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NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF PERFORMANCE IN SCHOOLS WITH FREE DIGITAL RESOURCES FOR PRIMARY PUPILS

Scottish Opera is celebrating 50 years of its Outreach and Education department with an online version of its popular Primary Schools Tour, with FREE projects for Primary 1 to 7. Schools across the country can engage all primary pupils in an expressive arts project at the same time, with The Brasketeers for Primary 1 to 3, Tiny Chef for Primary 3 to 4 and The Last Aliens for Primary 5 to 7. Teachers will have access to videos, worksheets, lesson plans, audio guides and more, to guide pupils through a variety of fun and engaging curriculum-based activities. The learning resources use music and creative activities to explore maths, health, technology and environmental issues.

Each year Scottish Opera engages with 9,000 pupils from over 130 schools across Scotland, touring cross country from the likes of Glasgow and Edinburgh to Aberdeen, Dumfries, Fife and Inverclyde with its Primary Schools Tour. However, despite the pandemic putting limitations on this, the Company is determined to ensure children do not miss out on the experience by offering the learning resources digitally. Schools across the country can gain access to any of these resources for free until the end of 2021 on the Scottish Opera website.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: ‘Since 1971, Scottish Opera has remained committed to its mission of engaging and enriching the lives of children from all corners of Scotland through opera. We have witnessed first-hand how engagement with opera in schools can help young people to realise their own creativity, while also supporting learning in a myriad of subjects. Never has it been so crucial to help young people build emotional strength and resilience. With positive musical experiences needed more than ever right now, we’re delighted to have created these free digital resources to ensure that we can continue to provide creative inspiration and support to young people across the country.’

A cross-curricular and interdisciplinary digital project for Primary 1 to 3, The Brassketeers introduces children to brass instruments while also supporting delivery of the Early and First Level numeracy curriculum. Resources include an animated short film performed by members of The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, alongside lesson plans, slide shows, worksheets and games which explore the relationship between music and maths.

Aimed at Primary 3 to 4 pupils, digital storybook project Tiny Chef introduces Mandarin language skills alongside concepts of food preparation and healthy eating. Created in collaboration with the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, over several weeks the Company worked with children to develop musical, artistic and narrative ideas which were developed by a composer, librettist and illustrator into the digital storybook, now available online for teachers to use.

For older children, digital performance project The Last Aliens invites Primary 5 to 7 pupils on an intergalactic adventure to save Planet Earth and engage with the topic of climate change as Scotland prepares to host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) later this year. With an opera of five songs for pupils to learn, teachers will be given a set of lesson plans, audio guides and demonstration films to explore the main topics, and teach music and movement, along with ideas for making props and costumes. There are also plans for digital collaborations with schools internationally and The Last Aliens live tour in the Autumn, should visiting groups to schools be allowed under Scottish Government Covid-19 guidelines.

Digital resources for the projects are available on the Scottish Opera website and are free to all until January 2022.

The Last Aliens is supported by The Mickel Fund, Harbinson’s Charitable Trust, The Hayward Sanderson Trust, The Educational Institute of Scotland and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels. The Brasketeers is supported by The Educational Institute of Scotland and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.

The Brasketeers material is available online now at: https://www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/the-brassketeers/

Tiny Chef materials are available online now at: https://www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/tiny-chef/

Teachers can sign up to The Last Aliens now at: https://www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/the-last-aliens/