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Can’t stop the Dancing in Dandenong

With thanks to Bennelong Foundation, The Song Room is now twelve months into the ‘Music Mates’ project at Dandenong South Primary School, a music and dance program with a particular focus on capacity building and mentoring for teachers.

In just 12 months, students have become confident bush dancers and performing artists, bringing the house down at major events including The Song Room’s 2012 Melbourne Town Hall ‘Australiana’ inter-school performance and the 2013 Education Week performances.

Delivered by Song Room Teaching Artists Colette McLaren and Jessica Mosca, the program has had great success in equipping teaching staff with skills and confidence to teach the arts.

Incrementally increasing teacher participation was integral to the project design from the outset, and teachers are gradually reporting greater participation in the program, using skills modeled by the Song Room Teaching Artist in their own classroom activities.

These improvements are enhanced by a series of Professional Development sessions designed to break down the barriers to teaching fun, engaging, confidence-building arts programs in the classroom. One teacher commented:

“(It’s a) very engaging program. I never realised how easy these activities are and I can use them in my classroom.”

During the last semester the aim is for teachers and students to take the front seat in driving this program, so we can be sure that Dandenong kids will keep on dancing!

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