Year 5 Music Project 2019 – ‘A Journey to Unity’

Children in Year 5 classes were each assigned a country. The four countries, who had all at some point been plagued by political, ethnic and religious conflicts, tell a story of their own struggles in moving to their new home – New Zealand. Children from across year 5 represented the Maori people and the modern-day Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, who spoke publicly about refugees in New Zealand in the light of the 2019 attacks in Christchurch.

The four countries that we focussed on were: Hungary, represented by 5C, Vietnam, represented by 5R, Burma, represented by 5K and Somalia, represented by 5B.

For decades, people have been forced to leave their country due to living conditions and political upheaval. However, many nations have assisted migrants and have enabled them to resettle into their country. Refugees have been a driving force, which has shaped countries into an inclusive world. The Performance told the story of the history of movement into New Zealand. Starting from when its only occupation was the Maori people who were descendants of the Polynesians that had arrived as early as 1300 AD. We took a journey into some of the more recent events affecting movement into New Zealand.

Children in Year 5 gained a holistic experience through singing, dancing, acting, and planning and writing their own lyrics to songs with the music specialist Gwyneth Herbert. They were given some background research to do as homework, before delving into the feelings and emotions and real life stories of refugees from these countries as part f our ongoing research in school.  They were asked to discuss the topic at home with their families.  Our music tutors came into school to discuss life and culture in their own country in each of the classes before teaching the songs in the respected languages.