LAUNCHED: BEANii Dickens in Westminster schools!

by Wendy on January 17, 2014

Picture 017A delightful class of children, from St. Peter’s Eaton Square CoE Primary School, arrived at the Old Operating Theatre Museum earlier this week, to mark the beginning of BEANii Dickens for Westminster primary schools this term.

BEANii Dickens is a course of 25-hr programme of creative learning workshops leading to the performance of a children’s theatre show. The programme, developed with support from the Wellcome Trust, aims to increase children’s understanding of comparative health issues between now and the Victorian times.

‘If you were living in the 21st century, you would know about vitamins!’ One enthusiastic student pointed out to Mr. Squeers, the unprepossessing headmaster from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby; who chanced upon the class from St. Peter’s on his appointment at the theatre, to obtain medical advice for his infected students at Dotheboys Hall. Another learned scholar from St. Peter’s suggested to Mr. Squeers that ‘germs are invisible things that can pass from one person to another through air’.
‘It was a real privilege to take my class to a workshop in the oldest operating theatre in Europe. The atmosphere was magical. There was an interactive performance to set the scene and even rather shy pupils were totally engaged. It was wonderful that each child had the opportunity to hold, see and feel inside a heart. They learned a huge amount and the day passed in an instant. I have not seen them so engaged in a long while.’ Deputy head Kevin Minns commented on his experience of our BEANii workshop earlier this week.
A huge thank you to Russell Layton, for making a special guest performance of Mr. Squeers; and the full BEANii Dickens’ team, who makes our programme possible this term: Beth, Carolyn, Freyja, Josh, Julia, Kim, Leila, Lynn, Marie-Laure, Menelaos, Rozel, Will. 

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