Delight programmes in action

It is so rewarding to see the impact of the work we do in person, and an important reminder of why we do what we do.

By Ella Breen

Boy sharing his Delight in Watts journal for positive feedback

Now that restrictions have eased, over the Spring term the Delight team have had more opportunities to see our programmes in person. I had the chance to observe one of our in-school Rainforest Retreat art sessions, Delight in Watts exhibitions and a Delight in Shakespeare in-school rehearsal and children’s performance.

“Observations are so key for all of the team; it keeps us connected to the work.”

Jess (Delight Head of Programmes & People)

Delight in Shakespeare rehearsals and performances

I was lucky enough to see both a rehearsal lesson lead by a Guildford Shakespeare Company actor and the final performance by children from St Mary’s Primary School. It was so amazing to see how far the children had come from the initial rehearsal a few weeks beforehand to the finished production, and especially great to see the massive audience turn-out of friends and family. I could feel it had been a while since having a performance with external visitors. The children, teachers, and parents were all very excited!

Narrators on stage at their final performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Manorfield Primary School

“I thought the whole thing was amazing, it was the first time I’d seen any of our programmes in action and I loved every minute of it. The children were so engaged throughout, and the actors looked like they were having a great time. I was really impressed with the teacher participation as well.”

Jo (Delight Finance & Office Manager)

Rainforest Retreat in-class session

For our newer programmes, it is useful for us to see the classroom in action to help with the material development of the programme and other projects.

I went along to Riverview CofE Primary School to observe a Rainforest Retreat lesson lead by Hannah, our Paintbox arts partner. The aim for this lesson was to create a diorama (3D miniature scene) looking at rainforest animals, foliage and treescapes. Although some of the children were very energetic and struggled to sit through the initial teaching, this enthusiasm later turned into a classroom full of artists and amazing work.

Rainforest Retreat wooden bird mobile display

“However, many months in the planning, a programme can only fully be realised once it is in action in the classroom where the realities of children’s stamina, motor skills and time constraints can be surprising. There were lots of learnings, but this is an area that I feel Delight is good at, feeding these learnings into the next programme evolution. My favourite part of my observation was how kind and supportive the children were in helping their classmates that were struggling to finish.”

Jess (Delight Head of Programmes & People)

Delight in Watts exhibitions

In the last term we have seen two amazing Delight in Watts exhibitions at Watts Gallery – Artist’s Village. For some of the children’s families this was their first experience of a gallery, and both exhibitions were great, positive celebratory experiences for the schools and visitors.

The initial exhibition was by St John’s Primary School children whose project explored the question ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’. It was interesting to hear the children’s wide range of aspirations, from chocolate taster to astronaut to footballers and dancers!

The more recent exhibition by pupils at Darley Dene Primary School showcased their magical hybrid animals and mythical creatures. It was great to see the children’s vivid imaginations expressed through their art and to listen to the children’s stories about their animals.

Families gather round at the portrait exhibition by St John’s pupils

“This was my first Delight in Watts exhibition, and it definitely surpassed my expectations as I had only seen images of previous exhibitions beforehand. It was so nice to see the children feeling good about themselves and talking so well about their work.”

Maureen (Delight Fundraising Assistant)

I am looking forward to seeing more of the programmes in action during the summer term, we have Delight in Dance performances and more Delight in Watts exhibitions to look forward to. Stay tuned via our social media for frequent news and updates!

Want to support Delight Charity? Find out how, here.

Posted in Blog.