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Dance and drama student runs fun educational workshops for children over Easter

Published: 08 April 2024

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Student Amy Pearson holding masks painted by children

York St John University student Amy Pearson swapped her dance shoes for paints and glue over Easter as she worked with local children in an exciting new theatre experience. 
In collaboration with York Theatre Royal, Amy – who is in her third year Dance and Drama BA Hons course - ran three workshops for children aged 5 to 8 years old incorporating dance, drama and art. 
The workshops explored the topic ‘What I want to be when I’m older’, with discussions and activities looking at what job, house and pets the children might want, as well as a fun educational slant considering the future of the planet.  
Children took part in activities that involved using senses such as sight, hearing, smell, and touch, interacting with various props and creating wonderful images and collages. 
The aim of the project was to develop the children’s understanding of the world around them, support brain development and social skills – but, most importantly, to be creative and have fun. 
Amy, who has worked in schools and summer camps in the past helping children, said that the idea for the sessions came about from observing how young children seemed to lose opportunities to develop during the Covid lockdowns. 
“I wanted to focus on something sensory, and I wanted the workshops to be about what the children liked, making friends and having fun – because that’s how I learn best!”, said Amy. 
“We explored all the senses, using props, arts and crafts and playing drama games, but I also wanted to explore the future of the planet, looking at pollution, and inviting the children to think about some of the plastic props we were using, and how plastic can be bad for the environment.” 
The work the children produced during the sessions will be exhibited as part of York Theatre Royal’s Takeover Festival in May, a week-long arts festival organised and run entirely by York St John students. 

Julian Ollive, Head of Creative Engagement at York Theatre Royal, said: “Takeover provides the opportunity for York St John students to gain real-world experience through industry mentorship, to follow their passions and take that first step into planning and delivering a project as part of a festival.  
“Amy expressed an interest in working with younger children so we worked alongside her to create this project. She has planned the sessions with our team, gaining ideas and feedback, whilst providing a sounding board for her ideas. We hope that this will be the springboard for Amy into her future career.” 
Find out more about Acting, Dance and Theatre courses at York St John.  

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