Downham Market schoolchildren get to enjoy spice of life
Traditional dance, songs and food were part of a school trip aimed at immersing students in Indian culture this week.
Year 4 pupils from Nelson Academy in Downham paid a visit to one of the town’s Indian restaurants on Tuesday to coincide with their current subject in the classroom.
Teacher Jessica Skyes said: “It was an afternoon arranged because year 4’s topic is on India and in order to start off the topic we went to Downham Tandoori to get a bit more of an understanding of their culture and the food.”
She said more than 50 youngsters from their two year 4 classes enjoyed the trip to Downham Tandoori, where they were greeted with musicians playing the sitar and the tabla drums.
Mrs Sykes said Downham Tandoori organised the day free-of-charge for the school and had hired the musicians to play at the restaurant for the afternoon.
“The children enjoyed a talk about each of the instruments and where they come from. They learnt some songs, some dance moves, a bit more about the culture and traditional Indian clothing,” she added.
“They also had some food which was very nice, like samosas and naan bread.”
Mrs Sykes said she arranged the trip after she approached the restaurant owner Anwar Ali for help on covering the topic.
“He provided everything and did it free-of-charge,” she said.
“The children loved it, they were so excited and they’re still singing the songs! It exposed them to more of Indian culture than we could do in the classroom.”
Mrs Sykes said the visit meant the children were able to fully immerse themselves in Indian culture, in a way that would otherwise not have been possible.
“At school we could show them a picture of the instruments or the food but they can’t experience it properly like we did when we were at the restaurant.
“There was a great atmosphere and the children really enjoyed it and were very enthusiastic.”
A post on the Downham Tandoori Facebook page said: “What an amazing afternoon with Year 4 from Nelson Academy.
“We hope you’ve all learnt a lot about Indian culture, food and music.
“Thank you for a great afternoon, you were all really well behaved.
“Thank you to both musicians as well, they really made the afternoon the success it was.”
Nelson Academy has also been celebrating this week after receiving a letter from Nick Gibb, minister of state for school standards, who congratulated the school on its “very high level of progress”.
In the letter to principal Sarah Wilson, Mr Gibb says: “I would like to congratulate you, your staff and your pupils on the very high level of progress that pupils in your school have made in their reading, writing and mathematics.”
He says the school’s key stage two results show scores which mean they are in the top two per cent of schools in England in terms of progress pupils make between key stage one and the end of key stage two.
“We want to ensure that every child has the necessary fluency in reading, writing and mathematics to prepare them for a successful secondary education and beyond, and your school has provided this,” he adds.
“Thank you for your hard work and professionalism in producing such high standards and congratulations again to you and your staff for all you have achieved.”