I’ve realised that at the tender age of 45, my kids are beginning to outstrip me in the knowledge of so many things. Mobile phones, the intricacies of Excel spreadsheets, how to work the tv, downloading something off a cloud, designing a Powerpoint Presentation with moving graphics and video and Skyping without the urge to show off in front of the camera or apologising for the way they look. Of course it helps that they have no fear of technology, no mad crisis point in their lives yet when all their work simply disappears into the ether 5 minutes before they are due to present it, and so they continue to progress and amaze me.
There is, of course, an argument that so much reliance on technology means that they simply do not have the background knowledge that we had when growing up without it. My kids have no idea how to go into a public library and find the information that they require without logging on to the internet, or the intranet. I have been in an office, or on the phone many times when the computers go down. Pandemonium ensues. Even my washing machine engineer is helped in fixing the machine by computer nowadays, and restaurants take orders on iPads…
And so it was today that with some trepidation I turned up to Little Man’s year assembly. Actually it was a Years 3 and 4 assembly which was about the artist Lowry. Now despite my endless hours of research into the Impressionists at Art A’level, which resulted in a very successful thesis, I have, to my great shame, not much knowledge of many other artists. So I was interested to see what it was all about, and having been to quite a few of these concert type things, hoped that it didn’t take too long...
On entering the room we saw lots of pictures hand painted by the kids in the style of Lowry, and to the side a couple of ‘Victorian’ children ground an old fashioned musical barrel organ, as our kids filed in dressed in all their finery. I saw a couple of boys in girls dresses, and a few girls in boys trouser suits.
Things were looking up from the usual concerts.
A boy 'midwife', with a resplendent bosom, handed a baby to a Victorian couple on stage. The woman wailed that she wanted a girl. She then proceeded to dress her boy child (Lowry) as a girl. The story continued throughout Lowry’s life, exploring both feelings and facts, the social situation of the day and how to interpret some of his pictures. It explored the art of slapstick, we had various renditions of Laurel and Hardy moments, and ended with a hearty rendition based on the Matchstalk Men and Dogs song from the 60s. And then the kids gave out Eccles cakes that they had made in cookery class yesterday.
|Little Man Lowry|
It was, quite simply, the word of the day, a Revelation. That the teachers co-wrote and directed this half an hour smorgasbord of experiences with suggestions from the children, and in which every single child had a couple of lines was a Revelation. That the children tied cookery, painting, acting, singing and dancing into a few pictures was a Revelation.
And that the kids can teach us all something new about something old was really a Revelation.