Modern education widely recognises that integrating arts programmes into the school curriculum can enhance students’ academic performance. These benefits include gains across numeracy, literacy, cognitive ability and critical thinking.
Arts learning can also significantly boost confidence, problem-solving, teamwork and verbal skills while encouraging self-expression, self-confidence and resourcefulness. Furthermore, these creative subjects provide an outlet to relieve the pressures of school life, enabling young learners to broaden their horizons, and balance their mental and psychological wellbeing.
The thriving arts curriculum at ACG Tauranga offers unrivalled opportunities and empowers students to explore their potential. So we've asked the remarkable teachers who lead this programme to share their passion for these artistic endeavours and explain what sets ACG Tauranga apart.
"We have so many opportunities for students to grow musically," explains Head of Music Francie Murphy. "Music classes are part of the curriculum from Year 0 upwards, and from Year 4, lessons are held with specialist music teachers in state-of-the-art facilities. During break times, our music room becomes a hive of creativity. Students get so much enjoyment out of rehearsing in groups or with their friends.
"Additionally, our quality itinerant programme is led by experienced and well-qualified teachers and is another highlight. And there is a wide range of music groups students can join, including the Junior and Senior choirs, chamber ensemble, jazz combo, ukulele orchestra, and rock bands that regularly perform in the Smokefree Rockquest.
"It's so satisfying to see students challenge themselves and achieve excellent results. However, my main ambition is to inspire involvement and instil a love for music in all ACG Tauranga students."
"I'm very proud of the ACG Tauranga dance programme," confirms dance teacher, Primary Dean and Faculty Coordinator Dani Archer. "Dance classes begin from Year 0, with all students receiving a dedicated weekly lesson throughout their Primary years. In Middle school, students can take dance as an option and refine their technique, performance and choreography skills.
"The number of students taking part in dance as an extracurricular activity is increasing as well, and the level of their performances builds year on year. Events such as ShowQuest and DanceNZMade have become a calendar highlight at the school, and our dancers have enjoyed huge success participating in these showcase competitions.
"Students can also attend itinerant dance lessons and choreograph for our younger performers. As dance continues to grow at the school, we provide further opportunities for students, helping them to develop their passion for dance whilst completing their academic studies."
“The drama programme at ACG Tauranga sees all students from Year 0 enjoying one drama lesson per week for the entirety of the year,” says Secondary Drama teacher Jo Nicholson.
“At each year level, the students explore a different genre of drama from Primary to College, whether it be monologues, Shakespeare, stage combat or Comedia Del Arte, to name a few. Drama is such an important subject for our students to embrace heading into their future, where creativity and collaboration are at the heart of everything.
“We continue to see an increasing interest in performance among our students. In 2022 we staged the school’s first Junior Drama Club production, which was a huge success and will be continued in 2023. A Senior Drama Club will also be introduced to showcase the abilities of our talented College cohorts.”
“It's a very exciting time of growth for the arts at ACG Tauranga," explains Arts Curriculum Coordinator Leana Buxton. "Our visual arts are flourishing, and we've experienced significant success in the quality of work produced and our excellent Cambridge International IGCSE and A-Level grades.
"Visual art lessons are delivered from Year 0, with specialist teachers from Year 3, but our arts programme is about much more than the classroom and curriculum. Initiatives like Art Week and the constantly changing displays we showcase around the school encourage students to participate, explore their creativity and produce beautiful works simply for the love of it.
"We're always developing our programmes to respond to each class's learning needs and explore new opportunities that spotlight the talent we have here. Ultimately, our students can expect to see more of the awesome things that are already happening. The future for the arts looks extremely bright!"