Students from Varndean College have been participating in the local Dusty Bluebells Project, a project initially set up in January 2018 as a 12 week pilot funded by The Big Lottery Fund, but which has proved so successful it is now run again this January and there are plans to offer it to all care homes and nurseries across Brighton and Hove.
The project was a brand new initiative by Belltree Music Therapy CIC where traditional stories, music making and songs provide a common ground for the old and young to be together, stimulating the imagination and triggering memories. The interactive sessions enable children and older people to get to know each another as they share ideas, memories and get to play together. Belltree Music Therapy was set up back in 2009 by registered music therapist, Tina Warnock. Tina invited Fleur Shorthouse, professional storyteller and philosophy tutor at Varndean College, to collaborate with her in October 2017.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas 2018, Fleur brought the project into the classroom at Varndean by working with the College’s Early Years students (both Level 3 and Level 2) demonstrating and teaching the art of traditional oral storytelling. Students enjoyed drawing story maps and working with stories. As part of their CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service), the College’s International Baccalaureate Diploma students have also made their contribution to the project by researching and matching care homes with nurseries in Brighton, Hove and Lewes. Year 2 IB student, Luca Oppes, matched a staggering 50 care homes with 50 nurseries, all within 5/11 minutes walking distance of each other. The College also has an Erasmus student from Greece who is helping Dusty Bluebells put together a new lottery bid.
Dusty Bluebells has recently been awarded £1500 from Chalk Cliff Trust, which will be used to run workshops at The Pines Care Home with children from Hopscotch Nursery, and hopes to involve Varndean students with many more projects in the future.
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