Published on 27 January 2023
Students from the University of Sunderland are using their creative talents to help educate primary school pupils about climate change and sustainability.
A group of Performing Arts students are spending six weeks touring local primary schools as part of the EcoBods project and putting on interactive performances covering themes such as recycling, repurposing, planting vegetables and saving energy.
The aim is to engage Key Stage 1 children (aged five to seven years) with these important issues in a fun and memorable way by using dance, poetry, puppets, original music and narration.
D'Vorah Caldas Nogueira is among the Year 3 students performing. She said: “Climate change can be a serious and dark subject, so by transforming that really serious subject into a form of art that children can relate to and engage with in a fun and responsible way, really helps to pass on that message.
“We’ve all been children before so we know they can have a short attention span, so it’s all about keeping that energy going. They are not going to stick with it if they are not being entertained or having fun. It’s that element of truth – they won’t commit if they are not having a good time.”
EcoBods is part of a bigger project entitled LearningBods, which aims to engage primary aged children with areas of the National Curriculum through a theatrical interactive performance.
It follows the success of NumberBods, ScienceBods and HealthyBods.
Sarah Scrafton is a teacher at Redby Academy in Sunderland, the first school to welcome the EcoBods tour this week (Tuesday 24 January).
She said: "The key messages of Recycle, Repurpose and Reuse are delivered in a child friendly, fun and interactive way, and are aligned perfectly with our evolving Geography curriculum, where awareness of current environmental issues and climate change are paramount.
“The children are excited to expand on their learning, and as a result a whole school ‘Climate Day' is planned to allow children to explore the concepts further and get involved in making a difference to our world.”
Rachel Emms, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Performing Arts at the University of Sunderland, said: “As the University has a high priority sustainability agenda, we are keen to embed this in all practice. Therefore, it seemed the right theme to use for this year’s Year 3 Performing Arts project, which ultimately encourages children to help look after our planet.”