Razzamataz are strong believers that performance opportunities give students confidence

Boosting children’s confidence with performing arts

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It is a sad fact that performing arts is declining in England’s schools just as countries around the world are embracing it. A recent report by the Department for Education stated that the most commonly withdrawn subjects are drama and performing arts, which had been dropped in nearly a quarter of schools.

But although the National Curriculum is struggling to find a place for it, performing arts is widely spoken about as being one of the most positive influences on a child’s life. In her publication, 'The Importance of Theatre and Performance to the Development of the Child', Professor Maggie Kinloch argued that the theatre provides a host of benefits for children.

It is not only for those that want to go on and make a career on the stage; performing arts stimulate all children’s creativity. It helps them make sense of their emotions, develops their ability to understand, allows them to face their fears in a safe environment, challenges their preconceptions about the world in which they live, develops their aesthetic sense, develops their language and communication skills, introduces new ideas to them and allows them to express opinions.

Although ideally, performing arts should be accessible to all children in state schools, the reality is that this is not often the case. This is where affordable, part-time theatre schools really come into their own. Razzamataz Rickmansworth is part of a national chain of theatre schools that achieved national recognition after a successful appearance of BBC’s Dragons’ Den and Duncan Bannatyne became an investor.

Razzamataz encourages all children and young people to try their hand at performing arts because, as well as it being thoroughly enjoyable, it has also been shown to have a significant impact on the process of improving literacy levels in children. The Talk for Writing approach, which has been advocated by writer, poet and educational consultant Pie Corbett, includes ‘imitation’ or experiencing and learning a text orally, which Corbett believes is central to improving writing.

For boys, who especially struggle with literacy, an action research project by the Lancashire Literacy team, which focused on improving boy’s writing through visual literacy and drama found that: “Stimulus from drama and visual approaches has also resulted in a greater control of voice, style and pace, and a positive attitude to writing for specific purposes.”

Educational achievement aside, what performing arts ultimately give children, are the skills in which to better express themselves, leading to increased confidence and self-esteem.

“The most rewarding part of my job is watching the progress of some of our shyest students,” says Lisa Roberts, Principal of Razzamataz Rickmansworth. “Some children join us being painfully shy and are unable to let their parents leave the classroom but within just a few short weeks, they make fantastic progress because they are having so much fun. It is these same students that are more than happy to stand on the stage at our end of year presentation and perform confidently to a very enthusiastic audience.”

Parents are quick to support this with many having seen their children blossom in confidence since attending Razzamataz. "From a parental perspective, I have seen Lexe grow in confidence and maturity and we have no doubt that your classes have contributed to that,” says Colette Alaway, parent at Razzamataz Rickmansworth. “It has been very special watching her perform on stage at the shows and I know she has gained a great deal, can I please take this opportunity to thank you and your wonderful Razz team for all your support towards Lexe. Joining Razz at the beginning of the year has been so good for her. Even her teachers have commented how much her self-confidence has grown; she even demonstrated some of the 'show me' song/dance in class!"

Razzamataz is especially proud of their reputation as a theatre school that gives its students the chance to regularly perform. “We believe that performance really brings out the confidence in children,” says Lisa. “Even our shyest students gets a real buzz out of it and for all students it is such a sense of teamwork and achievement which makes everyone involved very proud.”

Razzamataz Theatre Schools offer exceptional part-time training in dance, drama and singing together with exciting opportunities to perform. Classes are for children from age 4 to 18 and allow students to experience a range of performance styles from classic West End musical theatre to funky street dance.

To book a FREE trial session for the main school or to find out more information about Razzamataz Rickmansworth email rickmansworth@razzamataz.co.uk. Alternatively call 01923 770736 / 07940 801467 or visit www.razzamataz.co.uk

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