Jacqueline Collier, Principal of St Luke’s NS, writes:
Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme to enable the creative potential of every child. Creative Schools is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The initiative is also informed by the Arts Council’s ten-year strategy (2016–25) Making Great Artwork: Leading the Development of the Arts in Ireland.
St Luke’s, O’Mahoney’s Avenue commenced our two-year partnership in September 2020. There were three phases to the project: Understand, Develop and Celebrate. The Creative Associate, Ms. Fiona Lawton, the school’s Coordinator, and the Principal planned sustainable child-centred arts and creative activities, within a set budget. Our Creative Plan involved as many voices as possible, pupils, staff, parents and artists. A pupil committee was set up comprising of two pupils from each class to facilitate a pupil voice, and a podcast gave the pupils a channel to express what “creativity” meant to them. There were many successful collaborative aspects of this plan, which included the formation of an outdoor classroom, creativity at home projects, a senior photography project, outdoor planting and the creation of an outdoor mosaic. This latter project invited each pupil and member of staff to imprint their own design onto a ceramic tile (20cm by 20cm). A botanical/ nature theme was chosen to integrate learning with the Green Schools Initiative. Artist Treasa O’Malley guided our project through each stage: designing, creating and the firing of all eighty-nine tiles. The outdoor area was prepared and the tiles attached.
On Friday, 20th May we celebrated our creativity and expression and held a “Creative Celebration Day” displaying our finished projects to each other and parents. Pupils wore their personally designed tie-dyed t-shirts (another project), performed a drama, created under a Teacher Artist Project, sang under the direction of Mr. Peter Stobart (Director of music in St Fin barre’s Cathedral, Cork) and played their tin whistles, with gusto. The culmination of the day was the cutting of the ribbon by Fiona Lawton to officially open our outdoor area and mark the end of our two-year projects.
It was a truly rewarding project, funded and supported by the Arts Council, and an incredible creative and learning experience for each pupil.