When first stepping into Ceara Special School, it is immediately evident that this is a cheerful and warm environment with an emphasis on education beyond the traditional school subjects.
Ceara School is a fully integrated school and teaches children from age four upwards with a range of challenges which make learning more difficult.
Janet Warwick, the teacher in charge of Class 18 (the Leavers Class) explains that teaching her pupils social skills which can be used beyond school is vital as they prepare to leave education at the end of the school year. This is why projects such as the ‘Music Room’, run by the Ulster Orchestra and supported by Ulster Carpets, are so important.
The Music Room is a community engagement project, run by the Ulster Orchestra and this set of workshops in Ceara School has been supported and enhanced by Ulster Carpets sponsorship.
Partnered through Arts and Business NI, Ulster Carpets’ financial support has enabled the orchestra to enlist the services of a specialist trainer, Eve Harrison, from Jessie’s Fund, who will lead this first series of interactive workshops and will equip teachers, classroom assistants and the Ulster Orchestra players with the skills required to continue the workshops beyond the initial three-month programme.
Working towards a final showcase at the end of March, the pupils work alongside the Ulster Orchestra players and Eve to create a soundtrack to a short film.
The pupils very much lead the process, using their imaginations and creativity to direct the players as to the sounds they want to create.
This increases confidence, encourages decision making and creativity and whilst also advances social interaction with other adults.
Thanks to the support of Ulster Carpets and the match funding from Arts & Business NI, the workshops will not only deliver a lot of fun and new experiences for Class 18 - it will also leave behind a tangible benefit to both the Ceara School and the Ulster Orchestra players who will continue the Music Room Project.