Reggae vibes and black icons were celebrated as part of a black history assembly at Whipperley Infants School last week (21 October), featuring special guest Natty Wailer, who rehearsed and recorded many albums and toured the world as a keyboard player with the legendary Bob Marley.
Natty ran a number of workshops where children sang Bob Marley songs and enthusiastically played the drums, tambourines and shakers. In preparation for the workshops and assembly children had been familiarising themselves with one of Bob Marley’s hit songs Three little birds with the help of Jo Jingles’ Renu Elston. During the workshops Natty not only taught them about rhythm and reggae music but also explained the lyrics of the songs and shared with them what he had learnt from Bob Marley.
Natty said: “Children need to be made aware that they can make beautiful noise together that is not negative and is accepted by all. Music cuts across all cultures and religions and is a great way of spreading positive messages which can help to unite all communities.”
Whipperley Infant School provides a curriculum that is relevant to the cultures and religions of its diverse community. The school places great emphasis upon valuing all cultures and encourages children and the wider community to respect and tolerate different beliefs and values. Their black history assembly marks one of the many festivals and events that they hold over the school year when they invite families to join in the celebration.
During the week, the reception children had been learning about their cultural heritages; finding countries on a world map and enjoying music, food and dance. And year one and two pupils were taught about famous black people including Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Usain Bolt and Dame Kelly Holmes.
Lea Manor Gospel Choir and Natty opened the black history assembly by performing one of Bob Marley’s classics– Could you be loved followed by entertaining presentations by pupils showcasing black icons and songs performed by Natty. The assembly ended with Lea Manor Gospel Choir singing He still loves me.
Mayor of Luton, Cllr Mohammed Riaz who attended the event said: “The children did an excellent job raising awareness of what famous black people had achieved and I thoroughly enjoyed their presentations, singing and colourful flags. Well done to all pupils and staff at Whipperley Infant School.”
Headteacher, Linda Griffiths, said: “We live in a multiracial country and therefore we need to teach all our children to respect and tolerate each others faiths. The black history assembly was a huge success and was a great way of helping to promote greater understanding of each others cultures with parents and children.”