Returning Songs to School Playgrounds

Tower Hamlets school playgrounds are alive with songs, thanks to the efforts of Canary Wharf Group plc and internationally renowned choir Ex Cathedra.

The Singing Playgrounds project, which is sponsored by Canary Wharf Group, saw Ex Cathedra vocal tutors visit 12 schools in the Tower Hamlets area over the past year to train selected children to lead their peers in songs and singing games in the playground.

250 of the child song leaders gave a celebratory performance in the East Wintergarden at Canary Wharf today Monday, 6 July at 4pm.

Singing Playgrounds has some important social and personal benefits according to Howard Dawber, Strategic Advisor at Canary Wharf Group:

“The programme aims to restore the strong oral culture of singing. It brings children of different cultures together to sing songs from around the world. It also teaches leadership, encourages creativity and most importantly, it’s fun,” he said.

The programme aims to train 1,000 song leaders by the time of the 2012 Olympics, each encouraging fellow Tower Hamlets children to take up singing.

The driving force behind the project is Phillipa Dodds John, Education Advisor at Canary Wharf Group. Singing Playgrounds is one of many education initiatives implemented by Canary Wharf Group over the past 15 years in areas such as professional development for teachers, special needs support and after-school clubs.

The celebration concert at East Wintergarden will be led by Jeffrey Skidmore, Ex Cathedra’s Founder and Artistic Director, Rebecca Ledgard, Director of Education and Urszula Weber.

Singing Playgrounds forms a large part of Ex Cathedra’s education work as a flagship organisation for Sing Up, the Government singing initiative for which Howard Goodall is singing ambassador.

“Singing Playgrounds is brilliant. I wish I could wave a wand and, armed with a Harry Potter Ex Cathedreamus Spell, have it magically appear in every primary school in the country now. Everything about Singing Playgrounds is unstuffy, approachable and good-humoured. The National Singing Programme, or Sing Up, of which I am the ambassador, is immensely proud to be so closely involved with Singing Playgrounds. Enjoy!” said Howard Goodall, National Ambassador for Singing