Oscar-winning songs from famous musicals are reinforcing a message of grit and determination for children at Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate.
They are being encouraged to sing along with Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and High Hopes during regular online singing assemblies by music teacher Warwick Eldred.
Written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the uplifting lyrics for Raindrops describe somebody who overcomes his troubles and worries by realizing that ‘it won’t be long until happiness steps up to greet me’.
In his streamed performance, which is for pupils at home and those in their school bubbles, Mr Eldred takes children through the lyrics verse by verse and discusses how the song has a message of hope.
He emphasises that despite problems outlined in the lyric, the main message is “I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining” and it adds: “There’s one thing I know, the blues they sent to greet me won’t defeat me’, and concludes with ‘nothings worrying me’.
Mr Eldred tells the children: “If we all face the world with a happy approach it makes a big difference to your day.”
He added: “Music is a universal language that helps us communicate ideas and emotions – songs like this are perfect to illustrate hope and determination in a gentle and effective way.”
The children have also sung along to Newington’s own ‘grit song’ and to Frank Sinatra’s popular song of positivity, High Hopes. The Newington video for this performance includes a sing-along cartoon section at the end of the song stream for younger children to engage with more easily.
Grit is the value of the term for Newington pupils – other of the school’s values are morality, curiosity, zest, collaboration, versatility and respect.
Head Teacher Cliff Stokes said: “The singing assemblies are one effective way in which we reinforce important core values with our pupils whether we are in lockdown or not.
“Grit is all about keeping going when the going gets tough – it is something that is particularly pertinent for us all at the moment.
“It can be one of the more challenging values to put into practise. Sometimes we feel like just giving up but grit teaches us that if we keep going we will reach our goal eventually, we know for certain if we give up we never will.
“Each term, the whole school focuses on a character trait (although each value is practised and enhanced each term). Our core values promote motivated, confident and supportive learners.
“Pupils are taught the meaning of the values, how to show these values and the benefits of using them in a variety of situations. As a result, they develop emotional and social intelligence and show a strong sense of self-awareness.”
Learning songs and music are used to reinforce education at Newington including literacy, maths, personal development and learning different languages such as French and Mandarin.