Children in Years 3 and 4 at Beech Grove Primary School in Wellington have been getting into carnival mood in preparation for the colour and glitz of the Rio Olympics which open on 5th August.
This year’s Olympics have been the starting point of a project involving history, culture and geography as well as creative work, with the tradition of carnivals in Brazil as an integral element.
Carnivals much closer to home have been part of the pupils’ learning too. A visit from the Carnivals in Somerset Promotion Project (CISPP) this week provided the children with valuable information about the history of the events which go back to Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, float-building and maintenance and safety elements in crowd control – and a chance to dress up in some of the dazzling outfits from recent carnival processions – all donated by carnival clubs.
Formed in 2009, CISPP visits more than 50 schools around the West Country, promoting carnivals and their cultural and historical place in the region. Equipped with costumes, DVDs of Somerset’s unique illuminated carnivals, a mobile exhibition van, carnival exhibits and a team of ‘carnivalites’, CISPP aims to keep the carnival spirit alive, illustrate the connection with the tradition as it takes place around the globe and enthuse the next generation of participants and spectators.
On the evidence of Beech Grove pupils’ enthusiasm for sampling the costumes, they will be sharing the spirit of pre-Olympic carnival in Rio in August – and, first-hand, the colour and light of Wellington’s Carnival on 24 September.