Primary Schools Promote Dance Programme

South Down Primary Schools Promote Cultural Awareness and Wellbeing

South Down Primary Schools Promote Cultural Awareness and Wellbeing

Primary school children in South Down have been enjoying a four-week cultural dance programme.

It was delivered by Downpatrick, Rowallane and Slieve Croob District Electoral Area Forums (DEA), in partnership with Jenna Finnegan Dance School.

Identifying a need to introduce an educational programme to develop cultural awareness and improve health and wellbeing among school children, this initiative comprised of key components to build on the children’s knowledge and appreciation for other cultures.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage pictured with (l-r) Chinese dancers Wei Hong and Michelle Mo of the Weihong Chinese Dance Group who gave a demonstration of Chinese traditional dancing at the cultural dance showcase alongside pupils from participating schools and local Councillors Gareth Sharvin and David Lee-Surginor.

It helped create opportunities for them to improve their physical and mental health, change their behaviours on food choices and develop new skills.

School children from St. Joseph’s, Killough; St. Nicholas, Ardglass; St. Patrick’s, Ballynahinch; St. Mary’s, Aughlisnafin; St Mary’s Primary School, Dechomet; St. Matthew’s, Castlewellan and Killyleagh Integrated Primary School, were involved.

The activity was targetted at pupils who don’t normally participate in mainstream sports activities.

They mastered dance routines in a fun and relaxed environment, which promoted team work, self-confidence and creativity.

(l-r) Padraig Bannon, Shea Morgan, Matthew O’Shea, Luke Rice and James Bannon from St. Mary’s Primary School, Dechomet.

Jenna Finnegan Dance School worked with each of the school children over a four-week period to choreograph individual and group dances, which incorporated traditional dance styles from a variety of cultures.

The programme concluded with a dance performance event on Friday 10 February in Down Leisure Centre where the children showcased their new-found skills.

Giving thumbs up are Leon Milnes (left) and Natan Biedrzycki of St. Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch.

Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage, said: “Understanding cultural diversity is extremely important and initiatives such as this are key to promoting inclusivity and acceptance of other cultures.

“It also helps in educating children on the importance of developing healthy eating habits and improving physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“The showcase event was extremely professionally organised, and I commend everyone involved in delivering such a valuable and inclusive event.” 

Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage, pictured with (l-r) Council DEA Co-ordinators, Katrina Hynds (Downpatrick) and Ellen Brennan (Rowallane), Cllr David Lee-Surginor, Cllr Gareth Sharvin, (front centre) choreographer Jenna Finnegan and some of the school children who took part in the cultural dance showcase.