Mardi Gras comes to Cowplain!

Mardi Gras - a cross curricular project featuring Year 5 pupils from local primary schools.

July 2018: Brightly dressed pupils from primary schools in Waterlooville put on a fantastic carnival at The Cowplain School.

The Mardi Gras event was the brainchild of Jodi Salsbury, Head of Lower School at The Cowplain School, who wanted to create a cross-curricular project focusing on the Arts. She approached the headteachers of all the local primary schools in the area to invite them to take part in this collaborative project.

Year 5 pupils from Denmead Junior, Hart Plain Junior, Hambledon Primary, Padnell Junior and Woodcroft Primary schools took part in a variety of workshops in preparation for the finale event. These workshops took place at both The Cowplain School and at the local primary schools and focused on the Arts – Drama, Dance, Art and Music. The youngsters worked very hard for months beforehand designing and creating masks, making mocktails, learning how to dance samba-style and being taught to play the drums!

Mrs Salsbury worked alongside Steven Smart, Year 7 Pastoral Leader at Cowplain, to lead the event which was held on the playing fields at The Cowplain School amid the glorious weather. During the afternoon, the youngsters, all dressed in colourful T shirts, also created a shanty town out of cardboard and played carnival-type games including Splat the Rat, Hook a Duck, Spin the Wheel and Unlock the Box, hoping to win one of the prizes kindly donated by ty.

At the end of the finale event, over 300 Year 5 pupils and their parents enjoyed a BBQ with music provided by The Cowplain School band, Jukebox, and the Sambistas playing their samba drums.

Jodi Salsbury, Head of Lower School at The Cowplain School, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure watching all of the Year 5 pupils’ hard work come to fruition in this multi-cultural event. The kids have worked extremely hard and the Cowplain students have supported them really well.”

Ian Gates, Headteacher at The Cowplain School, said: “The Mardi Gras event tonight was the culmination of a year’s work from staff and students at Cowplain and many of our local primary schools.

He added “It was fantastic to see around 300 children taking part in an amazing cultural experience celebrating the arts and really enjoying themselves. It showcased the talent we have in our local community and also highlighted the amazing experience children have through the Arts at The Cowplain School.”

Sarah Luker, Headteacher at Padnell Junior School, commented: “This has been a fantastic way to work with the cluster by offering our children an experience we wouldn’t be able to provide within our own schools – it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.”

Brooke, age 10, from Padnell Junior School added: “The activities have been really fun. The drumming uses lots of skill and we have learnt lots of new dance moves we couldn’t do before.”

Talking about the whole project, Ella, a Year 5 pupil at Denmead Junior School said: “I think Mardi Gras is a really fun, cheerful thing that people do. It is full of colour and excitement!”

Duncan Proctor, Joint Year 5/6 Lead at Denmead Junior School, added: “The drumming and dancing have been excellent, I am looking forward to watching all the schools working together for the finale and seeing the true community spirit.”

Steven Smart, Year 7 Pastoral Leader at The Cowplain School and joint lead for this event, said: “This has been an amazing experience, being able to bring the junior schools together with a joint outcome and being able to share this event with their parents has brought smiles to the children’s faces.”

Nicki Craven, Work Related Learning and Marketing Manager at Cowplain, added:  "Working with staff from Cowplain is an exciting and valuable opportunity for local primary children - our staff have been really committed to this project and enjoy sharing their expertise with the younger pupils. We look forward to welcoming the children back to Cowplain soon."