Africa Day jam-packed with five activities: Primary African Drumming + Singing + Dance + Storytelling + Mask-Making = Options C4 + C1 + C13 + C12 + C11 = £340 + £240 + £300 + £200 + £150 = just £1230 plus travel.

Fees may vary slightly (especially if projects change in scope :-) but are reduced prices compared to our normal All-Day rates, because we all love bringing multicultural multimedia extravaganzas to schools and really want to make it happen! Also, you save time and headaches by booking your entire Multicultural day altogether (subject to facilitator availability, so plan bookings well in advance). All facilitators are CRB/DBS-checked and highly inspirational!

At least one class teacher needs to actively participate, to ensure pupil focus and discipline. Teaching assistants should also be available to help any pupils with attention/behaviour issues and/or Special Needs.

Dance-based activities take up a lot of space multiplied by 30 children, so will need the largest halls in school. Other activities can be in classrooms provided the desks have been moved out to allow a large circle of chairs.

Justine teaching dance steps at High Worth Combined School

If walking is this good, how awesome can dancing be for our kids?