Muswellbrook's Richard Gill School making its mark in the Upper Hunter

THE Richard Gill School is certainly making its mark in the region.

Principal Chris English has been out in the community in a big way over recent weeks, having launched a Complimentary Early Childhood Music (ECM) Education Program across the Upper Hunter's Early Learning Centres at the end of August.

Parents, children and facilities alike have shown a hugely-positive response from the initiative.

And, Mr English himself has loved returning to the classroom after what's been a year of mainly administration to get the school up and running in 2021.

The experienced music educator visited a different Early Learning Centre to deliver a 40-minute weekly ECM session to pre-school students, supplying all equipment and literature.

His program encompasses elements of Kodaly, Orff and "First Steps in Music" pedagogies in the unique curriculum for this introductory initiative.

The curriculum is based on early childhood research related to the development of music intelligence, singing skills, sensitivity to the beat and beat groups, expressive movement, musical memory, preferences and neurological connections.

The goals for the children participating in the program are to assist in the development of rhythmic skills, singing, sensitivity to the expressive qualities in music, and to develop an appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of music as an art form.

But, of course, most of all, to have fun.

"The response has been absolutely wonderful," Mr English said.

"I've really enjoyed working with the centres and children to give some much-needed early childhood music education in the community.

"Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language and overall literacy.

"It helps the body and mind work together.

"Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words, too.

"At Richard Gill School, we are immensely passionate about the power of music and education and hope all children and their families have enjoyed our complimentary Early Childhood Music Program."

Now that the program has wrapped up for the term, Mr English is getting back out into the community to man some information booths about the school each day over the holidays.

The pop-up sessions will first take place at Muswellbrook Fair, from Tuesday, September 29, until Friday, October 2, between 10am and 1pm.

Then, in the second week of the holidays, it will appear at Muswellbrook Marketplace from Monday, October 5, to Friday, October 9, from 10am until 1pm.

No appointment is needed, just pop in and have a chat with the principal.

"The Richard Gill School is a comprehensive, secular, independent primary school with a musical focus, tailored around the educational philosophy of Richard Gill AO," Mr English said.

"With music and physical education as cornerstones of the curriculum, we'll provide a first of its kind opportunity for regional students to engage in a unique education where creativity plays a central role in all key learning areas."

Richard Gill School is now accepting enrolments for 2021 for Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 students.

More information about the school can be found on the website at www.richardgillschool.org.au